Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween

Friday night was the ward's Trunk-or-Treat Party. Tyra already had a witch costume so when we found another one for Lil that came with a black cat head gear for Beth they were excited to be coordinated in their outfits. Thomas said he would only go as himself right up until it was time to go. Then when he had to get on long pants and sleeves anyway and I already had black for him to change into he finally did as it was the easiest thing for him. But he refused the cape, which is how Tom ended up in it. (Looking mighty fine, if I do say so.) The kids had a fun time running around with their friends from church. It was raining so they just put up chairs all around the cultural hall and the kids paraded around trick-or-treating from person to person.
Tonight we got home from Princeton with just enough time to have the kids vacuum the van while I picked up Beth's medicine (she's still on Miralax, and it sure is perfect for her, for those of you who knew of the difficulties she was having.) Then we put on their outfits again and went out enjoying the nice weather. I must say, this was the first Halloween where there were just LOTS of kids out on the streets and we recognized so many more now after doing soccer. We ended up walking easily downhill too far. By the time we were at the bottom of the hill Lily was already saying "It's enough! I want to go home! It's too heavy" We laughed, helped her, and skipped some houses. But there were so many people out on their porches we felt bad walking past. Our town really got into it and for someone who "hates" Halloween for it being a ridiculous thing to celebrate, I sure had a great time with my cute kids. I told Tom, as we stood on the walks while the kids went up to the porches that I never really thought about being the mom for halloween. Maybe because mostly my Dad would take us around while Mom passed out candy at home, but it was fun to carry Beth around, and watch her hold her little cat tail. "I call you Susan" she told me once tonight. Oh she thought she was hilarious. And she was. Whenever I tell Lily that she's hilarious she says "I'm not Larry" (referring to Veggie Tales, I guess she means hi-LARRY-ous, she made me laugh too, when I figured out what she was talking about.)

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Ben and Jackie: "Unbelievably Thrilled"

I can't believe it! My brother Ben and his wife Jackie (see April's entry when they were married) just found out that they will be among the first people in the world to use a fuel cell electric vehicle as a daily driver! Only 6 cars will be given out for this program, 4 in LA and 2 here on the East Coast. I feel so nearly famous, and so excited for them. Check out this article about it:
Way to go, Ben and Jackie, have a blast! (And give us a ride the next time we're in Burbank :) )

Sunday, October 14, 2007

What's the price of quality family time?

Luckily NOT an arm and a leg. Unfortunately it can sometimes be the price of a very painful scratch to the cornea. Last Tuesday night Tom was doing his world-famous Daddy Roughhousing when some little 4 year-old who loves him very much accidentally stuck him in the eye. The scratch was obvious to me, it looked like the white skin covering (scelera?) had some jagged scratches. When the pain hadn't subsided by the next morning Tom got an appointment with the Opthamologist (voted top 100, as seen on his office wall :) .) He said that the cornea is the most painful part of the eye to injure. Tom said he wasn't surprised to hear that, judging from the way tylenol and advil had had very little effect on his pain.
All's well, but it has been funny to watch how Tom may move as an old man. He had a patch on his right eye for the first 24 hours and has had to have dilating drops and ointment put in it regularly. Luckily the perkoset has allowed him to sleep better than that first night! We go back to the Dr. tomorrow, hopefully all will be almost as good as newl. He's been peeking out more and more today, and even got some fresh air outside while we planned our camping trip for this Thurs/Fri when the kids are off from school. Getting so excited, hopefully Tom will have enough use out of his eye to get some depth perception so we can bike the C&O Canal trail by the Paw Paw Tunnel . We're also hoping that "all fun and games until someone gets their eye poked out" has a little more meaning for our kids now! (Not like we really say that. Usually Tom's the instigator anyway. His favorite way for that quote to end is "then it's still fun but you just can't see." Shouldn't surprise you if you've already heard me whining about hearing Beth who used to LOVE to sing Row, Row, Row Your Boat, suddenly start singing to me one day "Blow, blow, blow your nose, quickly comes the stream..." and it was a 34 year old who'd taught her, not a LITTLE kid.)
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Thursday, October 11, 2007

Is it better to think of it as genetic?

My wonderful sister-in-law, Janine, just sent me the link to this article about children and their eating habits. It reminded me of one part of Tyra's party that we didn't mention: dinner. Tyra got to choose the dinner and she chose chicken nuggets and plain angel hair pasta. I asked her to choose something green, and she said OK to Caesar salad. Well, when her friends were all eating this (surprisingly they all agreed to the salad, not surprisingly few of them finished the small amount of it I put on their plates) they said many times "This is a great dinner!" and "This is delicious!" just like I'd expect a friend of mine to do after I'd made some new fancy recipe out of our Gourmet cookbook.
I have to admit, our kids aren't NEARly as bad as the kids in the article, but this part is just soo true: "In some families, communal meals become brutal battlegrounds, if they haven’t been altogether abandoned. Cooks break under the weight of devising a thousand variations on macaroni and cheese. Strolls through the farmers’ markets are replaced with trudges through the frozen food aisle."
And as for Jessica Seinfeld's method of hiding the veggies, it seems silly that they say it's a bad idea, while in the next paragraph they basically say to just wait it out. At least the hiding it helps the nutritional content during the tough stages! I'd forgotten how often I've done the same thing until one time when Thomas asked why the spaghetti sauce looked so weird and I explained that it had spinach in it, but that you REALLY couldn't taste it. He then said "I remember when you put spinach in the brownies!" I must say, the reason he noticed, both times, is because I put in whole baby leaves, not chopped at all....

