Thursday, May 27, 2010

Guess Where We Went Today...

Here are some clues, in particular order:

The hat.

This helps if you're a local.

If you have had kids in the last decade or two it is now obvious.

Everyone knows Thomas, no matter the age or location on the map. Eli's been asking every day about Thomas since I told him 3 weeks ago that he was coming to "our mountains." After his nap today I told him it was time and he ran around the house collecting receipts ("tickets") to get on the train. Despite his two year obsession, the boy was still timid with being near a life-size Thomas, screamed when we offered a Thomas tattoo after we parents got one and was even more freaked out by Mr. Topham Hat.

He enjoyed himself on the train and the tent full of train tables. He even met a real life conductor, the kind he was dressed like and the one that stamps your ticket. Esme was one of the many patient little sisters. I felt like a typecast. Half the families on our car were two twenty-something parents with a little boy toting Thomas paraphernalia, a baby sibling hanging in a Bjorn, and canon rebel around the neck.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Funny Girl, Getting Big

Esme has found her teething necklace. People think I put it on her for style purposes, but it's just a Swiss tradition to have babies wear an amber necklace for teething. Don't worry Frank, the chord is really strong and there are knots between each bead.

She's getting so active. I call her things like rolley polley and wiggle worm. One night she wiggled herself right into a mer-baby. She uses rolling to get around and to make diaper changing a challenge. Those lotion bottles by her changing pad that she's stared at since birth, she can now get to them.

She loves eating! Anything. I could give her a bite of banana, then hummus, then cheese, then tomato, and she doesn't even make a face.

She's getting really good at sitting up too, luckily, the way Eli plays with her. He loves to hold her and wants to carry her around. It's so cute how crazy they are about eachother. When she wakes up every morning they're so happy to see eachother. The smile and talk and touch eachother. Actually, I've heard several times about siblings wanting the new baby to go back to the hospital, so the other day I asked Eli if we should give Esme to someone else. He was very adamant. "No! My E-may!"

Monday, May 17, 2010

Zoe's Garden

Saturday was member day at the CSA we joined. I was excited to see for myself and show Eli where our fruits and veggies would be coming from soon. We met the main man for a tour, tomato planting, and a lunch we had to miss, but I'm sure it was fabulous.

Eli insists on taking his bike everywhere, although we all regretted this one. The mud distressed my little neat freak.

We learned a lot about the farm. Right away he told us about difficulties with a group called Utah Open Land, whose main (noble) priority is protecting land from development, is forcing them to make changes to the farm that would make it more attractive from a distance, but hard to work, like moving their work station to the edge instead of the center, tilling up the paths needed to move machinery and supplies after each use, filling in watering holes for irrigation, and getting rid of the animals. How outrageous! As if this small organic, sustainable farm is trying to do something detrimental to the land. I was sad Eli didn't get to see farm animals. They are hoping to make it an educational place where everyone can come learn about farms as well as tips for growing their own gardens, which will be so helpful once we get a yard. They even go out into the community to teach, like at Wheeler Farms this Saturday. Several groups from nearby universities studying agriculture and nutrition have already come.

The man, David, started organic farming after getting very sick spraying pesticides for his landscaping business, which is still his main source of income. Imagine that, farming on the side! And he doesn't do it the easy way. They specialize in variety, 600 to be exact, which makes it very costly to certify as organic, so starting that has been slow-going. Ten kinds of eggplant, 20 kinds of apples (including one that is pink inside, behind him in the picture), over a hundred types of heirloom tomatoes, and so many more types I can't remember. I didn't know this kind of thing was possible in Utah. I thought we lived in a barren desert only capable of supporting a few basic crops. But he's growing exotic varieties from Asia, Italy and Greece.

And he wasn't kidding about it being a "member planting" day. I thought it was going to be more ceremonious, plant a couple of tomato plants and be done. But he put people to work, and we had to be quick with those tomato plants, which started wilting almost as soon as they were in the sun. Bri did a row of Caspian Pinks before stopping to hold Esme so I could take Eli to get a snack (purple asparagus right out of the ground) to stop his whining.

It ended up being quite an adventure. Bri came with Esme to see what was taking so long when we decided to go get some garlic to take home. Coming back the bees (for pollinating and honey) decided to leave their nice hives and swarm on a tractor near the dirt road we needed to take to leave. It was scary. Even though I stood back a ways with the kids I looked above my head and it was like a highway of bees coming in to land.

