Saturday, December 26, 2009

Sledding Fun

Here's Emma getting ready for the ride down. Denny is at the bottom waiting. The first video is a view from the top, and the second one is a different run with a bottom view. Everybody was commenting about how far and fast she goes. I credit a low center of gravity and friction ratio. She raced a little boy named Jackson and beat him every time. Jackson decided he would have more fun in Emma's sled, and they flew down the hill together. It was cold, but sunny and fun. OK then.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

A Little Christmas Tree Music

Yes, we are moving forward with adding the occasional video to the blog.

Emma had her Christmas program last week, and this is one of the tunes sung by her class. The program went swimmingly, and Emma was the best one on her row. Turn up the sound and enjoy! Ok then.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

It's the Holiday Season

And to prove it, two poses with Santa. The one below was taken at South Towne Mall. We paid a visit to the Hello Kitty store recently (a sacred pilgrimage) and ran into Santa Claus on the way out. Emma had never had her picture taken with him. I try to ignore Santa mostly, but also don't like being completely unsporting, so we shelled out some bucks for a first-time photo. For what we paid I think he should have worn a hat. But he was awfully nice and clasped Emma's hands so sincerely. She was quite taken by him. She asked me if he was the real Santa and I said " There are lots of people who pretend to be Santas in different stores." (What was I gonna say? Yes?) Anyway, how could he be the real Santa without a hat.

Plus, when she goes to the ward Christmas party a week later and meets THIS Santa (appropriately attired in full regulation regalia), would she not perceive the difference and realize that one of them is a fake?

So here are 11 things I like about Christmastime, and 4 things I don't:


1. The Carpenters' Christmas album

2. Collecting Christmas cards and taping them to the wall. I even put up the ugly ones we get from the car dealership and Smedley Financial Services. Also the one we got from Governor Gary Herbert with a picture of him, the missus, and a bunch of grandkids. I think we got it because Joe was a caucus chairman earlier this year. I opened it up, saw the picture and thought, "Who ARE these people?" Anyway, I put it up on the wall. Makes it look like we're personal friends.

3. Little bits of light around the house: Christmas tree...Grandmother's nativity scene with a lightbulb over the manger....Christmas village atop the entertainment center.... I like turning Christmas tree lights on early in the morning when it's still dark and the lights look all furry and blurry.

4. Christmas newsletters. The more details the better.

5. Watching midnight mass (from Rome) late Christmas Eve while wrapping presents.

6. Hanging the wreath on the door. Although our wreath is a little too big for our current front door so I took the glass out of the screen door so the wreath wouldn't get smashed by the main door and now we have a screen door, with nothing in it, tastefully framing our too-big wreath.

7. Chocolate covered cherries. We always got them on Christmas morning, along with bottles of Heinz 57, A-1, and...Worcestershire sauce, I our stockings. Don't know how that tradition got started. Joe always remembers to put a bottle of Heinz 57 in my stocking.

8. Anything sung by Andy Williams.

9. Little spurts of gleeful anticipation that overtake me from time to time. Although I've noticed that the spurts are more plentiful in October-November and kind of taper off the closer we actually get to Christmas.

10. New pajamas on Christmas Eve.

11. Gentle Baby Jesus lullabies.


1. "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree," "Jingle Bell Rock," or any other kind of "rock-y" Christmas song.

2. Also "The Little Drummer Boy." That's one snoozer of a tune. I used to not like "Do You Hear What I Hear," either, which seems to be of the same ilk. But then Joe and I went to a Utah Symphony Christmas concert once and they had these fabulous Broadway-ish singers (a guy and a gal) who sang a "Do You Hear What I Hear" duet, with full orchestral back-up, and it made my neck hair stand on end it was so good, so I've liked it ever since.

3. Joe doesn't like people asking, "Are you ready for Christmas?" (Although I admit to asking this sometimes. It's safe, like the weather. And sometimes I'm curious to know if someone really is ready for Christmas.)

4. Candy canes. Blech.

Sorry to end on a downer, with the cons and all. Christmas!! Ain't it wunnerful!!

May your race to the finish line be glorious.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Let's Have a Pow Wow

It was Native American week at school.

Saturday, October 31, 2009


It’s 8:53 Halloween night. Haven’t had a trick-or-treater for the last 30 minutes. Maybe we won’t get any tall sullen teenagers who show up at 9:00 (not in costume, holding out a pillow case) after all.

We seriously overestimated on the candy. The next person who shows up can have 100 pieces and we’ll still have extra. What to do..what to do…seems a waste to throw it away, but the thought of eating fun-size what-nots for the next three weeks is very depressing.

