Saturday, May 31, 2008

E-L-I-Z-A-B-E-T-H



She did this all on her own. There was no help involved - I promise. We were sitting in church, she was coloring this picture quietly, then a few minutes later she says, "Look mommy, I wrote my name!" And by golly - she did! (It's kind of hard to see, but her name is faintly written across the top of the page.) This is the first time she's ever written her whole name all by herself. There are a lot of letters in that name too. At first I was skeptical that she'd actually done it on her own, but after I looked at it for awhile I realized that it was for real. My favorite is the lowercase letter "i". Here's a small picture of it...
I don't know if you can see, but she took some time making a beautiful dot on top.


I just love those proud moments as a parent. The small ones are always the best.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Look who's here!

Cousin Tyler is here this weekend! Jackson and Tyler were so cute this morning hanging out in their pjs and drinking from their sippy cups.

Tyler and our Jackson are so much alike - they are only a couple months apart and of course display the same characteristics for their age. They both babble what sounds like words, they scream when a toy is taken from them, they LOVE to push around the trucks outside, and they both refuse to look at the camera at the same time. These are the best pictures I could get! Love to you cute boys.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Logan's Indiana Jones Party

She's a Joy School Grad!

Lizzie had a small graduation celebration last Friday for completing a whole year of Joy School! She and her 3 classmates looked so cute in their caps. They really were so cute it was hard not to pinch their cheeks off. The whole time we were there I kept replaying in my mind the quote from Mr. Incredible... it's the scene where he's arguing with his wife about attending a 5th grade promotion ceremony... he says, "Why do they have to keep inventing ways to celebrate their mediocrity?" That's kind of what it felt like - celebrating their mediocrity. Did they really accomplish something great? The answer is no, not really. But it is still fun to get them dressed up and celebrate the END of something. So I say, "Yay for Lizzie! You go girl! You finished a year of Joy School and get to do it all over again next year!"

Thursday, May 22, 2008

The Day of Logan

Happy Birthday Logie Man!

Logan woke early this morning to a pile of presents and a yummy breakfast of toaster scramblers. He tore through his gifts, taking only a moment to look at each one then tossing it aside to rip open the next one. Daddy bought him a super cool hydrating backpack with a built in water pouch. Logan thought it was cool, but Daddy was was even more stoked! Now he has a backpacking partner for sure. Logan put down 4 toaster scramblers (these are like breakfast pop tarts, but made with bacon, egg and cheese for our non-sweet eater) and a plateful hashbrowns.

The celebrations will continue today with a cupcakes and cheez-its for his class, a movie (Indiana Jones baby!) after school, dinner at Burger King (for the Indiana Jones toys, of course), then one more party this weekend.

It's hard to believe that our Logan is 7 years old today. Man that sounds old! He's such a good boy - always trying hard to please and tease. Have a great day Logie Man.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Cajun Chicken with Citrus Salsa

Ok guys, you are going to love this recipe. I got this recipe from my friend, Heather, over a year ago and finally had the guts to try it. It's so hard to try something new sometimes! I've made it 3 times in the last month. We're having it again for dinner tonight! I think the salsa the best part and totally makes the dish.

Here's the recipe:

Cajun Chicken with Citrus Salsa

3 Tbs Cajun seasoning
¾ tsp onion powder
1/8 black pepper
1/8 red pepper flakes (The cajun seasoning I have is spicy enough for my family so I usually don't add the red pepper flakes.)
4 chicken breasts

11 ounce can chopped mandarin oranges
8 ounce can crushed pineapple
2 tbs lime juice
1 jalepeno pepper, seeded and minced
2 tbs chopped cilantro
Salt and pepper


For chicken:
Combine Cajun seasoning, onion powder, black pepper and red pepper in a shallow dish. Rub seasoning over chicken breasts. Grill or cook in a nonstick skillet.

For Salsa:
In a bowl, combine mandarin oranges, pineapple, lime juice, jalepenos, cilantro and Salt and Pepper. Serve salsa with chicken and rice.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Passing of a Legend

Another great one has fallen.

