Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Last First Haircut

Joss has been needing a haircut badly for a few weeks now, but I couldn't bring myself to make the appointment. I finally broke down and did it because I really wanted Gwen to do his hair here, rather than having a freakishly bad european haircut (they cut men's hair from the top down; now what is that about?) or, even worse, having him suffer his first trim at my hands. That would have been awful.

Now some of you may remember that we brought Sebastian to Gwen for his first haircut about four years ago and that it was a complete rout: two parents, five smarties in his mouth at a time, lots of screaming and tears. We were braced for another round of it today, but Gwen decided that Rob should hold Fluff on his lap, and it made all the difference. There were a few moments when he was a little nervous, but all in all, the pictures tell the truth: he had a great time. He played with the hair clips and drooled smartie juice all over himself and didn't mind the scissors or the hair vacuum or even the trimmer around the edges. He looks great, very grown up, and I didn't have him home more than twenty minutes before I'd decided that I am growing his hair out again.

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A Very Merry UnBirthday

Yesterday we celebrated Maddie's 11th birthday. Yes, it is true, she was born in July, but as she has pointed out in increasingly petulant tones, her bad-nasty-evil parents keep dragging her out of town for the summer and she never gets to celebrate it with her friends. So we agreed that we owed her a party and we were intending to make it a half birthday and do something in January. Didn't happen. Neither did February. So when do we plan it? We celebrated during our very own McFarland Birthday Sweeps Week. Yep. My birthday was last Saturday (very lovely, thank you, maybe I'll post a picture of my darling pedicure) and Robchen's is this Friday (he is being most pestiferous about presents, but I'm going to apply firm pressure tomorrow). SO on Tuesday we had Maddie and five friends out to Color Me Mine where you paint your heart's desire on their ceramic pieces, they fire them for you and viola! You're done. This was especially nice because they decorated, they cleaned up, they had invitations and thank you notes, and Betsy stayed with the boys (we didn't need three small bulls in this china shop). It was wonderful. We had pizza and cupcakes and watched Annie Get Your Gun which was surprisingly popular with the girls. Then we took the girls home and were finished. It was so nice not to have to use my brain on this one. Maddie and friends were very thoughtful about their pieces and designs and we can't wait to see the finished products!
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Thursday, April 23, 2009

Mormon Pop

The other day while making lunch, Rob decided there should be a line of Book of Mormon soda. It would include the flavor Lemonihah. I suggested perhaps a Limehi to go with it. And then he came up with Grape Nephi to round it out. Can anyone think of a flavor to play off of wine bibbers? This is one of many examples that show what a great Disney imagineer he'd make. I really think I should lend him out to them for two months a year. He could just spout ideas at them for sixty days and they would spend the rest of the year winnowing them down and making them happen.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Insanities R Us

Last week was spring break. Rob had mentioned that he had never been to Bryce Canyon, and so last Friday, when I made reservations at a motel down there, the kids and I decided to surprise him. At our house, it's easier to surprise Papa than those kidlets; especially at the end of the semester. We were going to leave Tuesday night and come back Thursday night. So I packed up the car on Monday and was all ready to put the finishing touches on it Tuesday, then Will woke up with a fever and I had a sore throat, and the weather forecast continued to get more and more dismal. We made an executive decision to tell Papa. He called in a favor so he could skip his final, and the motel graciously let us postpone for two days:
Here is what it looked like on Thursday. Will was better, I was not, but we left anyway and had good roads despite flurries over the summits.
We went strait to the park and directly to Sunset Point where we tumbled out of the car. We peeked over the edge and toddled down the path a little way. Then the kids and I decided to take the Navajo Loop while Rob (who had the baby in a backpack) stayed above. This was foolhardy in the extreme, since none of us could remember if the hike was easy or strenuous. It turned out to be moderate, made more complicated by the mud and ice on the trail (there was a sign saying "beware: trail is icy" so I can't blame anything on the most excellent park service folk). Sebastian was wearing tennis shoes and clung to my hand the entire way down Wall Street. As we got further down, it got colder and more slippery, until at the bottom we watched a serious dude hiker, with not one but two hiking poles, biff it completely. At that point, Will decided that he was going to tushy-toboggan his way out and Maddie followed suit. Sebi made his way cautiously all the way to the bottom, only to decide that he had to try it too. Thankfully, the trail was "a cakewalk" (for Harry) once we reached the bottom, and much warmer. The kids hugged trees, watched chipmunks, and clowned around in the sun. We stopped at some benches and had a snack, since I had thrown on the pack with food in it -- as in the snacks for all the hiking for the entire trip; including the four pound bag of Kirkland trail mix. Then we started to ascend again and that backpack got mighty heavy. It got more difficult when Sebi decided that he needed to hold onto me because of the mud, and Maddie needed to give me the camera so she could concentrate. We all came out of it fine, but I had a purple face. Rob and Fluffy were there waiting at the top, jealous they hadn't come too (but I was so grateful! I would have been terrified of that drop with the baby always tipping to one side). While it was absolutely crazy to have done the Navajo Loop without preparing better, it worked in our favor: we got to the top, went to wash off our boots, and the sky darkened and began to snow -- for the rest of the afternoon, evening and night.