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Tyra's Under the Sea Party

Tyra has loved to plan a party from the time she was old enough to hold a pencil and a notebook for her lists. She spends a lot of time thinking about the invitations, who to invite, the decorations, and the activities. I enjoy the preparations myself, and love to follow her lead. This year there was an even better incentive, having a need to clean up the edges of my house a little more. I spent quite a bit of time getting rid of the broken bits of packing peanuts that were all over the back of the sunroom, and cleaned out and organized all the toys. I still have a basket full of small items to return to the rightful toy bins and game boxes, but many many hours of cleaning it out have made a difference!
Back to the party, I'm going to make Tyra write about it, but I'm putting up the pictures of the cake, friends, and decorations. A word about store-bought frosting. We all know it's the worst type of thing to put into your body: corn syrup and partially-hydrogenated oil. Not to mention it doesn't really taste very good. But things were busy and I decided to buy a container of it to frost the cake and then make thicker stuff for the decorating. It says right on the package that it frosts a 2 layer cake. All I can say is, when I spread the frosting on the cake it just OOZED off the edges and PUDDLED on the cardboard. I scooped it up and stuck it back on top and put it in the fridge. Then I had to take it out for short periods of time to add the words, then the seaweed, then the "gravel" then the fish. It was definitely NOT a time saver to have gone with that frosting! Luckily it sort of worked to shove strips of paper under the edges of the cake to cover up the grease stains on the cardboard! And luckily Tyra was feeling oh so happy and forgiving and said she loved it any way.
The other pictures show her "seaweed" and "jellyfish" decorations, and the pin-the-clownfish-on-the-anemone game/decoration.
As for the party, there was a lot of screaming and giggling, so I think it was success!

Tyra, age 9

I can't believe my little girl is 9! Well, when she's practicing her flute and piano, doing her cellular biology homework, cooking up a pan of brownies without any help, reading big long books, and braiding her own hair, I guess it's easy enough to believe. But she is still my sweetest-ever little snuggling girl who loves to wear her silk pajamas from Aunt Angela and Uncle Rob so that I'll want to give her back scratches. And while she doesn't say "I'm going to be a woman soon" like she did when she was 3, she DOES like to remind me regularly that she is 3 years from Young Womens, 1 year from being a tween, and (especially) 9 years from going to college! Ever since we walked around campus this summer and visited GramaLee in the Library and Grandpa Tom in his office she has been looking forward to going to BYU as a student. (I definitely prefer that to Lily's desire to be a princess when she grows up. But even now I feel it fading in Lily as she starts to realize there's more to life...)
Besides reminding me how quickly she's growing up, she also reminds me of her 3 year-old self when she feels the Spirit. Though when she was three she would look beatific and say things like "I'm going to be a Nephite woman" and "Heavenly Father is bigger than our house" her prayers and responses to scripture stories were a wonderful testimony of the Holy Ghost touching those who have faith. Even still, turning 9 yesterday, Tyra reminded me of those days as we listened to conference together in the living room. The astute, perceptive notes she took may have been different, but the beatific look, and the loving feeling of being touched by the Spirit were just the same. She would keep coming up to me with hugs and eskimo kisses and snuggles. If you saw her when Lily and Beth were born then you know the look I mean.
I am so proud of my girl. She is a beautiful person, inside and out, and I feel so privileged to be her mother. I absolutely love watching the person she is becoming, yet has always been.

Oops, this was supposed to be a post about her birthday party and such. I better change the title and try the birthday info again...

Greenbelt National Park, .2 miles away

One of the neatest things about living inside of the Capital Beltway is that it doesn't feel so big city. Part of that is being near lots of un-developed farming land belonging to the USDA, but the other part for us is being right across the street from a National Park, complete with camping, picnicking, and hiking. Tom pooh-poohs the idea of camping there, mostly because of the fact that there are constantly airplanes and helicopters overhead. But it sure is great for an afternoon of hiking in the forest, or paying $13 for a campsite for date night to have a campfire picnic dinner (I made lemon-butter salmon steaks, corn-on-the-cob, and vegetable ribbons in olive oil and sea salt, tinfoil dinners, soooo yummy and non-family camping feeling.)

A strange thing about Sundays is that by about 4 or 5 in the afternoon we are all feeling the same urge to go outside for fresh air and sunshine. So these pictures are from a Sunday a few weeks ago when we loaded the kids in the car with the biking trailer and some snacks and water bottles and drove .2 miles to go hiking :)