Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Not the latest edition, but a preview!

Baby boy #2 on his blessing day with his Nana.
Oh we're so excited for you baby boy #3!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Away With You, Negativity!

I, like many other people am guilty of complaining and being negative. I also know it doesn't serve me very well. Being positive and grateful is really the only way to go. Life is much happier and calmer that way, believe me!
Facebook unfortunately seems to be a platform for complaining, grumbling, whining, venting and murmuring. I'm guilty too.

Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints are frequently counseled to show gratitude and thanks for blessings we receive, even in the face of adversity. Alma counseled members in the Book of Mormon to “to pray without ceasing, and to give thanks in all things” (Mosiah 26:39). To me this means keeping a prayer of thanks in my heart and offering gratitude to my Heavenly Father first when I receive any blessing. I can't say I'm great at it, in fact sometimes I've been quite the opposite. So I'm glad when I remember to be grateful, I'm even thankful for that!

I really really like this new site, Gratitudelog, for sharing things I'm grateful for, rather than things that bother me. Sometimes on Facebook if feels like you're bragging if you share something good that's happened to you.
Or maybe I'm the only one who feels like that?

Gratitudelog posts a short status to your profile, when you answer the question: "What are you grateful for?" to which friends can reply and comment. What a fabulous idea! (Thanks for the link Mom).

A few times of the years I've started a gratitude journal and written something I'm grateful for and something I like about myself every night. It always made me feel so good! I'm happy to find another place to share my gratitude, where others can respond and I can see what they've been happy about lately, instead of the miserable, sad or grumpy things in their lives. (Though I think being able to share those things honestly is part of a very good relationship, but maybe not in front of hundreds of "friends"). So, if you want to see what I'm grateful for, even when I'm having a harder time thinking of something, it will be on gratitudelog.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

All Shook Up

It started with apple cider I bought on clearance. It's the real stuff, unfiltered and made with fresh apples. To drink it for dinner tonight it had to be shaken.

"It's all shook up," I said with a smile.

And the singing started,

followed by a bit of Elvis education.

The post-dinner dance party was a smash thanks to Elvis and youtube!

They're all shook up!

Two minutes ago...

As usual this morning, NPR is playing on the radio. A story just came on about the death of the woman who saved the Diary of Anne Frank after the Frank family was arrested in 1944.

Joey: "Have you ever read the Diary of Anne Frank?"

Melissa: Yeah.

Callan: (in complete sincerity): "What's Diarrhea on Frank?"

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Gone Country...

For Papa's Christmas present we decided to hold a cowboy photo shoot. The boys wore their own jeans and plaid shirts and the QB picked up some costume hats from Michael's. the background is the wall of the shed in our backyard and all of the tack etc in the background is stuff we found in the shed when we moved in.

Mr. Baseball had not trouble finding his inspiration--he was drawling his speech and slouching and pulling all kinds of "yee-haw" faces. I think I said, "Can you just smile" about ten times. He's a silly kid, and a good sport.

Finished Product #1

Finished product #2

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Christmas with the Fam

The QB's family drove down from Utah to spend Christmas with us--our first Christmas as "hosts." They brought their dog Riley to play with Copper and besides getting stuck behind three hours of stand-still traffic in New Mexico because of an accident involving a propane truck (a detour that forced them to stay overnight in Albuquerque) they made it to Lubbock safely. While they were here we visited the National Ranching Heritage Museum where learned about the history of some of the big Ranches in West Texas and got to see this cattle train up close.
This was the day before the snow came...it was getting cold, but none of us expected the storm we got.

This year, instead of Ginger Bread Houses, we made a Ginger Bread train. Nana and Mr. Baseball worked on the Engine while the QB and the Monkey did the caboose. Aubs and I did the lumber car and the coal car, respectively.

Guess which two here were more interested in eating candy than in decorating the trains.
This shot of Copper courtesy Papa.
In addition to the TeePee they made for the boys (pictures forthcoming), Nana and Papa also made them matching pj pants for Christmas eve--cowboy print, of course.
Thanks for the fun everybody!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

And I thought Oregon weather was crazy.

