Saturday, December 13, 2008

Holiday Concert Follow-Up

Because it received so much airtime, here's a rundown on the concerts we saw this season:

1. Berlioz Symphony Fantastique: it was everything you hoped for--witches, a beheading, percussionists running around like little Mii-people being chased by aliens, and twelve-foot chimes with a stepladder. There were also the symphonic dances from West Side Story and a piece by Samuel Barber (I only know his adagio for strings, so it was nice to hear another one by him). Rob was impressed with the mute for a tuba -- looked like a 12-gallon garbage can. Our neighbor Maestro K is the best kind of conductor, and the philharmonic really rose to the occasion.

2. Vivaldi's Four Seasons, Delius's Cuckoo, and Haydn's Surprise symphony. I wanted to take the kids to see this because they were familiar with the first and last pieces (Little Einsteins comes through for us) and I thought it would help their violin practice to see an orchestra live. Maestro K did another great job of explaining the pieces to novices (so useful to have students in the audience, scribbling notes for their inevitable papers and extra credit reports!) and he diviied up the seasons with 12 soloists. Maddie was definitely impressed. But despite having been taken just before the performance, from mid-Spring on, Will needed to use the facilities. They are both firm believers now in intermission. Rob kept them entertained during the second half playing composer hangman and drawing cartoons about Haydn and the sleeping king. I was pleased that by the next morning, the kids were pretty enthusiastic about it in their retelling to Sebi. But they asked "why did they have to be so long?!" Rob and I understood the point after attending Maddie's holiday concert where they performed 5 pieces in as many minutes.

3. Symphonic band. It was a revelation. Rob said "I didn't think you could get any geekier than orchestra. Little did I know." We left at intermission and got dessert (there were no coconut shells to keep us!).

4. The Motab Spectacular: we have been to this now for several years. We've seen Frederica von Stade, Audra McDonald, Renee Fleming, Bryn Terfel, and the King Singers (we were in Berlin for Sissel). Last night we saw Brian Stokes Mitchell, who has a phenomenal voice. It was the first time we took kids with us, since the minimum age is 8. But we're going to take a hiatus. It is just too much trouble to leave young kids for so long and to descend on the same city block with 21,000 other people. We were too late leaving this year, and the kids were so upset that we were going to miss the show. Maddie was crying and squealing, and Will was banging his head against the car seat. Rob and I were pretty philosophical about the whole thing, but I guess after enough train and plane trips, we've trained our kids to panic. The parking permit was a red herring, and we were just minutes too late to get in the door. Rob and I wanted to junk the whole enterprise and get some great dessert, but the heartbroken kids convinced us to try overflow seating in the tabernacle.

It was much better than the real thing. You can bring little kids. It's prettier than the Supernacle and doesn't have any cheesy decorations. The ushers are much nicer. You can show up right at 7:30 and there are still plenty of seats. And when Will decides he needs to go to the bathroom again 5 minutes after you took him, you can leave. We made it through Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring and ducked out before the organ solos or scriptural readings, which we knew would be dealbreakers for kidlets. They had their fill and got to see the bell-ringing, road-show-dancing, cow-lowing part, and then walk around and see the lights on temple square. We're definitely fans of the simulacrum in this case. And we each had a different favorite song: Rob's was Jesu; Maddie's was Through Heaven's Eyes; mine was the gentle beasts, and Will's was . . . Sleigh Ride! Ba dum DUM!

Will-O's Baptismo

While in Spain, I had a great companion who could not pronounce baptism in Spanish. I tried and tried to work on this one word with her, thinking it was perhaps crucial to her proselyting efforts, but I don't think it made one whit of a difference.

Last Saturday Will-O got baptized. He had grandparents and great grandparents and aunts, uncles, cousins and friends in attendance. Maddie Lou gave the talk on baptism and was very polished. Our friends sang a beautiful song. There were six kids getting baptized and it was a much larger affair than we remember Maddie's having been.

Evidently the floor was a lot more slippery in the changing room too. But I wouldn't know, because I didn't have to do much of anything but remember the clothes.