Emma was a fairy princess, that is, a princess with wings. The wings kept flopping, as a unit, to one side, so it was tricky to get a completely unfurled effect, but the tiara stayed put and the lavender gown was lovely, despite the green long-sleeved shirt underneath (worn for both warmth and modesty). This year she totally “got” Halloween (was mildly amused last year and pert-near apathetic the year before). But Em’s been doing the countdown for a couple weeks, and the last few days have been filled with activities. Trunk-or-treat at church on Thursday (I had never participated in a trunk-or-treat in any way, shape, or form before in my life) and Halloween party at school yesterday.

Emma learned the following song at school (sung to the tune of “Greasy Grimy Gopher Guts”)

“Her face is green and her hair is kind of purplish
Her hair is an awful mess
Ooo, what a creepy dress
The wart on her nose is just what she likes, I guess
‘Cause she’s a Halloween witch – hey hey!”

I am pleased no end that she’s learning these outstanding songs at school! What great words. I had no idea this gem existed until Emma started singing it for me a couple weeks ago.

So tomorrow Daylight Savings ends. I wonder if Emma will wake up at 6:00-ish instead of 7:00-ish. And I wonder what we’ll do with that extra hour on a Sunday morning… I think Sundays are rather tricky to fill up sometimes. Church takes a hunk of time, sure. And then sometimes you have a family dinner or some such in the late afternoon. But the hours between, say, noon and five when you have the 9:00 block? I find them a challenge to fill with meaningful Sabbath-worthy activity, quite frankly.

Here is Emma at school

There needed to be a little wing adjusment

A well adjusted wing

The fairy princess and a pirate friend

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Sandy San Diego

Okay, just a few more San Diego pictures. Emma still pines for sunny southern California and prays often to return to San Diego and Legoland. Glad to know it all made a good impression.

I warned her before the trip that we were going to bury her in the sand and she seemed fine with the idea. In reality she wasn't happy about it, and one millisecond after this photo was taken she busted loose from the sand trap. But it had to be done, you know? Gotta be buried in the sand at the beach.

Couple more surf-frolicking photos.

On the way to Legoland we stopped for a few minutes at the San Diego temple, which springs out suddenly off the freeway as you're driving and takes you by surprise. It's so fairy tale-ish looking.

Emma got her face painted at Legoland. The whole face was twenty bucks; we sprung for half a face.
She zoomed down the big slide a few times.

And she and Baba took a couple rides on the roller coaster. I'm too chicken and queasy to go.

We'll move on to more mundane activities next post.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

A Haiku For You

Denny called my work
Emma hasn't seen the beach
Southwest fly us there

So there we was. We have just returned from four action-packed days in San Diego. Turns out that Emma is a great traveler (much like Gozer I assume). The following will be a "pictorial" of our adventures, along with the appropriate comments where needed.

This was Emma's first reaction to the beach

There is so much sand!

Thursday was dedicated to Legoland. We
were there to open the place up. Turns
out there are 40 million Legos on display.

Here we see a couple on safari.

Emma peering out of Lego Lion

We went to Old Town San Diego one night for
dinner and a little Mariachi music.

We tried a couple of different beaches.

We thought it best to hit this one
when the tide was out.

"Wish they all could be California girls..."

She couldn't believe all you had
to do was pick up the phone, and
a nice lady would bring us some
ice cream with whipped cream
and cherries (plenty of 'em).

Emma was so tired she fell asleep before
take off, and didn't wake up until landing.

It was great to get away, and wonderful to get back. Four days was just about right. Falling asleep one night, Emma reflected, "I'm going to miss this city." Ok then.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

August Appears to Be Over

Just like that. Summer, she's gone. Joe and I used to shop at the Smith's on 9th and 9th and there was a checker there who announced one day, in early September, that "summer's back has been broken." Meaning, I guess, that the really hot days were gone. It sounded kind of gruesome. But Joe and I have used that phrase ever since ("Do you think summer's back has been broken yet?" "I don't know...may have a few more hot ones.")

But you know, it was a pretty mild summer. June was rainy. And did it ever even get over a hunnert in July and August?

So last I checked in, it was Joe's birthday.

The above was taken at Litza's Pizza. I like Litza's. It's very family friendly. You can sit in the way back with a rowdy youngster and not disturb anybody. And we order a child's spaghetti for Emma and she generally gobbles it all up.

A week or so later we went on the ward campout. It's the first time our ward has had a campout so we were happy to get in on the ground floor (inasmuch as we still feel like interlopers much of the time). It was in Scofield, which I'd never heard of. It's past Provo, somewhat farther than we anticipated. It was pretty chilly, but very pleasant anyway. Oh, the smell of fresh, woodsy air. It's a tonic! We chatted with many ward members and felt like we accomplished about six months' worth of getting-to-know-ya in less than 24 hours. How very time efficient. Emma liked staying up late and roasting marshmallows around the communal campfire ("Hoooowwwwl"). She was asleep the second we turned out the lantern in the tent. She woke up the next morning, in the shivery cold uncomfortable camping morning, and moaned, "I want to be home." But once you get up and get some hot chocolate in you, you're glad to be in the mountains again.