Bri made it through the scratchy, lumpy asparagus field to the car so he could drive us through the swarming bees. Farm life is treacherous... and tiring. The few other families that also came were still planting tomatoes, a couple hours later. Definitely earned their lunch.

It turns out we can go visit whenever we want and even pick the extra fruit. Luckily for Brian this includes the many varieties of delicate raspberries that fall if it gets too windy. We were both excited to see a couple kinds of artichokes and many varieties of dark greens starting to grow, favorites in this house. And Eli had fun searching for stalks of asparagus poking up from the ground. Can't wait for our first box in a few weeks. We'll keep an eye out for a tomato Bri planted, as if we could keep 100 different kinds straight.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

If It Breaks It Doesn't Hurt

Tonight Brian held a board breaking tournament for his students and everyone loved it. There was a lot of clapping, breath holding, and "ohhhhh..." when people didn't make it through, which was often. My favorite part was watching Bri of course, although, my main motive in being there was to take pictures and go out to Korean food after. Here are his impressive breaks:

Reverse Roundhouse Kick

His favorite kick, kind of over the shoulder. Took a couple tries. Which was good for the kids, especially the timid ones that find breaking hard, to know that it doesn't always work, even for the teacher.

Palm Heel Strike

a.k.a. the "one inch punch" because he starts with his fingers touching the board and somehow gets his palm through.

Very impressive. Everyone's favorite.

4 Board Power Break

Unlike the last one, requires lots of distance to get through 4 boards.

He's still gloating... uh... I mean grinning about this one. His first time breaking this many.

Then we all went and took over a little Korean restaurant. There were so many people having fun, eating and talking. As Bri visited all the tables, holding Esme, I realized he hasn't just spent the last 3 1/2 years teaching martial arts. It's like a family. Learning a new culture, watching the kids and a few adult students learn discipline, respect, and self-confidence, besides the technique and testing material. I'm really proud of him. He's a really good teacher that cares about his students as well as preserving the art and has a good time doing it.


Have I mentioned that Eli HATES haircuts? Like he hates getting his toe nails clipped, so he keeps socks on at all times and when its time Bri has to sit on him. Or going to the doctor, he screamed and screamed about something as simple as standing on the scale, so I got on and then held him and then we had to do some serious subtraction.

Yesterday was the day. Usually we do fun stuff on Tuesdays because we're happy to have Brian home early. We took him to a fun kid haircut place (although Eli would disagree), told him just before we went so he would know but not stress all day, and promised suckers and an ice cream sundae after. Bri even got a hair cut first so he could show him that it doesn't hurt. It ended up turning into a $40 buzz cut.

Bri decided to go with buzzers for the first time so it would be faster and shorter despite the traumatizing vibrations. The nice new girl tried getting Eli happy to watch cartoons and blew bubbles while the more experienced girl just went for it as quickly as possible. Bri held him down on his lap while the new girl held his head still. 3 people to give a 3 year old a hair cut. How many will it take when he's 4?

Things sure have changed. A few haircuts ago I decided I was done. I didn't care how shaggy he got, I wasn't taking him anymore. It was emotionally and physically draining. He's so strong and I felt like I was torturing him for no big reason. This time... it's going to sound terrible... I laughed. It was quite a show. Luckily we were the only ones there.

He screamed mommy the whole time while writhing and trying to kick anyone. When it was over I took the boy in the back to change all of his clothes and sing him songs. He always asks for "Twinkle" when he's sad. After a couple minutes he was happy again, sucker in his mouth, balloon in his hand, and climbing on the little indoor playground.

And now...his hair is shorter than its ever been, since birth. He likes his haircut, it's "bumpy" (well, "boopy" in Eli talk) like dad's. He says its my turn to get a boopy haircut. I'm just happy we can see all of that outrageously cute little face now.

Monday, May 10, 2010

My Kind of Scrapbooking

I just finished my first online photo book and can't wait for it to come in the mail. I'd been wanting to make Eli a felt alphabet book, but this is better. Faster, much, much faster and has pictures. Thanks Anna for the idea and coupon code to make it free. Next I want to do one with family members, since everyone lives so far away.