Afterward, we came home and had a nice lunch that everyone but me put on (the whole thing went well into Joss's naptime) and Will ran around with friends. I asked him if he wanted to open a present and he said "I know, I know, my scriptures." (so I guess you either choose surprise or tradition but you can't have both . . . )
And when the dishes were put away and the friends and family had gone, Rob and kids went with Grandpa Shumway in the truck and bought a behemoth of a Christmas tree. We had already decorated a fake one downstairs and I knew I didn't have the energy to make another one happen, so Grandma and Grandpa pitched in. There is nothing like three kids jumping up and down while you untangle and test light strings to make things happen. Now there is a tree, there are stockings, a nativity, the German pyramid and lots of trimmings. It was a lovely day.

Trying On Black

It has been a little while since I've been able to post, but I did want to report that I attended my first ever doorbusters on the day after Thanksgiving (I went out of altruism for the economy -- gotta do my part, you know?). Rob's sisters took me, and they are seasoned black Friday professionals. They read the circulars and circle what they want. They plan a route from store to store based on sale items, opening times and proximity. Then they split up. One goes for the circled items, and the other stands immediately in line. They are masterful.
I was just going to see the sights, and I think I ended up spending more than either of them. We went to the Waldemort first. I knew I was way out of my depth when I saw that the parking lot was entirely full and there was not a cart to be had. But unlike other Waldemorts, everyone at ours was pretty jolly and we had no problems there. Of course the first thing I found on my list was huge and bulky, and I had no cart. I hoisted it through the store to the back, where the crush was intense enough that people had ditched the carts. Then I had what I wanted, and a cart, but no way to move to the front! I finally contacted both sisters-in-law on the cell phone and after lifting my cart over a skinny spot, I made it to checkout.
Toys-R-Us was not so fun. The line stretched through the entire store, moved like molasses, and the prices were deliberately misleading. I'd never try that again. People were understandably grumpy. And finally we went to the Sears, which by 7:00am was busy but mellow. If you're going to buy appliances for Christmas, you are evidently a minority.
I had a good time, we packed B's car to the headliner, and we were back before the baby woke up. I thought it was a success! (but I did go to bed at 8:00 that night!)

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Toiky Day

Here Joss is hanging out in the backyard on Thanksgiving morning. He liked rolling around in the leaves better than the great and terrible meal. He was feeling most put out that he didn't get to eat much (we've been taking the whole allergy thing more seriously since he Rob gave him a biscuit and he subsequently had a big red rash on his cheeks). This was the first year that we put on Thanksgiving entirely by ourselves and we learned a lot (a 'building year' you could call it) about menu and timing.
Sharing a toast in the midst of their cheers of "T-O-K-I! Toki! Toki!" Maddie, Will and Sebi celebrate the joy of the season: Martinelli's apple juice. As happens too often, Sebi is too young/small/short of arm to make either the picture or the toast. Rob did an upside down turkey with sage. We had mashed potatoes and gravy, but I slashed the yams from the menu for the anti-mush vote. We had an artichoke/parmesan/sourdough stuffing from Sunset and spicy kale with green beans from O magazine. There was also a fantastic spinach and persimmon salad from Sunset and Maddie made cranberry relish from Joy of Cooking (those two are both keepers for sure).
In the evening we had pie with Rob's sisters and family. They had gone to Mimi's Cafe for dinner, which not only sounded like a lot less work, but turned out to be a bargain too! I think our family could have eaten there (or gotten takeout) for about half the price of our dinner. I'm telling myself that it was still a good learning experience. The dessert menu: apple, mince, banana cream, and pumpkin pies with a sweet potato cheesecake in the middle. Uncle Ron made the famous banana cream pie from his family's secret recipe which only he, his mother, and his grandmother are allowed to make. He nearly skinned his grandmother alive when she put it in the ward cookbook. Then she had to break it to him that it was from Betty Crocker. Having now tweaked it a little so that it really is a secret family recipe, his sense of self is pretty much restored.
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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

An Open Letter on Produce

Dear Fellow Americans, and in particular, grocery store cashiers and produce stockpeople:

