Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Awesomely Wicked

Jake and I had our 6th anniversary on the 10th of June --while I was in Utah. We celebrated it over a week later and went to see the musical Wicked while the touring company is playing in Dallas.
I have to be honest in saying that I wasn't all that excited to go. Regrettably, I read the book. Those are hours of my life that I'll never get back but will spend my life wishing I could. It's on my personal list of worst books of all time. I'd been told over and over that the musical is loosely based on the book, and is clean, fun, and fantastic. But still, one doesn't get over preconceived notions very easily. I told Jake that if he would get the tickets, then we could go for our anniversary. I figured the chances were low that he would remember in time.
I was wrong.
I'm so glad I was wrong.
First of all, we have not been to a big show like this in a long time. The last any kind of live show that wasn't free would have taken place in Utah, before Tessa was born. When your husband's occupation is student, it's hard enough to justify paying a babysitter, let alone anything more elaborate than a movie. It was a lot of fun to get (semi) dressed up to go to a production again.
Secondly, it was a really great show. There is something other worldly about being in the presence of incredible talent. The voice on the Wicked Witch/Elphaba was simply gorgeous, and when she slammed out some of those power notes..... goosebumps, tears welling. The cast was absolutely impressive in every way they were supposed to be, including the musicians in the pit. I left happy--even with burned and blistered feet. (Ugh. A story I will spare you.)
What a great way to celebrate an anniversary (the show, not the feet). Thank you, Husband.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Utah Vacay

I braved the trip with the kids alone. We had a fantastic time. We really missed Jake, but we were able to make the most out of our week and had just about every moment planned. We'll all be headed back again in the fall for mi hermano's wedding, but we hadn't been to Utah since October, and that is just tooooooo long for my kiddos not to see all the relatives. So, we were off.
The flight there = not bad, but not ideal. There was some crying involved.
I'm sure I looked like a total joke going through the airport, though. Jake helped me up to security. I decided that I would just do carry on luggage. I CAN'T STAND paying for checked luggage, so I packed light for the three of us. It was me with a sit and stand stroller (Bubs in his carseat) and then a rolly polly suitcase with two small duffels strapped to it. I felt like a train plowing to my gate. Pushing the stroller with one hand and pulling the luggage with the other. I quickly learned that one wheel doesn't work on the rolly luggage. That wheel is now worn half away from my dragging.
We arrived in much cooler weather than we left, but it was still nice. We started out at Jake's parents and had two evenings with the aunts, uncles, and cousins. Tessa was in heaven. She avoided me like the plague because she was afraid I was going to make her go home.

There are lotsa pictures!

Matt and Mary's family found baby ducks a little while ago and have been taking care of them until they can be released and survive on their own. They are a lot more exciting than the tortoise we found in our alley the night before we left for Utah.

Tessa got to hold a couple of the ducks and was talking about the duck Simone named "Cinderella" for quite some time after. Cole just wanted to get in the duck water.
Fun at Nate and Kel's! Those snakes....seriously. Too funny. Tessa and Simone walked around with the "snake scarves" on for most of the evening.

The cousins:
The girls: (Skirts and dress courtesy of Grandma. Oh, the talent.)
I like this picture. I especially like Cole's massive grin.
I was grateful to be able to see a couple of friends during the crazy week. On the way to Dad and Sandy's, we went to see Ashley and her family. They are moving to London soon. I can't believe it. Yes, I can. It will be fabulous for them. What an adventure! Time to start saving for a trip, I guess.
What you are missing from this picture was what was happening a few minutes before. The girlies were sitting on the higher step. Both boys started swirling their bare feet in the sisters' hair, which resulted in pulled hair and tears. John got some pictures. Sorry little girls, but it was hilarious.
My paternal grandparents had not yet met my son, so we went on over with Dad one afternoon. I'm so glad. I asked about family history stories and got some stuff written down, but I think I need a solid week with these two to really get started. We do what we can do. I've always loved and respected my grandparents, but we haven't been close throughout my life. However, though I don't see them often, I feel closer to them now as an adult. This day I was able to really talk with my grandma. I can't recall having many/any deep conversations with her before, so it did my heart an immense good.
Dad and Sandy hosted quite the barbeque. I'm so thankful. My sister and her fiance and both sets of kids, my brother and his fiance, Sandy's kids and their spouses and children were all there. So why didn't I get more pictures of everybody? Because I'm a dummy. There was not enough time to talk to everyone as much as I wanted to. I did get these:

Here is Kenzie Lou Who with Cole. She just graduated highschool. Woot to her!