Click here to check it out.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

The Best wife

I have come to love Helena even more as I see her nurture and raise my two children. I'm grateful for her patience with them, but mostly her love. Helena is completely selfless when it comes to them.

I often forget that Esme is only 6 months old and continues to wake up once or twice during the night. I forget because Helena silently goes to her, feeds her, and puts her back to bed without a peep and never complaining. I remember her taking breaks from a long day and expect her to be up in her room taking a nap. Many times I’ve caught her just lying in bed playing with Esme instead, which to her, is the best treat she could have. Her lovely voice says it all, if any of you have heard her talk to or about either of our kids.

Eli will be 4 before we know it and he’s starting to be a handful. In Helena’s busy schedule, she still finds time in the day to play with him. This morning for Mother’s Day breakfast, her idea of a treat was to have one-on-one time with Eli making breakfast. Both of them really enjoyed it. She’s always referred to Eli as her buddy because they do everything together, even take care of Esme.

I admire most in Helena is her love for my kids. She would rather be spending time with them than anything else. That’s a big reason why she has the hobbies she does. She is into photography so she can have professional pictures of the kids growing up. Her main topic on the blog is the kids. Her other main topic is her craftiness with felt, sewing, and the like. Most of those projects have to do with things she makes for either Eli or Esme.

Thank you for being the best mother Helena. Thank you for your sacrifice in bringing them into the world. I love you very much and appreciate your hardwork and selflessness. Besides nurturing them, you put up with me and I know that’s a lot. I’ve told you before and I’ll always believe it: Going to work everyday to pay the bills and put food on our table is nothing in comparison to what you have to do every day. You tidy, teach Eli about the world and the Gospel, give the kids naps, make sure they have a good schedule, prepare 3 homemade, healthy meals a day, keep the house clean, run errands, blog, make handmade crafts for gifts, clean up after a messy husband, clean up after a 3 year old, change diapers, and a myriad of other daily tasks that I'm too dense to know about. I would think a stellar mom is one who is willing to do a few of those things. You do it all. I couldn’t trade places with you because I know I’d fall short. I love you and hope you know that through word and action this Mother’s Day. Happy Mother’s Day Helena!

With love,


Saturday, May 8, 2010


You'd think we lived by the ocean and fishing was our livelihood by how the boys always talk about their next fishing trip. Eli's got it down. Dad will catch a big one, he'll catch a small one, and then they'll come home and cook them. And I just finished making another fishing game.

I decided to simplify and realized I like the minimalist look better anyway. It was hard to say good-bye to this project, but Emi's totally worth it. Hopefully it buys her parents a couple minutes of peace with this crazy girl on their long flight to Japan.

Monday, May 3, 2010

6 Months

This girl is smaller than she thinks. From birth she has hated reclining in her car seat, insisting on sitting up. I didn't quite get it at first, but people always commented on how aware she is. Aparently little ones just kind of stare around, but she learned early to focus on people and what's going on. This past month she started demanding to eat meals with us and drinking from our cups, as I've mentioned before. She won't even take a bottle, prefering a sippie or cup. I'm usually the one lucky enough to share a cup with her, although I make it hers once it gets too cloudy and chunky. And standing! Sitting isn't good enough. I didn't realize this was strange until a couple of people held her this week and mentioned how stiff she is. Now that I think about it, she stands on my lap most of the time.

Noticing how opinionated she is, it was easy today trying to think of things she would like. A fancy new sippie cup, so she doesn't have to drink from her brother's chewed-up ones, her first hair clips (so simple and tiny, thanks for the idea Sarah), and I'm still working on finding a bumbo seat so she can sit up straight on her own. She loved the pumpkin pancakes for dinner topped with Manders' homemade apple butter. Have I mentioned that this girl's a good eater? Okay, yes. It's still so amazing to me. She eats and eats, waiting for the next bite with an open mouth and tongue sticking out. Eli would take a couple bites so he wasn't starving anymore and then we'd have to distract him with a toy while we stealthily landed bites in his mouth, which he barely opened wide enough for the spoon to slip in and for only a fraction of a second. Esme can hardly wait for the next bite.

We can't wait to see what she comes up with next.

Oh, and at her 6 month appointment May 7th, she was:

11 lb. 1 oz. (4th percentile)

26 1/2 inches (77th percentile)

16 inch head circumference (7th percentile, wow! Nice and small, Eli's was always big)