With the holiday this week, it is time to talk about our food. Specifically I want to discuss food that does not come in a wrapper. We're starting to forget what those foods are and what they look like, and I'm concerned that we're actually afraid of food that doesn't come in a box, can, or plastic shrink wrap.
A few weeks ago I bought a butternut squash. This, below, is a butternut squash. I bake them filled with sausage and apples, or with butter, brown sugar, or maple syrup. My friend Liberty calls them 'nature's candy' and it's an apt name. However, when checking out, my friendly cashier held up said butternut squash and said "This is a yam, right?"
Um, wrong. This is a yam. Completely different. It's a tuber, so it grows underground and is what my brother calls one of the 'humble vegetables'. It figures prominently in your Thanksgiving meals as one of the mooshy side dishes that The Professor has vilified so roundly. Often confused with a sweet potato -- but with a butternut squash? Not so much.
Today I had to go to my second grocery store for the Thanksgiving dinner, to get more exotic produce to keep The Professor happy with crunchy and bouncy side dishes. The persimmons were pathetic, but at least present. They were trying to pass sweet potatoes off as yams. There were brussel sprouts that looked good, which weren't on my turkey day menu. I can almost never find brussel sprouts here, so I decided we were having some tonight and I bought a pound.
Cheerful checkout chick rang them up as tomatillos. I ask you, do you see the difference here? I will grant that they are both green and round . . .
but that is where the similarities end. The former is related to cabbage and your cruciferous veggies. The latter is used for salsa verde.
It is time to meet our produce! Take a stand and learn to recognize the difference between chard and kale, scallions and shallots, and napa cabbage vs. bok choy! You'll be so happy when you don't confuse cilantro with flat leaf parsley. Especially when you are working in the produce section. My friend Linda was visiting Texas and when she picked up some ginger root, the produce guy asked her what she used it for. AUGH! Ginger root is essential! Let's start with Indian food and your curries, and then move on to Thai, Vietnamese, Laotian, and that peanut butter/lime dip that gets kids to eat their crudites.
It's making me worry, people. I can't sleep because of the vegetable ignorance in this town. But I feel much better having gotten this off my chest.
-Yours, MA

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Will's Great Eighth Birthday

On Wednesday our man Will-O turned eight! Impossible to believe he's so old when we still think of him as a chubby, jolly baby. But here he is showing his Pokeball to Fluffy, who was having a grand time with the cast-off paper. Christmas will be lots of fun.
Will chose to have meatloaf with mashed potatoes, gravy, carrots and broccoli for dinner. He really wanted the buffalo meatloaf, but we can't buy it here any more, so Mama made homemade Meatloaf for the first time and the Joy of Cooking came through for us. He got chocolate cake for the family party, and lemon for his friends.

We ended up giving him an old-school Atari game complete with "Pong" and "Asteroids." We are such lame parents that even if we actually do give in and buy video games, they MUST be lame ones. We are forcing reverse nostalgia on our kids so that we all can sit around in 2040 and say "remember the sounds those Space Invaders made back in our childhood?" How economical--that's both our own childhood and our chidrens' childhood that we will be talking about. mrrr MRRR mrrr MRRR mrr MRRR Bzoink! Bzoink!
What do you get when you put eight eight-year olds into a room and pump them up with sugar, fat and carbs? Ribald songs, inappropriate noises, appalling jokes, repulsive stories, and all of this happens at decibles that would drown out a jet engine. Rob's folklore professor would have had a field day with all the versions of Joy to the World with new lyrics about principals, dynamite and toilets (or BBQ and beheading). We also had them popping balloons on the trampoline, which made this into an extreme birthday party. Will ripped through the presents, then we drove up to the movie theatre and watched Madagascar 2. Rob stuck no fewer than 8 theater-sized boxes of candy into his pants and put on a blazer. Never overestimate the IQ of pimply, underpaid theater staff. Rob's Junior Mints shimmy was definitely the high point for MA, though a close second was learning that Sugar Babies and Milk Duds are not as good as Junior Mints, but they are all outshone by Whoppers. Who knew anyone liked malted candy?

