Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Higher Education

I recently interviewed someone for a job at my work and I was telling Thomas about it on the way to cub scouts:

Dad: So after spending time working in government and academia...
Thomas: (interrupting) What's academia?
Dad: Well, you know how Grandpa Tom and Uncle Brian work at universities...
Thomas: Do you mean the nuts?
Dad: (laughing) I think they might take offense to that.
Thomas: No, academia nuts. You know, the nuts no one ever wants.
Dad: (really laughing) You mean Macademia nuts! But I'm sure there would be many who would agree with your candid assessment of higher education.

Sunday, October 25, 2009


We have been reveling in our driving-distance family. The PARTY HOUSE is actually defined as "the house in which 2 or more Draper sibling families are gathered." and therefore changes location regularly. We were honored to have our home carry that title 2 weekends ago. And here's how we enjoyed our Rockin' Good Time:

We went to Port Discovery in Baltimore.

The kids here in the Diner.

Lot's of climbing through the 3 (4?) story climbing area.

Making bubbles bigger than the kids themselves.
Tom's cousin Mollie wasn't with us for the kiddie fun, she was hanging out with a friend in DC.
But then that night we all did the unthinkable: a triple plus date sans enfants! That was thanks to a brave Sally Farrell who said she'd come do our regular date night babysitting, with Cora, Eli, and Ellie included. Thanks Sally!
We went to an Indian restaurant.

Saturday we watched the rain a little more from inside (the dining room :) )
Then Janine, Ang, and I went to Emily Robinson's triplet baby shower, which was great fun (and a little frightening, thinking of all the craziness she'll have when they all get home from the NICU!)
Meanwhile, Mollie was home making brownies with the girls for Cora's almost-two birthday party. We danced in the newly-finished basement in the dark with glow sticks, and played a really big round of Ring-a-Round-the Rosy.

Next day KC came to visit, arriving just as we were singing hymns with cousin Mollie, who is a singer. Then we got to catch up with him and his busy life with the triplets. After dinner everyone packed up and left, and The Party House title is in holding for the next time any Draper Sibling families get together...

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Lily's Locks of Love

Lily actually had 10 inches of hair and she'd been begging me to cut it, so we cut it yesterday and sent it off to Locks of Love for a non-profit organization to make wigs for children. Perfect for my Lily who prays every day for the orphans and others in need. Much as I loved her hair long, blunt, and straight, she sure looks cute with her stylin' bob!


****Spoiler Alert******
This is why I don't blog. I write too much wordy stuff, don't finish or edit it, then just give up. My new goal is to not leave any entries as drafts anymore. You may not enjoy the effects of my new goal. That's why blogs are great. There's no rule that you have to read them. So that's my alert, it doesn't get better at any point in the post, but you're welcome to just skip on over this post to the good stuff: Party House.

Years ago my mother-in-law referred me to which is a site where they help you slowly organize, clean, and de-clutter your house in a way that should give you new habits to last your life. Flylady asks, "Is your house in C.H.A.O.S.?" then she clarifies by saying it means Can't Have Anyone Over Syndrome. Well, with this definition in mind, I'd like to say my house is in S.H.A.O.S., or Shouldn't Have Anyone Over Syndrome. Since we have had the basement slowly creeping up the stairs and into our upstairs living area, I have alternately tried to ignore it or tackle it with bouts of [non-clinical] depression interspersed.
So things come up: bookgroup being held at my house, VT's and HT's coming to visit, Lily's birthday party, then Tyra's. I keep dealing with it as it comes with an attitude of "I can't put our lives on hold just because of this stuff." And we really were getting stuff out, starting with a yard sale and continuing with many trips to the thrift store and craigslisting with the other stuff. But there's still PLENTY of stuff around. Yeah, plenty. (You may who have been here may have another word or phrase in mind)
So when Tom invited all his East Coast relatives to visit at the same time in October I certainly felt some trepidation, but the joy of our togetherness times outweighed any misgivings I felt. So even as things got only worse when every last item came up from the basement and the paint was not drying and it looked like we were only going to have our 3 bedrooms to house all 7 adults and 7 kids, and 2 of the NC families had relatives die right beforehand, and things were looking a bit grim; but the love was felt as everyone sacrificed their own comfort to get together for more family bonding time.