I came home today surprised to see Trevor sitting outside the back door balling, sobbing, moaning and wailing. My first reaction was to ask, with great concern, "What happened to you Trev?" His response, "Oreo died". Actually it was more like, "OREO DIIIEEEEEED!". My next question, (probably much like yours now) was, "WHO'S OREO?". Bad question. Oreo happens (or happened) to be the rabbit that lived in the next door at the Christopherson's in our joint backyard. As I moved around the yard, the scene with the rest of the kids seemed to be the same, balling, moaning and wailing. I had no idea that Oreo the rabbit had such a profound impact, nevertheless, not wanting to make light of others pain, I attended the graveside service for Oreo to support all the kids.

Here's the backyard memorial/grave stone


It was difficult to hear much of what was said due to the loud crying by all the kids in attendance, but I did catch a few phrases like, "HE WAS JUST A BABY" and "WHY OH WHY". I worked hard to keep myself from smiling.

Trevor felt like expressing his grief with a pen (in addition to his loud and visible form)

I then thought of the first animal (actually it was a fish) that I lost and cried over, I think I was 7 or 8 years old. I don't remember the goldfishes name (shows how much it really meant to me). I asked Jennifer if she ever cried when a family pet died. Her response, with an incredulous look was, "why would I cry?". I was glad when I realized that I wasn't the only insensitive one in the family.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

FHE @ Maggie Moo's

Trevor wanted to bring his camera along on our Family Home Evening outing. He was quite proud of all his photography. Enjoy a slide show of his work... My favorites are of Jeremy swinging the kids. His head and stomach were a little woozy the rest of the night!


Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mom, Mama, Mother

I came across this picture as I was searching for a baby picture of Samuel fot the last post. This one instantly caught my attention and I couldn't put it down! I knew I needed to do something with it for Mother's Day this weekend.

This picture was taken on the 4th of July in 1979 when I was only 8 months old and Mom was only 23. (Thanks Dad for writing on the back of all your pictures!) I love to look at this photo and wonder what life must have been like for Mom all those years ago. She married at 21. Had her first child (me!) at 22 and had 5 more kids over the next 11 years. She was busy for sure! Raising kids is not easy, as I've learned over the last few years. It takes so much patience and self-sacrifice to really nurture kids into well-rounded individuals. I know she mastered those traits very early on in her mothering. This picture is exactly how I remember her...calm, easy-going and ready to love at any moment. She always was the most beautiful person I ever knew. I still think that! I'm sure I felt that way because #1 She IS beautiful and #2 She gave us so much: playtime, bed time stories, home made costumes, homemade treats from scratch, and later on her listening ear was always there when any of us needed it. Mom was and still is the best mother. Even today I know she will drop everything and come running if I need her to help out. I hope to be just like her someday.

I love you Mama. Happy Mother's Day.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

2008 Father and Sons Outing

The annual rite of passage for any LDS boy comes around each springtime with the traditional Father and Son outing. I have great memories of going to the mountains with my dad as a boy, having fun with my brother and friends, listening to my dad tell his famous stories around the campfire, waking up all night listening to my dad snoring next to me, the big pancake breakfast on Saturday morning and always getting thrown in the lake by my dad later that day. Dad doesn't sleep close by anymore, but Trev and Logan make their own "noises" all night long. So the activities haven't changed much from year to year, the only difference is now I bring ear plugs. Here's a few pics from this years outing.

Logan having a jump with some friends...



The big pancake breakfast...

Benny looking like he is getting away with something...


The famous water balloon fight after breakfast (notice the launcher)





Cruising the lake afterwards.




And of course my dad dumping someone in the lake (look at the shorts and legs going over the side on the right)...


Its comforting to know that somethings don't change.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

The Great Goo-gah

Jackson has a slight fascination with his baby blanket. And when I say slight, I mean that in the most sarcastic way possible! He loves that thing. He has named it "Goo-gah". He must have his Goo-gah whenever he sleeps, whenever he plays outside and would like to have it when he eats, but mommy says no.