After the movie, and about fourteen more versions of the "I gotcha where I wantcha, and now I'm gonna eatcha!" joke, we dropped off Evan, Will W, Austin, Ethan, Mark, Johnny, and Jacob. Will-O received excellent gifts, including Legos to build, card games to play, Star-Wars figurines to launch through the air and YuGiYo cards to hustle.
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Monday, November 17, 2008

From Rob: Surrender the Pink! Scrooge Concedes Concert Battle

Dear M.A. and Blogging Regulars:

M.A.'s Reign of Pink Terror can end now.  I have purchased tickets to two holiday concerts. One of them features Berlioz, and will be more Oct 31 than Dec 25.  The other one, though, promises to be a true holiday concert complete with "Dee-Dee-Dee Doot Doot Doodledoo" Sleigh ride music where they use the little slapping boards at the following point in the song:

"There's a birthday party at the home of FARRRR- (WHAP) -mer Grey
It'll be the perfect ending of a PURRRRR- (WHAP) -ect Day"

They will also make lots of clippity-clop noises and the obligatory trumpet whinny, and shake Sleigh bells during the part that goes:

"Just hear those Sleigh Bells ringaling, Jing-ting-Tingaling too.."

Jing-Ting-Tingeling?  Oy Gevalt.  If I must sit through "Sleigh Ride" cheery x-mas music concerts to please my zaftig little jungle plum (And to de-pink her blog) then consider it my throwing myself on the grenade for the betterment of the Bloggernacle.  I just think it is the symphonic equivalent of some boy band singing "all I want for Christmas--is Yooooooo!" with lots of hair products that are almost audible. 

Now, if it were a Palestrina Motet, or Eartha Kitt singing "Santa Baby" in her little slutty voice, or some dark, Hoffmann-esque freaky tale of decapitated mouse kings and cross-dressing ginger cookies, I could get behind holiday music this season.

But, then again, I am the person who, in the last few years, has spoken out forcefully against the fascist domination of Thanksgiving by the "Mushy" food group.  Every !@*&&$##!* dish at the Thanksgiving table has the consistency of Gerber Strained Bananas.  Our dear half-year-old Fluffy will be in his element--there is no side dish on turkey day that cannot be gummed to death.  Think about it--Sweet potatoes (The crunchiest thing is the soggy pecans), Mashed spuds and gravy, that fakackta grey-green mess of beans,/mushroom gloop /soggy onion rings--thinking about it reminds me of my Grandma's Alzheimers lock-down unit where every dish could be slurped through a Jamba-Juice Straw.  

Enough Scrooginess.  At least all your Blogspot Christmases may be white instead of pink.

you can thank me by sending me some crunchy, browned, melt-in-your mouth sweet potato fries finished with rosemary and kosher salt.  

Cheers,  Rob

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Saturday Afternoon

This boy deserved to do something besides work on the house yesterday. So we packed up and drove up the canyon to mess around in the beautiful light. It was high Christmas-card-photo-shootin' season and there were all kinds of groups in all kinds of attire taking pictures.

So we took some too. This year we just have to try, try, try.

Maddie is showing off the hat that I knit from the Harry Potter Knits book that I checked out of the library. We've been having too much fun with it. I guess that this is modeled after a hat Ron is wearing when they eat magic animal crackers in the fourth? movie.

And here is the payment the kids demand for giving us smiles. They want to take crazy pictures, and lots of them. But crazy or no, those blue eyes and pink cheeks cry out for the camera.

And I had to post this one just for the pudge. He was so happy even with an ear infection. I'm going to have to keep a close watch on this one lest he turn out not hearing for months on end like Sebastian.
It was much better than spending the day indoors. At night, we went on another laterne umzug around the neighborhood, singing all of the appalling lyrics to songs that school-aged children know (the ones about blowing up the school, attacking the teachers, and scatological references). We did the real thing when we were in Berlin, but I didn't know then what it was for. It is for St. Martin's day. He was a frenchman, and when they called him to be bishop, he hid in a haystack. The townsfolk went out with lanterns to find him in the dark, and the geese gave away his hiding place. Rob says "Here is a saint I can really get behind!" Now they celebrate November 11 by having a goose dinner and then walking in the dark with lanterns singing about St. Martin.