This is our boys playing outside the weekend before Christmas. Notice the short sleeved shirts. Notice the sunshine (...notice my attempts at the photographic trick called "panning")

This is the Lubbock we've come to know and love--75 degree days in December. Doors and windows open at 5pm to let the afternoon breeze in. Crisp, but pleasant dog walks in the mornings and a few "innings" of baseball in the backyard after work.

The swing set is the Monkey's personal favorite, but he'd rather ride on his belly than his bottom.

And this is on Christmas Eve. Just a few days after the shots taken above. Six inches of snow overnight, 9 inch drifts, and virtually no snow removal in Lubbock meant we were as good as snowed in. We built a snow cave and had a snow ball fight with the biggest snow balls ever.

The Monkey still knew what to do with the swing set...

The snow stuck around to make Christmas "White," and the roads awful. There is still a little on the ground, though we're hoping it will be gone by the end of the week.

And they built a ship...

Months and months ago, when we were still in Ohio, Mr. Baseball asked me if I would help him build a pirate ship. At the time I was taking care of the very-morning-sick QB, packing for our move, taking care of the apartment complex, and teaching in the afternoons. I kindly told him that we'd have to wait until we got to Texas. Surprisingly, he didn't bother me much about it...until we moved. We weren't in town a full day before Mr. Baseball said, "Dad, we're in Texas now and you said we'd build a pirate ship." So as soon as we said goodbye to Grandma and Grandpa Franklin who'd come to help us move, we went to Walmart and bought popsicle sticks, glue, and sandpaper.

We looked up "popsicle stick pirate ship" online, but didn't have a lot of luck finding plans, or even examples of what other people had done, though we did find this:

But since we were a few million popsicle sticks short of Captain Rob's venture, we took a look at a few online images of pirate ships and decided to just take a stab at it.
We traced a base on paper and cut out matching sticks and then came up with a method for securing vertical supports and basically invented the process as we went.

We had to soak the small sticks in water for ten minutes to soften them up so we could bend them around the curve of the bow. Mr. Baseball got really good at using scissors and pliers to cut the rounded edges off the sticks and we both got really good at holding small pieces of glued wood together. "Count to thirty," I told him, and he did, head bobbing as he rattled off the numbers.

We used an entire bottle of wood glue and more than 150 popsicle sticks for the body, added some dowels for masts, and I printed out a white-on-black skull and crossbones for the sails, which we "laminated" with packing tape.

(NOTE: We colored the skull and crossbones green because unlike an ordinary pirate ship, our vessel was not designed for
marauding--not typical marauding at least. Our ship belonged to "Captain Greenbeard!"--a short, fairly unsuccessful do-gooder with a Robin Hood Complex who sails the seven seas attempting to steal from "bad" pirates and crooked British sailors in order to provide relief to Island nations oppressed by the British Empire. The Captain is a bed time story character at our house and though the socio-political context of his story are mostly lost on the boys, they like the idea of his subtitle: "Robin Hood of the Seven Seas."

We used hot glue to attach small gold washers to the port holes on each side, and inserted three small cannons on each side.

The final touch was to give the ship two coats of polyurethane. Both boys helped with that and then we stuck the ship out on the deck of our apartment for three days because it stunk so badly.

The finished product.

We spent a few hours a week on the ship and it took us about two months to complete. Before we'd even glued the first piece, Mr. Baseball was talking about adding a working rudder and a motor and making the hull water tight and adding real sails and a crows nest and a cargo hull and wheels and cannons that really fired...and...and...and it was all I could do to keep his feet firmly planted on the ground. The finished boat turned out fun, and it's sturdy enough and to-scale enough to serve in the Royal Lego Navy in our living room.

On top of that, the QB found out the county fair was taking submissions so we entered it in the "wooden toys" category and ended up taking second place ( I think there may have only been two entries, but we'll take what we can get). The Monkey earned first place in his division for a small raft he made all by himself and together we raked in $12 in prize money.

The monkey put his 6$ in the bank. Mine got eaten by the budget fairy.

Don't forget, September 19th is talk like a pirate day....