Now a moment about my sister's blog: she recently mentioned the phenomena of noticing after being in a public or social setting, noticing some embarrassing thing about herself makes her want to fix the problem (whacked collar, messy mascara, etc.) and then revisualize the setting over without the problem. I admitted that, as I so rarely look in the mirror, it is not a thing that happens to me often, if at all. However, as I write about the party weekend I realized that I quite often have a similar thing regarding some embarrassing thing about my house that I will immediately want to fix after visitors have left that I then try to revisualize the visit with whatever the problem was fixed. This is often the Sunroom for me. I usually save cleaning the sunroom for last when people will visit, and then feel sorry for it afterwards when my friends follow their kids into the room to help them find toys.

This time I decided to have the toys organized and cleaned up, and I got all the basement stuff as organized into one half of it as I could so there wouldn't be any basement stuff in the living room except for the 2 huge black food storage cabinets where our old piano used to be. What I left were the boxes and boxes of foodstorage and the many open shelving units in the dining room. Our dining room is not actually very small. As a matter of fact, it is holding 3 desktop computers, a china cabinet, a game cabinet, a kitchen cupboard with the microwave/toaster oven/bread machines on top of it, and our kitchen table (which managed to seat 11 over the weekend). Then added to this has been 3 open storage cabinets and a double layer of foodstorage boxes, taller than myself. You might call it a bit crowded. I did remove the one non-food shelving units, but that was about all I could do. I put some extra chairs in the living room and sunroom and hoped that was all we'd need. I imagined sitting in the sunroom with the women-folk while the little ones played and the boys played video games. What happened? We ALL stayed in the dining room almost the entire time, staring at my open shelves. And not even going to the pumpkin patch because it was cold and rainy the entire time!
So what was the whacked shirt in all this? Well the messy piles of apron/sewing machine/sewing box stuff on the china cabinet, the piles of papers on the same and the game cabinet, and the box of paperbackswap books, shredder, and Tom's 2 boxes of computer discs and junk. I had bookgroup here right after the party left and the first things I did was put up some cream colored plastic to cover the open shelves, and move out all the papers and sewing machine. Then I reimagined. Ah. Still very very cramped, but not S.H.A.O.S.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Lily's Birthday

While we were at Rob and Ang's house in NC over Labor Day weekend, Lily looked over the cake books Ang has and decided on a castle cake. From there I told her to draw the cover for her invitations, something that could appeal to the boys she would be inviting, also. She drew a princess, knight, dragon and castle. Aunt Angela provided the wording for the inside, and when we passed out a copy to each child at the end of school on Tues, you wouldn't believe the response! They were all so excited, not particularly about being invited to the party itself, but to receive this awesome card! The next morning when we walked into the class many parents stopped us along the way to mention their child was excited about the party and about receiving the invitation. But the best was as I was leaving the classroom a little girl walked in still holding her invitation, and when I gave her mom a questioning look and she said "She wouldn't put it down all night, and she had to hold it all the way to school!"

As I tucked Lily into bed the night before her birthday she informed me that she would not be waking up until breakfast was ready, that she would be sleeping in until then. How could I not bring her breakfast up on a tray, knowing she thinks it must be such a treat, since Mom and Dad get breakfast that way for their special days. And she didn't fail to notice that I let her use my favorite crystal goblet :)

Although many of her friends would be walking home with us for the party within minutes, we still let Lily share little brownies and juice with her classmates while they sang Happy Birthday to her.

The party went as well as can be expected with boys being invited :) One in particular really couldn't keep away from the sandbox, the swingset, and the scooters, especially not to do party crafts and party games. We tried to let them have plenty of "free play" time, but at one point after he'd left in the middle of Prince, Princess, Dragon (Duck, Duck, Goose) and took half the kids with him, Lily came up to me and said "It seems like my friends just wanted to come over for a playdate and not a birthday party." I felt badly for her and told her we'd let them play a few more minutes then I'd be better at enforcing participation. Which worked better, especially when I told Tom how Lil felt. They did all seem to enjoy themselves, including Lily. Lily was a most gracious hostess, and Tyra was a huge help running things, running to fetch things, etc. By 5:30 all the kids were gone and we relaxed for an hour or so before having Lil choose a Chinese Buffet for dinner.

So Lillian Regina Severina Draper is now 6, and able to do new things every day. It was a pleasure to see her with her friends, as they so clearly took to her sweet, obliging ways.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Powers that has

I was teasing Beth about all of her super powers again yesterday.