Then I got Emma going on some swimming lessons, provided by one Valerie at Dimple Dell Rec Center. Oh my absolute heck, what a jewel this Valerie is! Emma can swim! After three lessons, she could swim. It's been thrilling to observe. I'm keeping her at it, inasmuch as Valerie says Emma catches on very quickly to things. Maybe she can be on swim team! I was a total fraidy cat in the water and probably didn't learn how to swim till I was 7 or 8. Kindly Mr. Carter at the Cove Swimming Pool had to take me under his wing personally and horse whisper me into the deep end. So having a 4-year-old who seems to have a knack for it is kind of a treat. Plus it's such a good total body endeavor for her, which I think she needs.

Em started school on the 17th, Monday Wednesday Friday mornings. She is under the tutelage of Miss Jeri and is learning classic childhood songs ("Good morning to you! Good morning to you! We're all in our places with sunshiny faces!"...I didn't know anyone sang that anymore.) She has also learned "Tommy Thumb is up, Tommy Thumb is down. Tommy Thumb is dancing all around the town. Dancing on my shoulders, dancing on my head, dancing on my knees, then tuck him into bed (kiss kiss)" I told Joe it's worth the admission price just to hear her sing that song.

I like to hear Emma sing. I like how she often misunderstands lyrics ("Blah blah black sheep, henny penny wolf," for example). In "I Love to See the Temple," she used to sing "For the temple is the house of God, a perfect Salt Lake beauty!" I think she now knows the real words, which makes me sad. Although she still does sing, "It is my secret duty!" at the end, which I'm not about to correct.

This past weekend, all of Joe's siblings were in town, which happens less than once in a blue moon, so everybody got together for picture takin'. Nice looking crowd, don't you think? the rate I'm going, I should have another post about October 1, so hope you enjoy the mild September days.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Happy happy birthday, Joey Dear

August 1 means Joey's BD! Wish him a happy one!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Big Birthday Weekend

So Mom turned 80 and I turned 50 (on the same day) and that means roughly 130 combined people years. Yikes. Er, I mean congratulations to us!

The occasion called for a cake (see above) and another cake (see below).

The top cake is the incomparable Costco cake. The cake you take to work the next day because you and yours ate only 25% of it the night before (because everybody has "just a sliver, dear"). The lower cake is from Nothing Bundt Cakes in Sandy, Utah (apparently they only make bundt cakes). This one was from my estimado esposo. The cake part had chocolate chips in it. The flower part had little stickers that said "50" (yeah, rub it in. The frosting's so good I forgive you).

But the big exciting element of the weekend was my sister Julie and her whole family (sans missionary Russell) visiting from Vancouver WA/Seattle/Fullerton CA. And they all stayed with us and we slept on beds/couches/barcoloungers/air mattresses and had great big Joey-produced breakfasts and dinners.

On Saturday we went to southern Utah and the Julie side of the family took a 3-1/2- hour ride through Bryce Canyon, riding mules and horses with names like "Lucky Strike." We met up for dinner in Tropic, Utah (population ~475; my brother-in-law Dennis' grandmother had the first known bathtub in Tropic).

Emma, Uncle Tom, Me, Aunt Julie, a border collie named Max, Jax, Ben, Julia, Chris

Joe, Emma and I camped in nearby Kodachrome Basin (see following 7 photos; it is such pretty country. And Emma is so ding dang cute.)

(She owns the rock)

On Sunday night we had big beautiful birthday bash at Barbie's. I regret we did not get a group shot of all 25 souls present, but so many of them were scampering youngsters it would have proved difficult. But here are the more sedentary types:

Tom-Julie, Joey-Denny, Dennis-Barbie, Mommy-Daddy

Barbie/Julie/Denny sang "You've got us feelin' sentimental, Shirley" (to the tune of "Sentimental Journey") to Mom. And Barbie/Julie/Angie sang "Oh Denny Bug" (aka "Danny Boy") to me. My favorite verse was:

"Oh Denny Bug
The pipes, the pipes were calling
When Emma nearly pulled you off the bench
You never missed a beat as you were falling
And your poor neck 'twas pulled and she did wrench."

(Referring, of course, to the "organ incident").

It was a fine party.

Speaking of organs. On Monday, we went to the organ recital on Temple Square and heard our favorite organist, Richard Elliott, play, among other things, "Danny Boy." As well as a kickin' arrangement of "Ride of the Valkyries." And Ben kept Emma completely entranced with the coloring app on his I-Phone during the whole recital. We love you, Ben and Jax.

It was a great weekend. 50 ain't bad so far.