The Goo-gah is actually a loner blanket from Uncle Samuel. How old is Samuel, you ask? 26 years old, baby. And that's how old this blanket is. Samuel has graciously let us borrow his baby blankie for Jackson to use at his leisure. Unfortunately that blanket has seen a lot of love and it's beginning to show. That thing has been washed so many times that the fabric is almost see through. It is coming apart at the seams so part of the batting is exposed. Let's face it folks, that thing is old and worn. (This is Samuel when he was just about Jackson's age. What a cutie!)

Jackson's obsession goes a little further than just the blankie. He loves that thin worn cotton. He rubs it between his fingers while he sucks the fingers on his other hand. See picture:

Any thin nylon fabric will also appease his fettish - like my underclothes, for example. I cut up a bunch of my old slips for him that I don't wear anymore. He drags those things around till they are brown and nasty and completely unrecognizeable from the white fabric that they once were. And when he cannot find his Goo-gah or his piece of slip fabric he goes straight to mama - because mama always has what he's looking for. He tugs at my shirt hem or just dives his hand down the front of my shirt till he gets his hand on some silkies. He always seems to do this "diving for silkies" at the most opportune moments - like at church or while I'm talking to someone that does not already know about his fettish. There's nothing quite like sitting in sacrament meeting with your son's entire arm down the front of your shirt. Nice.

Well, I think that's quite enough information about Jackson's self-soothing habits. Hopefully he'll be able to look back and enjoy this post when he's older...

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Strawberry Jam


This week for Family Home Evening (FHE) we decided to forgo our lesson and just have a nice family activity - making homemade strawberry freezer jam.

Jeremy grew up with homemade jam and has pushed us to keep this tradition in our family. We love the finished product and eat it year round as we store it in the freezer so it's fresh whenever we are ready for it.

I stopped at a local fruit stand and bought a whole flat of strawberries - they are $15/flat this year. Goodness! But you just can't beat a fresh picked strawberry from the field - they are so juicy and taste like summer!


Here we are prepping the berries. Can you see the 25 pound bag of sugar in the background?

This is the ingredient list. Notice the recipe requires almost twice as much sugar as fruit!


Jackson always loves to help too.



Even Jacob (a cousin) thought it looked like fun and had to get in on the action.


Daddy and Logan did a great job as they gradually stirred in the pectin.
Lizzie's job was to screw all the lids and rings onto the jars.

Daddy has the best steady hand for pouring the sticky jam into the jars.


Our finished product! I counted 22 cups of jam.

Trevor got the point of our "no lesson" FHE. Later last night he said to me,
"Mommy, I know why we didn't have a lesson tonight."
I said, "Why's that, Trevor?"
He said, "So we could have some fun family time together."
Ahhh. We are getting through to these kids after all!
We had just enough strawberries left over to have some strawberry shortcake for dessert. So, I whipped up a white cake mix and let it bake while we finished up canning our jam. FHE was good for the memories and the tastebuds! Mmmm....we love strawberry season!



Thursday, May 1, 2008

I'm starting to get a little lightheaded...

I let down my tough guy vice principal persona at work for a few minutes this morning to have a little fun with helium. Students at my school took the science portion of the California standards test today. As a fun way to pump them up, me and one of our science teachers finished making the morning announcements by introducing what portion of the test they would be taking after taking a deep breathe of helium (me) and sulfur hexa flouride (Chris Fuge). The Sulfer has the opposite effect as the helium as you will see. I asked students later on what they thought and they said they had a tough time understanding me because of the high voice (This is where my brother Matt chimes in and says something like, "sounds normal to me"). The video is poor quality, but you can get the idea.

video

To use the helium well, you have to take a deep breathe, expel all your air, breathe the helium deeply and hold it. I started this process a little early as my principal was not quite ready to hand over the mic and ended up holding the helium a little early and way too long. As a result, my lungs started to hurt and I started to feel a little lightheaded, I can't remember the last time I sucked in helium. Oh well, It was fun while it lasted now back to being the tough guy.