Beth: I don't have superpowers dad. I only have three powers.
Dad: Really? What are they?
Beth: I have normal powers, beautiful powers and Barbie powers. Right now I am using my beautiful powers and my Barbie powers to make this Barbie beautiful, so please quit teasing me.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Techno Fun

This is an experimental post. I am curious to see how this web app functions. In theory, you click on it and it connects your phone and my phone for a free call. If we aren't here, you get sent to my voicemail, and I can in theory read a transcription of your message online. Please try it out and let us know how it works.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Five Fun-Filled weeks of Family & Friends

week 1: Huntington Beach House with the DraperFam. Running on the beach in the early morning with the man of my dreams. Crowning event: Mike and Teri getting married in San Diego temple, with a beautifully decorated backyard reception in Fountain Valley.

week 2: Stay at Dad & Pam's, then on to Anne & Matt's. Eat full Korean dinner made by Anne. See Jon with Sam and Amanda at Cal Sci. Ctr. Meet Bella and see Micah & Heather's home. Kyla's birthday party, Tom's graduation party at Ron & Annie's, sleep over.

week 3: Drive up to Utah, see Trisha in passing, stay at GrammaLee's for many nights. Go to Jim Packer's funeral in SLC. Dinner with the Lambert's. Attend Mike & Teri's reception in Provo. Draper Family Reunion. Double date with Glen & Chele. Stay at Grandma Linda & Grandpa Tom's. Oquirrh Mountain Temple Open House.

week 4: Drive to Mileses. Chat and chat while kids play and play. Tom and Thomas go to Davidson Institute for Talent Development Summit in Reno for weekend.

week 5: Drive to Anne & Matt's. Lisa comes, go to Mollie's San Clemente condo. Tom hikes Mt. Baldy w/ Matt. Bridal shower for Heather. Meeting and holding William Lee for the first--and second-- time. Lily and me to the Napa Rose rehearsal dinner. Everyone at the Wayfarer's Chapel for the wedding and the Trump National Golf Club for the reception, wherein there is much dancing and eating.

Total of 11 transfers, 8 different beds (9 for Tom and Thomas, going to Reno) and it all was so wonderful, we love, love, loved it!

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Poetic License

I wish to award my daughter the title of poet. She wrote the following poem while we were driving by the factories of Western Utah in the salt flats. If you want to read more of her poems, visit her blog at

Beautiful Earth

Fact'ries torment the Earth,
While clouding the Sun in the sky.
Burning long-dead animals
For their deathly fuels.
Humans claim to conquer the Earth,
While she tries bravely
To keep from collapsing,
Under the weight of
Human hands.
We rip up the mountains,
The oceans,
Our land, her land, God's land.

Now we are dying, yet still overwhelming
Our poor little Earth.
Trash in air,
Trash in water,
Trash in land, trash on land.
People feel guilty for
Deathly polluting
Our beautiful planet.
The only one with life,
The only one we know of,
Beautiful Earth.
Gasping for clean air,
Beautiful Earth.
Thirsty for clean water,
Beautiful Earth.
Can't find a clean place to sit,
Beautiful Earth.

© 2009 Tyra Draper

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Robbed again

I should be blogging about my brother's wedding, and I will, but not now. During the wedding, we have spent the week with my parents, and sibling's families in a beach condo. My brother Rob has always been fond of teasing my wife, from the very beginning. He teases my wife by complimenting her endlessly. "Su, you are the greatest." "Su, you remind me of the babe." "Su, you are as light as a marshmallow and twice as sweet." "Su, you rock." And so on. I call this getting "Robbed". Anyone who knows my wife knows that she doesn't like the spotlight of a compliment, especially if it isn't genuine.

All of this reminded me of a funny time in our first year of marriage. We were visiting my parents for Sunday dinner. Rob and Mikey were going on and on, praising Su's every action. Exasperated, Su finally demanded, "I don't want to hear any more compliments from either of you for the rest of the evening!" Rob stopped and quietly considered the situation for about three seconds. Then turning to me he gleefully stated, "Tommy, you sure do have great taste in women!"

Monday, June 01, 2009

Heart Attack!!!

I am currently remodeling our basement with the help of a friend. One night Susan took of with Lily to a church activity leaving the Tyra, Thomas and Beth home with me while we worked. Beth enjoys playing by herself, and this evening was no exception. T&T were interested in the work going on downstairs, so they were both watching Jerry and me remove debris, build walls, and install new plumbing.

After a while, I asked Thomas to go check on Beth. After a cursory inspection, he said he couldn't find her. I sent Tyra to go look, knowing that Thomas probably only looked in the living room. After about five minutes, Tyra came back down and said that she couldn't find Beth anywhere, but that her bedroom door was locked shut.

That was a little worrisome, so we all stopped what we were doing and went up to look for Beth. I ran up to the bedroom and tried the door: locked. I knocked, "Beth? Are you in there?" Nothing. I knocked louder, "Beth! Please let me know if you are in there." Nothing. I pounded the door with my fist, "BETH! Open the door right now!" Nothing. Nervously, I screamed at the top of my lungs, "BEEEEEEEETHHHHHH!", while I pounded the door.

