Showing posts from October, 2009


Don't ask me how this happened, but for the first time ever we decided to let the kids dress up for the annual costume parade at school. Not one to simply purchase an over priced, poorly constructed costume off the rack (which would never hold up with my two boys), I decided to sit down and design something just for them. Nathan wanted to be a mummy. Not one to embrace horror, I talked to the boys about mummies and pulled up photos so that they had an historical point of reference and not just the desire to scare people.
After coming up with the idea, I made the kids come with me to get the supplies. The costumes were made using a base of karate pants and pullover hoodies, all found at the local thrift store for about $6 total (and they made us take home some free nectarines which was an unexpected treat). I used two double white sheets, $7, ripped and torn into strips and dyed in a giant vat of black teabags, $1. Then each strip was machine-stitched one at a time onto the pants an…


One of our Resolutions this year was to dramatically reduce our financial obligations and debt. It hasn't been an easy thing to do with paying projects waxing and waning, and unexpected expenses popping up all over. The worst part has been sitting back and seeing clearly how we got here to begin with. It's not pretty, particularly because there wasn't just one big thing that got us here, it was just a simple, barely perceptible slope over several years that led to a pit with no easy exit route. It's nauseating how quickly debt can snowball into a fierce monster ready to ruin you. I know it's a common held idea that debt is a way of life, get used to it. That may be so, but I don't want it to be my way of life. I don't want it to be my children's way of life. We have worked incredibly hard this year to pay off debt. We've spent a lot of time educating the boys on the value of saving up for something rather than pulling out the trusty credit card (go …

Hi Dad!

(...and everyone else who may be checking Boy Wonder every morning at the crack of dawn to see if I've posted anything new). Yes, I'm still alive. No, I haven't given up blogging. I've just been busier than normal, with two kids to take care of while Michael is working insane hours round the clock. The project will be over soon and then he'll take a day (or four) off and we'll relax and I'll catch up with all the things I've let slide while I was busy doing the stuff Mike normally does. Although I have to admit, I'm doing a pretty poor job of it. Mainly because one of Mike's primary roles is to take care of me! And I can't do that as well as he does, I'm afraid. But don't you worry about me! I'm okay! This will be over soon. It's nice to know you care! I love you, too. Now take a look at these adorable photos I found of you and 18-month-old Nathan, finish your coffee and get on with your day!

Bye Bye Blondie

School picture day is coming, so it was time to take the boys for a hair cut. The last hair cut they had was at the beginning of summer vacation. We spent so much time outside the boys ended up with lots of summery blond highlights. Every year their hair gets darker and darker. Michael stayed very blond until he was in his 20's. I had very pale blond hair until I started coloring it all sorts of colors in college. It wasn't until I was pregnant with Nathan and told I couldn't color my hair that I was shocked to find my natural color had darkened to deep ash blond. I'm quite surprised to find that my boys, who were both towheads, have already turned so dark! Don't they look thrilled to be getting their hair cut?

Both boys, getting their hair cut at the same time. Nathan in the rear, Ben in the front. Nathan always says semi-flirty things to the hairdresser. He'll say things like, "So... you cut hair, huh? Must be a lot of fun. You meet a lot of people here?&…

Men in Uniform

Here they are, wearing their new Cub Scout uniform shirts and belts, right before their first Pack Meeting. They received their neckerchiefs, slides, and a few patches at the meeting.

Nathan is so tall! He towered over all the boys, including all the ten year olds. Poor boy, everyone kept making comments about it, kids and adults alike. I need to remember not to make a big deal out of it. But it's hard not to!