Grandpa and then Grandma with the kids:

They just finished a toy room downstairs. Tessa made it clear that she could live there if someone tossed food down to her once in a while.
On to Preston, ID.
Mom's house. It was a beautiful evening when we showed up, but the rain came later and would not go away. I love how excited Tessa looks to use the watering can.
It just would not be Grandma Lori's house if we didn't take time to make sure all the plants and flowers were taken care of.
Now here's a happy one:

Grandma Lori and Papa Duke have a cat. That cat is a celebrity in Tessa's eyes.
My maternal grandparents live in Preston, basically around the corner from Mom. We were able to have good visits with them, and I had a great time helping out with a project.
Then, the night before we had to leave, my mom planned a family get together in Layton. I had not seen some of these cousins for years. Only a few were unable to make it, but I was certainly grateful to see those who could. There just wasn't enough time!
The rain was coming down, and it was COLD. There was a fireplace there, so soon after we arrived, Mom, the kids, and I took off to buy firewood. Let's just say that things kept going wrong and it wasn't my shining moment. I thought my brain was going to explode. Finally, almost an hour later, there was a fire and we were eating and visiting.
Tessa had a different idea of fun. She was out rolling in the wet grass and rain and chasing her cousin Dallen. I could not keep her in the pavillion. She's lucky she didn't get sick, crazy kid.

Papa Duke keeping Cole warm:
My attempt at a group picture:
You try getting these yayhoots (I've never thought about trying to spell that word, but it sure looks all wrong) to all pose for a picture together. Not easy. We're scattered around. I was using my timer, so Jon and Chelsea have my kids back there.
Here's Grandma D, Cole, Mom, and Breanna.
That night we headed back to Jake's parents to sleep and then took off early the next morning. We saw a lot of people we love in a short amount of time. We had an eager daddy to get back to, though. We got the luggage train loaded back up again and had a pleasant flight home. Tessa met a friend and sat in the empty seat next to her. Cole fell asleep, and I happened to have a row with extra leg room. Bonus.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Memorial Day 'n' Stuff

We didn't have any big plans for Memorial Day, so we ended up getting lucky when the Gees invited us over to eat. We're so thankful for great friends. They pulled out the slip and slide for the kids. Tessa loved it, but she was a little more timid about the diving onto the slide part. Jake has an awesome video of her trotting up to the pool and then slipping on her rear. I'll have to see what I can do about getting that on here. :)
I asked Tessa and Nate to pull a face for me. This is what I got:
My fault for asking.
They were way to busy having fun and Landon had already taken off by this point.
Cole and Carter are a little easier to catch in action.

We are in the full swing of summer heat. Our AC broke down (yes, again), but we were able to get it fixed once and for all from a new company. I think. I hope. Jake's car broke down too, but once again, we're happy we have a mechanic that we trust, and now it's back on the road. Unexpected, but we're grateful we could get both taken care of.
Tessa says the funniest things --I know most kids her age do, but it's a lot of fun. She has taken to using the word "certainly" in the strangest ways. "Certainly I am excited to see grandma!" The other day she pointed to an item in a catalog and told me, "I want that, and I can prove it." Can you really? She's already looking forward to December 3rd, her birthday. Apparently every major party is supposed to take place on that date. I forget she's only three sometimes. She's got a great sense of humor and really is a good helper. Her made up songs and stories are the best. She is tenderhearted and loves to talk. I love hearing her play and laugh with Cole. I much prefer that then when she's running off with his toys to get him to slither after her.
Cole is long and wiggly and affectionate, too. Tessa ran into the wall yesterday (we're a clumsy lot) and I sat on the floor with her on my lap while she cried. Cole wriggled on over to us so he could pat his sister on the back. He adores her. What a happy kid. He eats and eats and eats, but he's still a string bean. He blows kisses, gives 5, shakes his head no (for a laugh, not because he necessarily gets what means), claps his hands, sticks his feet in your face and thinks it's funny, is lightening quick when grabbing something he wants from you, and my favorite, tries to say "tickle". I'm counting it as his first word. He'll wiggle his fingers on you and try his best to imitate the word by flipping his tongue in and out of his mouth.
I took the kids to pick blackberries at the Merry Berry Farm yesterday while Jake was at work. I look like I fought a couple feral cats on my right arm. One time a year am I willing to stick my arm in thorny bushes where all kinds of hoppy and crawly things lurk. That would be blackberry picking time. The desire for freezer jam trumps the discomfort.
We tried to meet Jake after work for dinner since it was getting late. We tried to meet at a Quiznos, but when we got there, the place was boarded up and shut down. There was a burger place a few doors down, and, well, we were hungry. It was called JG's Old Fashioned Hamburgers or something like that --off of Greenville. Yum. All you Dallasites -yum. Go there sometime. Fun ambiance (like a mom and pop's in the middle of the city), reasonable prices, great burgers, and a chocolate milkshake I would stab someone in the face for. Okay, not really. But close. It was that good.