Happy Half-Birthday

This week, Joss turned six months. It has been a big milestone. Before he even got there, he got his two front teeth, one on either side of his cousin's birth: Emmeline Rose, born November 9th and 7 lbs 14 oz. Absolutely perfect!
This makes Joss our latest teether of all four kids. If I'm remembering right, Maddie got her first tooth around five months, Will's was earlier than that, and Sebi's was earlier still. Joss is having a good time discovering what they're for -- Cheerios, and Papa's finger during sacrament meeting.
Joss has reconciled himself somewhat to his [admittedly pimped-out] ride. I think it shows signs of maturity, don't you?
He is really big on his evening bath in the new jetted tub. He grooves on the purple baby bath that we use on him -- he loves to chase the bottle around in the tub.
This was his half birthday cake. It left a lot to be desired in its engineering, but who could argue with the sentiment? The kids are happy to celebrate his birthday every month since they get to eat his cake.
His feeder reports that his favorite foods are probably strained pear and strained bananas, though they come in a distant second to chocolate (not that he's ever had chocolate!).
He is still wobbly when sitting up on his own, not having as much ballast as his brothers, but in the last 48 hours he has discovered Rolling for Fun and Profit. This means that he can no longer be put up anywhere unattended (which I discovered to my dismay and his on Friday night) even for a moment. It also means that he rolls as far as he can in one direction. Then he wails there because he is stuck against the heater vent/chair leg/playmat and it's unfair.
I hope his auntie Kiecoo doesn't see this picture. She would be disturbed by his apparel. She claims that I'm dangerously unhip and here's the proof. He should be in either all dinosaurs or all dump trucks (it reminds her of a line from Ocean's 11), but not both. I just thought he was cold.
His heroes are definitely his siblings and his dad, and he absolutely beams like a searchlight whenever they're within hearing.
His sleeping still has room for improvement, but we're withholding judgment because today he got diagnosed with his first ear infection (yep, definitely ours) and is taking his first round of amoxicillin.
And he's in one of my favorite stages of babyhood: the full body smile, the full body scream, the full body snuggle and the full body laugh. With the possible exception of the cat, we all adore him!

The Music Party

Last Friday the kids had another violin performance. This one was with seven kids playing violin and piano, and was nice because they got to show off their hard work for their peers. This is Maddie playing a duet with friend and neighbor C called Bunny Hop, Hop, Hop. I still can't get her part out of my head, complete with the painful slide to a G sharp. At the tune up, Maddie's string broke, so she's using her teacher's violin here.
And I didn't get a picture of Will performing, but he had the best two pieces. One had fake rock distortion and if you asked him, he would do a rock concert dance to it while he played. The other one was in five eighths and seven eighths time and his Uncle Jeff would have grooved on that.
Just yesterday, Maddie brought up her violin and played it for her grandparents over the webcam and it sounded great! Sometimes I need to take a break from the practice for a short while so that I can see the progress they're really making.
Today Will had his baptismal interview with the bishop. When asked what his talents were, he didn't hesitate: "I play violin!" he said. Then he added "And I make noises with my body that my brother and sister can't."

My Holiday Snark

Yesterday, I suggested to my DH (Dear Husband for those of you who don't make acronyms out of every living thing) that he purchase more discount tickets for events on campus. I said "how about some holiday concerts?"
He said "Oh? Do you have a hankering to hear the clip-clopping of coconut shell horse hooves? You want to hear the faux whinny of a trumpet, do you?"
I told him that just because he likes his entertainment edgy doesn't mean that we can't find some way to celebrate the season. "Perhaps they'll put on 'The Night Before Christmas' as beat poetry." I told him. Or it could be an absurdist Christmas Carol. Possibly they'll bring Mark Morris's The Hard Nut to campus. Could be a twelve-tone Messiah. It could happen . . .
But in the meantime, I have no problem celebrating the season of coconut shells.
So I've retaliated by making the blog pink. I think I'll keep it that way until he takes me out, whether or not we hear Sleigh Ride . . .