They went on a hike in San Pedro this week as well. Michael has been quite sick after working long hours, but it didn't stop him from going along. He thought the hike would be about four hours, but it ended up being eight! Everyone was tired! I stayed home and worked on clearing out Nathan's dresser, packing up everything he's grown out of.
Fun was had by all! Here you can see the rest of the boys' uniform. Eventually we'll get them the navy blue pants to complete the uniform, but all these little things add up pretty quickly so they recommend waiting. I…

Mr. Rock Soup

With Mike's crazy hours last week and this week, the boys and I have been having somewhat interesting meals during the dinner hour. Like breakfast cereal, baked potatoes, beans, and yogurt. Not all mixed together!
I guess things just get a little lax when I don't have to prepare a big meal for the whole family. When Michael is here, we always set the table and eat together as a family. We've done this for as long as Michael and I have been together. About twice a year we'll have a "picnic" dinner, where we order a pizza and sit in the living room and watch a movie while we eat. But that is the very rare, very special, exception to our normal dinner tradition. But when Mike isn't here to help the kids set the table or pour the water and to wash all the dishes (yes, I married Mr. Wonderful), then the experience of dining together is less about the pleasure of each other's company and more about me being bitter about managing the 5 to 7 pm witching hours …


Oh my. We've gone and jumped into complete foreign territory for this Mom. Nathan and Ben have joined the Boy Scouts of America. They are both Cub Scouts. Ben is a Tiger Cub and Nathan is a Bear Cub. Somehow they both look so much more... wholesome, don't you think? Tonight we collected their hats and books (in the photo), and tomorrow I'll pick up the rest of their uniforms. They are so excited! Especially because of the hike planned for this weekend. 2010 marks the 100th anniversary of Boy Scouts of America, so it's a great year for them to join. My Dad was in Scouts, and my cousin Josh recently earned the rank of Eagle Scout. My Mom's brother was a Scout as well. Michael was in Scouting for many years, as was Michael's father. Mike's Dad seems to think that his father was also a Scout, but there is no way to know for certain. Michael's maternal Grandfather, who is turning 100 in a few months, was also a Scout, and a huge Scout advocate who looked for…

Say cheese!

You know that one super annoying family member at every gathering that forces everyone to gather 'round and take a photo to document the occasion? The one where everyone says Oh no, here comes crazy Aunt Sally with the camera again... Yeah, well, in my family, that person is me. With Michael's sister Heather and her family here in town for the week, we had to have a big dinner at the in laws which included four of the five Chase siblings (the youngest sibling Heidi and her family live in Virginia so they couldn't exactly make it). There was grumbling of course (you know who you are, Uncle Mitch!), but someday, someone will thank me. Even if it's just me, thanking me.
Oh! We did the same exact thing four years ago with the same family members right after we moved here from Hong Kong. I know this, because I forced them all to take a photo back then, too! And here's the proof: Sure, they grumbled. Especially because the nephews had already changed into their jammies …

Hell Week (and everything you've ever wanted to know about Michael's job)

In sports, Hell Week is generally the week at the beginning of the training season where sunrise to sunset (or longer) is spent doing nothing other than engaging in that sport. My little brother started playing football his freshman year of high school, and at the end of Hell Week all traces of middle school boyish pudginess were wiped out, revealing a toned, muscular, and grunting young man. I've mentioned before that we are just not into sports, but the idea of Hell Week can certainly be applied to the world of the theater during the load in or strike of a show. Load in is when the crew loads the set into the theater, and striking the set is when it's all torn out (generally a much faster process).
When we lived in the San Francisco Bay area, Michael was the technical director for a good sized theater company, producing about five or six shows per year. During the week of load in and tech (when the lights are hung and focused, and all things technical are ironed out) he gener…


Michael has three sisters and a brother, Mitch. His oldest sister, Holly, lives right around the corner from us, and Mitch and his wife live about three miles away. His two other sisters, Heather and Heidi, both live out of state. The last time the entire family was together was in 2001 for Mitch's wedding. We've had a few visits from Heidi and her family, and a visit from Heather and her family, but never both Heidi and Heather at the same time! One of these years... This week Heather, her husband Layne, and their three children are here on vacation. They live in Utah, which has a big Autumn break from school this week. Unfortunately, their visit has coincided with Michael's "Hell Week" load in of the show he's been working on. So they haven't had any face time with Uncle Mike! They decided to go to Disneyland for a couple of days, so of course the boys and I had to join them, after school of course!

Here are all the cousins along with cool Auntie Holly w…