I thank God for these two amazing goobers every day. Only, I don't usually word it like that when I do...


Cole actually has a pretty fast slither. He's not a hands and knees crawler. He zips around the house looking like a gecko. He'll stop, get up on his hands and feet in the yoga Downward Dog position, get to his knees in the regular crawl position, scout the area, then drop to his tummy and slither to his goal. I think I could figure out a mop outfit to put on him so that he can get that chore out of the way for me when he is moving around on the wood floor. Here he is about a week ago, happy he was able to take off with one of his sister's toys:
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Thursday, June 3, 2010

Wii love it!

The Netflix-Wii partnership is brilliant. I thought Redbox was awesome, and then along came this little merger. I was too cheap to go for Netflix on the mailing system alone, but once the option to stream movies straight through your Wii came along, I gave in to the man (my husband).
Our options for kids-are-asleep movie nights have opened up. We can watch new movies, older movies that we have wanted to watch either because we are fond of them or we just haven't seen them before, or movies that are a little less commercial that we've heard good things about. Veggie Tales have turned into my favorite hey-watch-this-Tessa choice while I make Sunday dinners. We can turn a movie off if it isn't what we hoped it would be and we aren't out anything. There are no time restraints on finishing a movie. If I ever get the inkling, I can watch an actual episode of Lost. AND, we get to see documentaries that we never would have otherwise gotten our hands on.
I love a good documentary --the key word being "good". Jake and I have recently watched one on the Dark Ages (romantic as ever) and one on break dancing. But one has had me mulling about what was presented for a few days now. It's this one:

Now, I try to be objective when I'm watching documentaries because I know that they are often meant to get you to lean in a certain direction of thought. I went to a workshop once about how to critically watch a documentary, and because of what I learned there, I try to step back and notice the music, lighting, how the facts are presented, etc. if the documentary subject has a high emotional or political flavor to it. With that said, I figured that this documentary would be at least as conservative as I am, but I wanted to make sure that I paid attention to the other side of the argument and didn't get swept away in "Yeah! You tell 'em, Mr. Stein!"

If you haven't seen this movie or know what it's about, it deals with the taboo subject of intelligent design in the science world. It discusses the danger of teaching Darwinism without the freedom of teaching Intelligent Design in schools -and the scientific validity of latter having just as much (if not more) validity than the former. I was fascinated with the explanations of holes in Darwinistic theory on one side and the brutal attack on Intelligent Design on the other (which most of us have witnessed in the real world). The movie starts with images of the Berlin Wall going up and really encompasses the massive importance of freedom of thought and freedom of the exchange of ideas.

Okay, I'm finding myself wanting to go on and on about it, but I think it's best that you just watch it if you get the opportunity. Then, let's chat. I still believe what I believe with my whole heart, but another facet has been added to strengthen it, and it's strangely scientific.


Do any of you fellow (public) bloggers have any Chinese admirers? I sure do. For the last five or so blog posts, I've gotten a comment in Chinese. These comments have a link put in them, also in Chinese. I haven't clicked. I don't read Chinese. I've got a hunch they have nothing to do with me. I delete them as soon as I can. I'm sure it's something harmless like a fantastic deal on electronics, but it could be something else.....and I'm just not willing to find out. I thought about printing them out and giving them to a girl I teach in Young Women who takes Chinese at school to have her teacher translate. But then I thought better of it. There's a chance my Chinese admirers/spammers aren't rated PG.
So here's a question I'm throwing out there: How do I stop the spamming commenter? I have the word verification for comments already. Do I just suck it up and delete the comment when it invariably shows up? Anybody else have this issue? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?