Friday, October 31, 2008

Spooking Out

Will went as a dementor. This was educational because he found out that he cannot stand makeup on his face. Rob tells me he was the same way, but he didn't bother to mention this until Halloween when the kid is running around screaming "take it off!!!!!" He was certain that it wouldn't come off, and had to be gently introduced to makeup remover. His favorite costume at school this year was the boy who had Barbies stuck all over him: a chick magnet.
Check it out. He is in the stroller, and he is smiling! I knew I would win in the end. Perhaps it's because I disguised it as the Red Baron's plane, but I don't care. I'll push it around with wings and propeller if he won't scream. Joss was great. He napped and lasted for an hour and a half, which is fantastic for a first Halloween. (Yeah, I know the wings are too far back, but Joss knocked them off when I put them down lower.)

Sebi wanted to be a kangaroo this year. Since we had the costume from years past, this freed up energy for his siblings. Rob says he really got it this year: "All I have to do is say 'thank you' and they give me candy. What a deal!" He was pretty freaked out by our neighbors' spook alley, but left with his dignity intact.

Maddie was Moaning Myrtle from the Harry Potter series. And yes, that is a toilet seat around her neck. One made out of foam core, because we have bought too many real toilet seats this year.
"Do you think this makes my face look fat?"

A Quick Getaway

Nearly a month ago Rob and Joss and I got away for 24 hours. We took off to Snowbird for the Conference of the Crabby German Feminists. They really know how to do a conference right. We stayed here and they had six hours off to go hiking, to the city, or get spa treatments. Joss and I watched a lot of old movies and caught up on Comedy Central and CNN.
Instead, we used the time to rush back home to the other three kids who had been partying up a storm. They'd gone to Carl's Jr., Old Navy, Sub-Zero ice cream, Best Buy, Wall-E, seen Emperor's New Groove and had presents and sugar and lots of attention from Opa and Betsy. In fact, they were nonplussed to see just their plain old parents.
Next time we'll stay away longer.

The Sweetest Words in the English Language

Just may be "It's the plumber. I've come to fix the sink." . . . and the shower, and the tub, and the faucet . . . absolutely sublime. Last Monday we had the plumber over for five hours, connecting all of the fixtures and when he was done, we had a bathroom! YAY!
Some other pretty sweet words are "Mom, can I have a 'peterjelly' sandwich and then can I have a bath?" The new tub has been very popular with everyone -- even the baby. But my favorite part is without a doubt the slow-close lid on the toilet. The sound of silence where a slamming seat once was. There is a design genius somewhere out there and I'd like to personally thank him for my sanity.
We got our vanity the same day, and because we have great Samoan neighbors who were willing and able to put 380 lbs. up the stairs and into the bathroom, we got it installed too. It isn't perfect (Rob is already scheming about a new marble counter in green), but it works and it has 3 times as many drawers as we had before. It's revolutionalized the storage in there. Maybe we'll put up a picture if I can strongarm my husband into mounting the mirror tomorrow.

The Boys of Summer

The garden is all dug under now, but I had these great pictures I wanted to put up. Though today we did have our first harvest of Dorfgastein King of May lettuce. Rob planted it a few weeks back and has been watching over it while he's been out mowing up all of the leaves.

What great vegetable lovers! Those are each from their own corner of the garden, and they provided many a gazpacho and zucchini bread.
This one hasn't actually tried tomatoes (that I know of), but he's into the pureed squash stage now.

They are nearly gone now . . .

But I thought we should commemorate the pumpkins and decorations anyway. Sebi talked Grandpa into buying a haunted gingerbread house while they were out on one of their 'adventures', so we decided to decorate it for FHE at Kiecoo's house while we were carving pumpkins. It turned out to be structurally unsound, but still plenty of fun to decorate. It got eaten about a week later and even Joss liked the gingerbread.

Carving in front of the great mural at Kiecoo's. The kids design the faces and Rob and I carve them, but I've been informed by Maddie that if we would just spring for the pumpkin carving knives, she can do it herself (she did this for activity days with the wife of an E.R. doctor, and if they do it at their house, I guess we can too). I'm all about outsourcing more and giving the kids skills, so I guess we'll have less to do next year.

Checking to see whose smile is bigger.
Joss decided he liked the stem just fine and didn't need to change a thing.
Will was all about the teeth.

