Saturday, November 29, 2008
The big day came, and we found out that one of my cousins, Whitney, had just delivered a baby boy the day before. We poured over the photos and how cute the little guy was. As we began our meal, Michael cleared his throat and said he'd like to have us go around the table and have everyone say something they were thankful for. We went all the way around and came back to Michael, who said, "I'm thankful for the little baby". Everyone nodded their heads and agreed that it was nice that Whitney had given birth right before Thanksgiving. And then Mike added, "In Heather's tummy". As you can imagine, the whole family went crazy.
My Dad, as expected, teared up. My Marine Corps brother decided that he shouldn't have been thankful for what he'd said (to personally take out the enemy in Iraq) in light of the happy news. Nathan, who had just turned two, delighted in the cacophony of noise and added to it at the top of his lungs. My mom was the funniest though. She jumped up from her seat at the table and ran to the couch where she grabbed the TV remote. She was shouting happy things like "Wow!" and "Great news!", all the while punching numbers into the remote, randomly flipping channels up and down on the television. Then she slammed it against her hand and shouted, "Why won't this thing work?" We asked her what she was trying to do... and she said she wanted to call her friends and proclaim the happy news. When we pointed out that she was holding the remote, not the phone, she was completely confused. It was priceless, and still makes me giggle.
I am, as always, so thankful for my wonderful family, a never-ending source of mirth!
Friday, November 28, 2008
It works by just cranking a handle around, which peels the apple and then pushes it through a round hole.
As it turns, it's being sliced into what looks like a Slinky. The boys called it a "Sprinky".
We cut up enough apples for two pies. They came out looking a little different, but they taste delicious!
Especially when served warm with a huge helping of vanilla ice cream!
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
The boys are so excited to have FIVE days off from school! I'm less excited, but only because there is rain in the forecast... which means no bike rides or playing at the park. It would appear that Fall has finally arrived here in Los Angeles!
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
After the assembly, Ben's class had a mini "feast" where they enjoyed cornbread, cranberry sauce, popcorn, and hand churned butter (which was primarily churned by yours truly). When I picked Ben up from school he had a big, happy smile on his face, and he told me he'd had a great day. I asked him to tell me his most favorite thing for the day. When they let me use the knife to spread the butter!, he practically sang. Go figure. Maybe we'll let him carve that Fat Turkey on Thursday!
Monday, November 24, 2008
The castle has a single moving part, just the door at the bottom. While he waited for Mike to help him with it, he put together the Troll tower cart, which has a multitude of moving parts like a battering ram and a gang plank that pulls out, and a very complicated set of instructions.
How I wish I could see it from Nathan's perspective... that the simple one in my eyes would be so much more difficult than the multi-step project where the success of one moving part depends on the preceding five steps being done accurately.
He's a smart kid though... I suspect that he really thought that the simple one was "boring" and wanted to do the cool one by himself and leave the grunt work to his minions.
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Friday, November 21, 2008
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Personally, I have the tendency to mock the Madrona Marsh because it looks like a large plot of overgrown weeds that people are very serious about protecting. Most of the plants growing there you would pluck out of your garden should you see them sprouting! Mike's parents have an enormous backyard, which greatly resembles the Marsh, and we've joked several times that we should sell tickets to wander through the shoulder high weeds. Needless to say, this was not really a field trip I was looking forward to with great anticipation. But Nathan noted that I'm spending a lot of time working in Ben's class and not so much time in his this year, so a sense of guilt propelled me to volunteer my day to walk over with the kids. Unfortunately I've been a little under the weather and have completely lost my voice, so I was pretty ineffectual as a chaperone! Being among all the tall grasses and seed pods did nothing for my already ash and smoke-battered sinuses!
The kids were very interested in the "stuffed" animals, and kept asking our guide about what exactly the taxidermy process entails. And here is our last photo of Nathan's blue metal water bottle, which he lost somewhere on the Marsh.
Here's the outside of the Nature Center, with a sample of the brown brush that covers the Marsh. I felt bad for our guide who had to keep all the kids interested in the reproduction cycle of the Tule Reed, when today was the first time in five days they've been allowed to go outside and play!
The coolest part for the kids (NOT the adults) was the walk back to the entrance when we got to go through what felt like a never-ending tunnel of the Tule. We got home from the field trip in time for me to load up on antihistamines before picking up Ben from Kindergarten.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
1st Birthday, 2001
2nd Birthday, 2002
3rd Birthday, 2003
4th Birthday, 2004
5th Birthday, 2005
6th Birthday, 2006
7th Birthday, 2007
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Monday, November 17, 2008
We live close to the ocean and normally enjoy a cool breeze coming in off the water. Right now, the Santa Ana winds are blowing, meaning the air is not blowing in off the ocean, it's coming in from the dry desert, sweeping in through where the fires are burning, and then directly towards our house. The ash on our windows, cars, and grass is thick, and though the boys sweetly suggested it was snow, we corrected them and said that all those pieces of fluffy whiteness are actually someone's house, someone's toys, someone's earthly possessions. Sobering news indeed.
Ash in the driveway.
We are all wheezing and coughing and our eyes are burning which is miserable, but surely not as miserable as a friend of ours one mile from the fire's edge. We drove to Pasadena this morning, which was relatively clear and gave us a good perspective of the orangey-brown haze enveloping Los Angeles. Later we drove to San Pedro to the water's edge where the air was far easier to breath. Tonight we are simply thankful for all that we have, most importantly for each other.
From Pasadena, looking back toward Los Angeles.
Not smog or marine layer... smoke.
Heading toward Pasadena, driving through downtown Los Angeles.
Sunday, November 16, 2008
As Chinese New Year approaches (February 10th this year), we bid a fond farewell to the Year of the Dragon. My oldest son was born in the Ye...
Michael and I got to jump on a plane from Shanghai to Los Angeles to attend a four day conference on leadership, creativity, and humanity tw...
This festive greeting was over four years in the making! Christmas cards are a big deal for me. Though we move a lot, our annual Ch...