Saturday, August 16, 2014

The Last Five Years

(Not to be confused with the musical of the same name, which I love, but which I haven't actually listened to in its entirety for the last five years, because after I was married it suddenly became too sad.)

Five years ago yesterday I went from being a bachelor (read: lonely) to being a husband (read: blissfully happy).  Five years is a pretty big milestone, and we have always and often talked about the big plans of funtivities we would do and places we would travel when we reached it, but when the time finally came, we found we had our hands pretty full with this:

So those plans will have to wait a little while.  But, northeastern coast or southwestern coast or right here in the mountains, we're still joyously and quietly celebrating five glorious years of marriage, and just over a year of having added a third most splendid member to our party.  Marriage has been a lot of things so far, some of which I expected, and some of which I never could have anticipated, but all of it, up, down and in between, has been just exactly what I want and need.  This girl of mine is special and she really does make me want to be better in every way.
Ah, so young.  She's just as lovely though (lovelier!).
I'll post again later with more details about the house (that we have purchased -- OoO -- and what a story it is!) and our actual day-of celebration, however minimal and/or subdued it was (what am I saying, we had our first flood!), but for now...
... happy fifth anniversary, Wife!!!  I promise I'll take you to Maine one day, but in the meantime let's just keep emptying boxes and filling closets and stocking shelves and spending money to make this house our home.

Friday, August 8, 2014

July 2014 Races

We did some races last month!  I kept putting off posting about them, but no more.

First, on the 19th we joined in the Pound the Pavement For Parenthood crowd in Orem.  We heard about this race through Groupon or some such, and hadn't ever run it before, but it was fun and a pretty good, level course, and maybe we'll do it again next year.  What cause could be better than helping young couples who are hoping and praying and trying to add a wee young human to their family?  The boys did the 5K, and The Wife decided to go for the 10K this time.  There were quite a few runners for the 5K, but the 10 didn't have quite as many as we expected, and it was hot but not miserable.  I did pretty well at about 23:54 (7:25/mile), not my fastest, but pretty good for pushing a stroller, and it was 3.2 miles too, coming in apparently 2nd overall (they only gave awards for first place, and evidently the guy ahead of me was also pushing a stroller.  Fitting for a family-themed race, eh?), and then I backtracked on the 10K route and we all finished Julie's race together.  Then during the awards they actually gave away several IVF cycles to some lucky raffle-winners, which may or may not have made certain parties cry just a bit.
Then, on Pioneer Day of all days, we went from Temple...
... to Temple!
Mom and Dad joined us for our fun Pioneer Day race.  We were a little late getting started (so we parked farther away, thinking there would be no parking up at the temple, of which there turned out to be plenty...), which was kind of frustrating, since we were at the back of the pack from the very start, which meant that we were basically running into hundreds of street-wide walls of thousands of moseying people the entire time.  Still, we weaved our way through and made it to the end, and I had to get over my racing instinct of trying to go as fast as I possibly could, since it just wasn't going to happen.
Thanks for coming, Mom and Dad!
Baby's a lot bigger than he was at this race last year.
Ahahaha, his first [running] bib.
Yay for summer races!  (Though I always look forward to the fall ones more.)

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Father's Day 2014

I had a grand and great day on my second Father's Day.  I was thinking of writing in voluble fashion all about what it means to me to be a dad, or point out all the delightful things about my boy, or the things I've been learning over the last year about and from my relationship with my son, my own dad, and my Heavenly Father, but I'm not feeling particularly long-winded, so in the end, I'll just say that I'm so glad to be Da-da, and I'm ever so grateful for The Wife for everything she has done to make me one.
Now THAT'S what I call breakfast in bed...

First time on the tramp, one millionth time in my heart. (Oh, so squishy!)
My Father's Day sketchbook contribution (done a few weeks before, also posted on our art blog.)  He has his moments, but I still love that boy so.
Happy belated Father's Day, fathers of the world!

Saturday, May 31, 2014

A Birthday Apiece For My Two Loved Ones

Another year for two!  Last week, as they ever shall, The Wife and The Boy celebrated their birthdays in rapid succession (and don't let's forget The Wife's first official Mother's Day!).  It was fun and delightful and we spread the festivities over several days so as to make the most of them.

Julie made a delicious cake on her day of days, and we put out a general invitation for anyone who wanted to come and take part in it.  We had some friends and family come and help us eat it, and it was definitely delicious (lemon poppyseed with almond frosting, yes, please and thank you very much).  There was some Veronica Marsing throughout the day, and some Coldplaying, and a little bit of Fairy Tale Booking too.  Happy birthday, Wife!  You make [mumbles something that sounds a lot like mid-20s-ish] look mighty fine.
She's a master!

It was so very yes.

I tried to capture this scrunchy face he's been making lately, but it didn't really come across, especially with this neat crayon brush.

And then came this fellow's big day.
(The one on the right.  I'm just there to admire.)
He was actually being squiggly and looking all over the place, The Wife just happened to shoot at the exact right moment.
He likes to fly.
On the day of we just had a little party at home with some strawberry shortcake (luckily he has taken a liking to strawberries again, after a brief period of refusing to eat them, thanks in large part to his mother's patient and repeated and gradual exposure of them to him), and webcamming with his out-of-town family.
Birthday cake!
Birthday bath!

