Friday, July 29, 2011

Little H turns TWO!

Our little H is no longer very little. While we were in California, he had his second birthday. We celebrated with a memory game of pictures of H over his 2 very eventful years of life and with the balloon-around-the ankle, try-to-pop-everyone-else's balloon game. I don't think the people renting the downstairs of the beach house appreciated the latter game, but oh well. We also had presents, of course, and cake. H was very much looking forward to blowing out his candles and to the singing of Happy Birthday. We practiced a lot at home because he loved it so much. On the actual day, though, he seemed more overwhelmed by the number of people present to wish him a happy birthday. Since he is still highly allergic to eggs, I bought him 2 vegan red velvet cupcakes from Sprinkles while the rest of us ate massive amounts of the 9-pound Costco cake. H rejected the cupcakes and instead kept sticking his finger and spoon in the frosting of the Costco cake.

Here are some of the reasons why we are so so glad that H joined our family just over 2 years ago:
* His hugs and kisses. He often grabs my legs and says, "Up, peez" and only wants to give me a hug and kiss. He also thinks it's hilarious to kiss people's collarbones.
* His copycatting. H is a little parrot these days, and you know what they say: imitation is the more sincere form of flattery, right?
* His comic relief. H is a jokester and a tease. It's fun to see his personality come out. He also has some hilarious dance moves, and in H's book, any words or random sounds can be sung to the tune of the alphabet song. He also named his favorite blanket "Caffrun."
* His "help". He insists on helping vacuum, sweep, bake (a dangerous endeavor for an egg-allergic kid), and pick up.
* His expressions: "Um," "Yep," "Nope," "Yikes," "Yeah,"

A few random things about H to record for the future:
favorite foods: pasta, grapes, raisins, chocolate chips, fruit snacks
favorite songs: Bingo, She'll Be Comin' Round the Mountain, Wheels on the Bus
favorite TV show: he won't watch them, but he loooves Elmo. And in the car, he likes our only DVD of Barney (heaven help us all)
favorite toys: bikes and scooters but when we have to be indoor, like the present time, his favorites are the plastic animals, playdoh, trains (a new favorite), his plastic golf clubs, and games--Bingo, Hullaballoo, and Cariboo

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Our California Vacation

Warning: This post contains more pictures than you ever wanted to see unless you are one of my children, who are completely enthralled with their own image on the computer screen.

We had such a nice vacation (if you don't count the first night when H was up from 2-4:30 in the middle of the night, crying, "Mom bed! Mom bed!" and then when Sweetie was crying because, after shuffling around the sleeping arrangements, H was trying to kick her out of the bed that he, she, and I were sharing. He eventually won. She cried some more when we moved her to the floor.) But I'm not counting that night.

For the first half, we vacationed with just our little family in Carlsbad and San Diego. We stayed in the Hilton Garden Inn on Carlsbad Beach, and we loved it! Everything from their swimming pool (with complimentary otter pops) to the nightly cookies at the front desk to the beach location, to the shuttle to take us to the better beach 2 miles down, to the fireplace in the gardens, to the comfy beds and blackout curtains that helped us all sleep to a record 9:30 the morning after the "Mom bed!" fiasco,to the in-room fridge and microwave so we could save money and eat breakfasts/lunches in the room or in the gardens, and to the family movies overlooking the beach (they provided the blankets and popcorn).

We had plenty of beach time. We also ate good seafood and Mexican food in Old Town San Diego. We rented bikes and biked around Coronado Island. We tried to go tidepooling but Point Loma was closed (boo!). And we spent a day at Sea World, along with what seemed like everyone else in Carlsbad.

For the second half of the trip, we made our way up to Newport Beach and joined the rest of the extended P family in a beach house. The kids absolutely loved hanging out with their cousins. We took a quick break from the beach to visit Grandma Shirley at a park. We had a great time and are so grateful for good in-laws/parents who did so much work to make the vacation relaxing and fun. It was good to reconnect with family.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Deep Thoughts Hijacked by Silly Memories

Since today is Pioneer Day, I've been thinking about the summer between my 2 years of grad school at BYU. I spent that summer living in Salt Lake City and working at the Church Office Building for the Liahona magazine as an editorial intern. That summer (1997) also happened to be the 150th anniversary of the pioneers' entrance into the Salt Lake Valley, so the magazine was flooded with pioneer-this and pioneer-that. After a few months, I never wanted to hear about the pioneers again.

However, after a few months, I knew I also would never hear about the pioneers with the same mindset again. Since the Liahona is the Church's international magazine, I read countless stories of people acting as pioneers in their own countries and in their own families, with little support and with many miles to travel in difficult circumstances in order to gather with other Saints or simply to get a temple recommend, not to mention actually attending the temple. The stories touched me deeply and I kept a number of my favorites that we published.