The only evidence that we were all there. Except that obviously we weren't all there.

Rob and Fluffy doing the HooDoo Groove Move. This was Queen's Garden trail on day three, which was much warmer and mellower, and even at that, Sebi wanted to take off or put on an article of clothing every time we made a turn in the trail.
The other insane factor on our trip is that Joss still takes three naps a day. Because Rob, Liesl, Lois and Katie have all pitched in with toting kids around, Joss is used to sleeping in his crib and only in his crib. This meant that more than once, Rob and the other kids went out exploring Henrieville and Tropic while I put him down and listened to him cry. He did beautifully the first night, but after two days of disrupted napping, he woke up in the motel at 12:30, I nursed him to sleep, he woke up back in the crib, I nursed him to sleep until 2:00am and left him in our bed. Rob woke up to the baby in the bed and put him back in his crib, where he woke up again and Rob brought him to me to nurse him to sleep. I explained that I'd already been doing this for two hours and that now Rob owed me a milkshake. At 3:30am we agreed that this wasn't going to work, and Rob stumbled out of the motel room with a squalling baby and car keys. He drove all over and they hung out in Tropic with Joss crawling all over the car and honking the horn a few times just for good measure. Rob came back at 6:00am with the firm conviction that Fluffy doesn't do motels for another three years at least. Ever.
"Except for Barcelona this summer." I reminded him, "And of course Salzburg and Dorfgastein and Hallstadt, right?" And he peeped and muttered and put a pillow over his head. He claims that if the trip had lasted one more day that Joss would have 'gone Jack-Jack' and spontaneously burst into flame. Could be.

Day two was still snowy, and we began by driving the length of the park, stopping at each lookout point to get out and freeze. It had warmed up by the time we came back to the ampitheater, so Rob and the kids did the Navajo Loop again while Fluff and I sauntered back and forth between Sunset and Sunrise Points. Then we stopped at the visitor center to warm up and get the kids hyped up to be junior rangers. The best part of the program is that they pick up trash. By that time, our van was a rolling dumpster filled with red mud, and finding trash was no problem.
While in the visitor center Sebi started messing around with his tooth during the film. Rob pulled it out. Sebastian was more than surprised -- he was a little traumatized, but we assured him that this was his meal ticket to earn money for his Wii "numchuck". I am still traumatized. He wasn't supposed to be gap-toothed by my reckoning for another two years at least! All it takes is one little hole to make them look so grown up. And for those of you keeping track, the tooth fairy did better than usual, delivering even to Utah backcountry (although it was a random sampler of loose change, which was viewed as scatterbrained).
The kids toboggan down Wall Street. The last day there we had breakfast in the lodge. It was amazing to see what a civilizing influence a hot meal can be. We hiked, kids took their junior ranger oaths, Joss fell into an exhausted stupor in the backpack, everyone ate ice cream and there was much shrieking all the way home. I suppose we shouldn't have attempted it, but I think the kids had a memorable time and got more out of the break than they would have if we'd stayed at home. And now, everything has been neglected while we've been gone. We've got to get our noses back to the grindstone if we're ever going to get off to Vienna!
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Sunday, April 19, 2009