All sorts of negative thoughts started fillling my head as I spun around and leaped down the stairs. I knew what I needed, my drill and needle nose pliers. In the basement, I grabbed my pliers and drill, unchucking the bit and letting it drop while I ran. I grabbed the Phillip's head bit and chucked it tight as I shot up the second flight of stairs. I was pretty sure it was Phillip's, and every second felt like it counted. I hit the door like a NASCAR pit man. Pop! Pop! I dropped the screws out in rapid succession. I rotated the cover to the side and awkwardly pinched at the unlocking mechanism with my pliers. I slipped. I tried again. I slipped. I tried again. My hands were shaking and my whole body was surging with adrenalin. I would have been easier to lift half a car than to manipulate this locking mechanism. It turned.

I burst through the door and scanned the room, screaming "BETH!" She was nowhere to be found. I looked again at her bed. There was Beth. My hand shot down to her neck. Pulse. Warmth. Breathing. "Beth!", I exhaled, "Didn't you hear me?" She responded with a slight snore. I sighed, "Why did you lock the door?" Her angelic face continued to disarm me.

I went back over to the door and started to screw the hardware back in. Thomas came up behind me babbling some song. Without thinking, I scolded, "Quiet! You are going to wake up Beth."

Friday, May 15, 2009

Preschool graduation 1 of 2

The girls did the HS preschool program (loosely) this last year. Joyschool was the main preschool, but I can't post the pictures of joyschool with the other kids, so these are all I'll post (though they loved Joyschool!)

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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Hugs and Kisses

Beth made up an interpretive dance to XOXOXOXO.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Lily and the Ball

My wife and daughter had an interesting conversation before we went to the Armed Forces Gala this evening.

Lily: Are you and dad going on a date?
Susan: Yes. We are going to a ball.
Lily: What!?! You're going to a ball! I want to go to a ball!
Susan: You can't. Balls are for adults.
Lily: That's not true. Balls are for children!
Susan: No. Balls are for adults.
Lily: What about Cinderella? She was a kid.
Susan: No she wasn't. Remember, she got married at the end.
Lily: [Impatiently] Mom! It's a fairy tale. Remember?

Monday, May 04, 2009

More Bethisms

Scene 1
Me: Bethy, you are so sweet. Are you made out of sugar?
Beth: No.
Me: Are you made out of gold?
Beth: No.
Me: Well what are you made out of then?
Beth: [Seriously] Hinges!
(See Primary Song Book, p. 277 for clarification)

Scene 2
The three older kids have recently taken an interest in set. Beth wanted in on the action, but was having a little trouble.
Beth: Is this a set dad?
Me: No. Two of them are hollow and one isn't.
[ Beth continues to stare at the cards for a minute, and then proudly declares ]
Beth: I think hollow means empty!
Me: [Laughing] You are right. I need to do a better job of explaining!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Retro Boy

For a second, I thought I was back in the 80s. Familiar beeping and blooping. It wasn't my old arcade or Nintendo. It was my boy.

If that got you in the mood play now!!!

Friday, April 17, 2009

The world through the eyes of Beth

Now that I finally finished my dissertation, the world I have denied is coming back. One of my first goals was to restart the Parent/Child dating night, where Su or I take one of the children out do to what they are interested in. I sat down with each child to discuss what their goals and interests were starting with the oldest. I almost decided to skip Beth since I wasn't so sure that she would have any opinion. Boy was I wrong.

Dad: So Beth, what is something you really want to do?
Beth: I want to throw meat to a lion.
Dad: Did you say "throw meat to a lion"?
Beth: Yes. I want to throw meat to a lion.
Dad: Hmmm. Maybe we can arrange .... that. Anything else?
Beth: I want Jesus to help me to go to sleep.
Dad: In person?
Beth: Yes.
Dad: Well, we talk to him in our prayers and I know he is watching over you while you sleep.
Beth: Yeah.
Dad: These are both quite difficult, but we will see what we can do. Any other ideas?
Beth: Ummm. I want to be healthy, do ballet, do hair ties and build a house out of bricks.
Dad: A real house?
Beth: Yeah.
Dad: Okay. This is good. We should all work on being healthy and we can definitely look into ballet. I'm not sure what doing hair ties is, but I know mom or Angela would love to do that with you. I'll look into the brick thing.
Beth: I love you dad.
Dad: I love you Beth.

Yes, the DOCTOR is in!

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