So tonight I dug out my 3-subject notebook that served as my journal during that summer--back when I used to write almost every day (imagine!). I wanted to read by deep thoughts about the work I'd been involved in that summer. I wanted to see if the memories I had about the stories and their impact on me matched up with what I'd written about my time working on these articles. Imagine my surprise when I realized that, lo, and behold, I had no such deep thoughts that summer. Instead, I wrote a lot about the fabulous thunderstorms from the front-row seat of my apartment balcony (which makes my previous post kind of ironic--have I not changed? Still writing about thunderstorms), I recorded my silly romantic daydreams and I tried (or thought I was trying) to get over a certain boy (by writing about him? hmmmm), I wrote about how hard it is to write while downing Haagen Daz sorbet, I recorded treasured memories with my brother and wondered if he would be the same when he got back from the mission he left on that summer, and I wrote about my growing relationship with the city I was living in and the roommates I was living with. But mostly, I wrote about boys and heartbreak and the lack of boys and the unknown future.

I guess it doesn't surprise me that I left the deep thoughts in the Church Office building instead of bringing them home to my journal--after a day of pioneers, I was ready to change the subject. And I guess I'm glad (kind of) that I recorded what I did, even though much of my writing seems overly dramatic and silly to me now. On the other hand, I suppose heartbreak is always dramatic to the person whose heart has been broken. I do wish, though, that my journal showed a little more depth. (Did I not have depth as a 21-year-old?!) In any case, my deep thoughts today, like my supposed deep thoughts 14 years ago, were hijacked by drama, romance, and, of course, the lightning.

Change is in the air.

We opted for a family movie tonight instead of family game night, so we ended a little later than usual and J turned off the outside lights and then called for us to come outside. The air was warm, but not hot, and a little breezy, and the night sky was alive with flashes of lightning, some in sharp zags and others in cloud-lit bursts (photo courtesy of I could smell the rain in the air.

The monsoons aren't the only changes upon us. We're back from our week in California and at dinner time the kids counted down the days (with dread!) until school starts again: 16. When they said that, I felt the pit in my stomach. Really? The end of summer vacation? It can't be. Every once and a while, I wake up to the fact that the accumulation of every average, ordinary day equals time past that I can't get back. Another summer vacation gone. It's going to take me all 16 days we have left to get used to the idea.

Friday, July 15, 2011


Even though I haven't posted much the past few weeks, I have been looking at my blog. I've been trying to finish uploading and making my blog from 2008-2010 into 3 separate blurb books before my groupons expired. I made the deadline by an hour and a half, but it was a lot of work. Reading back over the past 3 years of posts, though, made me nostalgic and renewed my determination to keep blogging (even if I used to get around 10-15 comments and now I get 0!) I don't have a good long-term memory and I easily forget what we did and how I felt. As I read over my posts, I felt a deep sense of contentment and gratitude for the family I have, the life I live, the opportunities that have been mine.

As I've been a slave to blurb, the kids have been fighting, reading, practicing the piano, playing the Wii, eating popsicles, swimming, playing with friends, building forts, making glow-in-the-dark bugs, going bowling, playing play doh, etc. etc.
We've also been getting ready for our San Diego trip by learning about some of the animals we'll see at Sea World. Here's the kids with their penguins, which we made to show about countershading, and their shortening finger/blubber experiments.

The million-dollar boy

H is our million-dollar boy in 2 ways: first, by the time he reaches age 10, I predict that the things he will have broken or destroyed will total a million dollars. That counts the pickle relish he dumped all over the floor and the cost of the acrylic paint, the clothes, and the carpet that he ruined when he decided that the office needed a little more "raw sienna" to liven it up. (Both of those events occurred yesterday.) Second, he is our million-dollar boy because I fully expect him to pay me back one day when he makes it big. You know, one day when the characteristics of determination, drive, curiosity, and aggressiveness will create award-winning sports plays or big gains in business/industry rather than creating big messes.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

4th of July Festivities

Despite my vows not to stay in the desert another year for the 4th, here we were. Luckily, fireworks were legal this year, so we had the "cul de sac of fire," thanks to J, aka Crazy Pyromaniac.

We also celebrated the 4th with a huge breakfast, followed by some patriotic youtube videos and a matinee showing of Cars. We then went swimming all afternoon and had a fabulous rib dinner, courtesy of family. Despite the heat, it was a very fun day, and I am grateful for the freedom I have to decide what I want to do with my life.

The diving board fun: Sweetie did cartwheels and a front flip, Mister a twisting front flip, and H had to get in on the action too. That kid is fearless.