Preschool Graduate

Sebi just had his last day of school. Here he is at his cubby. Each morning when Papa brings him, he hangs up his coat and puts on his super-duper name tag. Unbeknownst to him, the name tag is so that lots of researching students can write up his every move behind the one-way glass. I have always wanted to hang out behind the one-way glass and watch the kids all day, but I generally have one or two things to do while he's gone. I almost never got a peek at Sebi this year.
Here he is showing off his addition to the Word Wall where the kids bring in words that they see around the house. My brother will appreciate the presence of Tang (Mr. Twinkie always thought that Tang was the perfect food -- same all the way through). Of course Sebi is pointing to our contribution: the hippie tofu freakish Organic Flax Plus cereal (which is really good; Sebi and I like it with yogurt).
Then Sebi has to write his name and answer a question (today's was "Does your family plant flowers or vegetables in their garden?"). After he has answered, he gets to shake Mr. B's hand with one of the four special handshakes: octopus, snake, crab or saw. Mr. B is in charge of the teacher who is in charge of the other teachers who run the class. This year he studied post offices, birds, fish, and grocery stores. They choose one subject each term (each with a new set of enthusiastic El. Ed. majors doing their practicum) and then almost everything ties into it: books, math, the questions, surveys they take around the building and ask students, field trips and activities.
Finally, Sebi moves onto one of the centers. He has been very particular about his centers this year. He either builds with blocks or Legos, or he reads a story upstairs in the treehouse (where he informs me that there are stuffed snakes from IKEA "to put around you while you read"). He's had such a great experience this year, but he is looking forward to kindergarten at the same school his brother and sister have attended. He is worried, though, about the shots he's going to have to get in order to go. I tell him that Joss was tough enough to get three last time. Sebi will surely do even better.
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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A Green Easter

Easter was an unusually beautiful day in between several rainy, cold, wet, miserable ones. The Easter Bunny brought pocket hymnbooks and CTR rings in German, along with too much sugar and stuff. Rob sang a solo in one of the choir numbers at church. Maddie looked like she'd grown five years overnight. We had a fancy Easter dinner where we actually used the real crystal/china/silver for the kids (they must be getting older!). Kids dyed five dozen eggs on Saturday which were hidden and searched for and then rolled down a slide (Maddie, Will and Sebi) and mashed together like maracas (Joss) on Sunday. There are still enough survivors for breakfasts in egg cups and a chef salad. And our friend Heather came to town that night to see us (ok, really her daughter at BYU) for a few days.

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Eleven Months!

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Hot dog! This guy turned eleven months old on Easter Sunday.
Favorite books: Maisy's Hide and Seek, Dinosaur Roar, and Little Chick (he loves to push and pull the levers and lift the flaps).
Favorite song: "The Wheels On The Bus" with everything else placing a distant second.
Favorite foods: banana, cheddar cheese, IKEA meatballs, pesto pasta, and mangos with a vengeance. It isn't really a word, but when he wakes up he often says "mnamnamnamna" which, being interpreted, is "feed me immediately!"
He is still smiley all the time unless 1. he's thirsty, 2. I haven't noticed he needs a diaper change, or 3. it's more than half an hour after his nap time. He is getting more frustrated that he can't tell us what he wants. He still won't sign to us, but enjoys our charades.
He also wants to be in the center of things. He crawls to company whenever they leave him in a room, and if he's stuck (in the highchair, for instance) he starts to squawk whenever he's alone. His siblings are still great about toting him about. Sebi is the most entertaining -- he carries Joss like little kids carry a cat: under the arms and hanging nearly down to the floor. Joss doesn't mind a bit.
Right now, he has two words: "uh-oh" which is a favorite game of his, particularly dropping things over the side of the tub, and pushing food off of the highchair; and "dude" which is an all-purpose exclamation. He says "dude!" when you wake him up, when he sees something he wants, and when he's pointing. Who knows what he thinks it means, but it is very cute!

Sunday, April 05, 2009

And Here Is What Joss Has Been Up To

First of all, he's been growing his hair. This style reminds us of the Heat Miser character from one of those holiday specials of our childhood. The hair is getting a little scruffy, but we're just not quite ready for the last of the first haircuts. Rob wants to let it get long and curly; I'm putting the kibosh on mullets.
Second, Joss has been working on walking. He took his first steps last Monday on March 30. Just walked four paces as if he'd been thinking the whole thing out in his mind. He refuses to walk on demand, but then you'll be looking elsewhere and see that he's just launched himself off of your knee and made it two feet away. Sebastian also took his first steps about six weeks before his birthday, and the day after he turned one, he was strictly a biped. We'll see what Joss decides to do (watching his friend Leah toddle was a big encouragement).
Joss has also discovered the joys of dishwasher surfing. He always wants to climb up here and help me splash in the wet door or pull forks out of the silverware basket. I try only to open the dishwasher when he is asleep in his crib or stuck in his highchair. Doesn't always happen that way.
Finally, Joss has been checking out the trampoline. I wonder if this is what the BYU Honor Code means by a "bulky or extreme" hairstyle?
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