Love those tights! Now the pumpkins are big moldy heaps on the front porch with caved faces. Rob is hoping some teenagers will come along tonight and put them out of their misery. If not, they're off to the compost pile tomorrow.

Baby Adam's Blessing

Here are Hannah and Sebi. Hannah is two years older and two inches shorter but they still manage to play together just fine (except that time that Sebi peed off the side of the trampoline -- Hannah was screaming like her retinas had been burned).
We got to go see Adam's blessing in AF and were glad to finally have a Mc cousin born the same year as one of our children; the fact that they're both boys is a nice bonus. Neither one has siblings very close in age.

This is the best we can do for a photo of four right now. All eyes open, all looking at the camera. BINGO!

R & K and Adam. I learned all kinds of things by reading the bulletin boards at their chapel. Far more informative than ours is.

Opa and Joss shared several great secrets. This one was my favorite. Whatever it was.

Watch Out Rodney Yee

Joss has reached that important infant milestone: putting one's toes into one's mouth. I just missed it here with the camera, but he was gnawing on his big toe like he does with his fingers. Works so much better to put your foot in your mouth when you're a baby. I just did it the other day at church, and I'm still smarting from the effects.

Monday, October 13, 2008

We're Very, Very Busy

"Oh, we're very very busy and we've got a lot to do, and we haven't got a minute to explain it all to you.
For on Sunday/Monday/Tuesday there are people we must see and on Wednesday/Thursday/Friday we're as busy as can be with our most important meetings and our most important calls for we have to do so many thing and post them on the walls."
Those are lyrics from "Busy, Busy Busy", a song sung by Kevin Kline in Sandra Boynton's imaginary musical "Philadelphia Chickens" which is definitely worth a listen if you have children. It's also how I' m feeling now that school and activities with four kids are in full swing. But we're not too busy to explain it all to you:
First, it's harvest time. Now that we're trying to move toward eating things in season, and eating more locally, we've noticed when harvest is. (I read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle this summer by Barbara Kingsolver, which pushed us a little further in this direction. If you haven't read it, I think you should definitely read at least the chapter on turkey mating behavior. Very suspenseful.) So in addition to berry picking, we had our peaches come on, bought more from Rob's dept. chair, got 14 bottles of juice from these grapes (or what was left after Sebi), made peach jam, and then got a bunch of tomatoes, peaches, onions and apples at the farmers market so that I could make AVM's relish, sauce and chutney all in one day. I just did the first two because I need ginger and mangoes in my chutney, but it was fun to spend the day in the kitchen watching conference and making great smells. Then I inherited 20 lbs of tomatoes, so I went ahead and tried their family recipe for tomato sauce too. A lot more work than the Ragu, as my friend Julie said here, but it did taste marvelous.
Joss loved the gym over at his cousin's house, and so we got him one too. That mouth pretty much sums it up. And that's how I feel about another 15 minutes of hands free parenting as well!
Miss Maddie Lou and I went and got haircuts. The hairstylist did such a good job helping us to choose something good for swimming, that was just right for the I-barely-know-what-conditioner-is crowd and the I-hate-brushing bunch. She loves it and we love it. Unfortunately that smile is now under wraps for a long while -- painful, metallic, jaw-stretching wraps, to be exact. Her little cheeks poke out and she's been popping ibuprofen and slurping applesauce since she got her appliance last week.
The one time she really smiled was on Saturday when she had her first swim meet and came in first place in her second event! She's a good little fishy. And probably the busy, busy, busiest of all of us with school, violin, homework, activity days, and swim team.
And finally, this was drugged out Sebi. He had a big cavity on a back tooth and so we tried sedating him. It was a bomb. The dentist said they would have bagged the whole thing except that they had a dad willing to sit on his kid. Sebi screamed and cried and kicked one poor hygenist right in the chest. When he woke up from this nap, he told me how much he hates to have his legs and arms held down. I am with you, hombre! The Slurpee lets you know how bad it was. Slurpees are Rob's parental apology of choice. They mean "I'm sorry that I sat on you/you got your wart frozen/we didn't get to go to the goshawful school carnival/I made you floss/etc." We all deserved a Slurpee after last week!