Birthday bash aftermath!
He was having a grand old time, and of course one of his favorite things was the wrapping.
We wondered if he would be old enough to appreciate a toy like this, but we didn't wonder for long.

Then on Saturday we had a party/picnic/playdate at the park planned, but inclement weather forced us to relocate to our little place, which turned out fine, even if a little snug (which is why we planned it for the park in the first place).  There were baby muffins and baby water bottles and THREE kinds of grapes and plenty of strawberries for all.  We all ended up passing around library books that we've been enjoying, and all are enamored with Marla Frazee.
Julie's ingenious party invitation.

Another little muffin cake just for you, baby!

There were a lot of people in close quarters, but the kids enjoyed running around our yard (such as it is), and Bobo definitely was glad to have some company, as well as lots of fun presents (see aftermath photo above).

And then, of course, by the afternoon, the weather was gorgeous and the park was perfect:
Oh well, we had fun anyway!  (Bobo used up all his smiles on the swings.)
So yes, another month (The Wife's great update here), and we're just amazed our little man is a year old.  It feels like it's gone by slowly and also really quickly, but in either case, it's been a grand old time.  People always say these first years are hard and you have to wait and hope to see the light at the end of the tunnel, but seriously, these days have been golden.  He's sweet and funny and sometimes bewilderingly fussy, but for the most part he's such a good boy, and for that we are definitely grateful.  He loves giving wet kisses on any spot of the face, he is very vocal and sometimes just sits there hollering to hear his voice, and he is quite a snugglebuns, especially with his ma.  He (thankfully!) likes the bath again, he's making good headway on his Disney animation education, he finally really loves the pool, he eats heartily and happily, and he's stretching more vertically than he is horizontally, and he has definitely taken his first solo steps.
Definitely feeling Fun and Fancy Free with the Wii games.
It's never to early in life for a little Mary Blair.

Merrily on his way to nowhere in particular.
Mice and magic on an early morning.

Curiouser and curiouser.
He can fly! [X3]

Long night + early morning = Mommy and Lady both catching up on some sleep.

A beautiful day at Thanksgiving Point's Tulip Festival.  Here he scored his first little sunburn.  (It didn't seem to bother him much.)

He often finds his way to this spot.  Mayhap he's trying to tell me something?

Sunday afternoon snuggles.  Oh my beating heart.

The first visit of the season to Seven Peaks and the maiden voyage of the HMS My Baby Float.  Baby did NOT get much sunburned this day.  (But we did...  Baby sunblock doesn't really cut it for we older folks, it seems.)
Ohhhh, these twoooo.
Happy birthday, Wife, and happy first to you, my son!!!  We are ever so happy you came to live with us a whole year ago.
We celebrated through the rest of the week, including Memorial Day, when we went to Seven Peaks, grilled on the long-neglected grill and watched plenty of back-episodes of The Amazing Race.

And then, just because, here's a cake that The Wife made, totally unrelated to any of these activities: 
Remember that scene in Matlida?...

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Blogkeeping -- Fall 2013

Time to clean out the sidebar!  I really should just do this more often instead of waiting until I've posted the latest thing-I've-been-meaning-to-post.  Anyway, these 100 movies were all watched from the end of May 2013 (bottom) to October 2013.

The Addams Family [r] *** 1/2 / The Haunting (1999) [r] *** / The Haunting (1963) [r] *** 1/2 / Edward Scissorhands [r] ***** / Face/Off [r] *** / Hocus Pocus [r] *** 1/2 / Rosemary's Baby *** / Wait Until Dark [r] **** / Project Runway (Season 12) *** 1/2 / Dial M for Murder [r] *** 1/2 /
84 Charing Cross Road *** 1/2 / Paranormal Activity 2 *** 1/2 / Paranormal Activity *** / Shaun of the Dead [r] **** / The Tale of Despereaux [r] ** / Toy Story of Terror *** / Pacific Rim *** / We Own the Night ** 1/2 / Underworld *** 1/2 / Bridesmaids ** 1/2 / Public Enemies ** / Gormenghast (1/4...) * 1/2 / Persuasion (2007) [r] *** 1/2 / Epic *** / The Great Gatsby (2013) *** / Broadchurch (Series 1) *** / Bartok the Magnificent [r] *** 1/2 / Anastasia [r] **** 1/2 / Persuasion (1995) [r] **** 1/2 / World War Z **** / A Tree Grows In Brooklyn *** 1/2 / Heroes of Cosplay (Season 1) ** 1/2 / Reign of Fire *** 1/2 / Now You See Me ** 1/2 / The Incredible Burt Wonderstone ** 1/2 / Star Trek: Into Darkness [r] **** 1/2 / Northanger Abbey (1986) ** / Admission ** 1/2 / Rise of the Guardians *** 1/2 / *batteries not included [r] *** / This Is Spinal Tap ** 1/2 / Northanger Abbey (2004) *** 1/2 / Clueless [r] ***** / Monsters, Inc. [r] **** 1/2 / Monsters University *** 1/2 / Richard M. Sherman and Alan Menken: The Disney Songbook *** 1/2 / People Like Us ** 1/2 / The Lady Vanishes (2013) *** 1/2 / Holes [r] **** 1/2 / Taken 2 ** 1/2 / The Host ** / Beautiful Creatures ** 1/2 / Crash [r] ***** / The Outsiders *** / Emma (2009) [r] **** / Independence Day (sort of) [r] ** / V For Vendetta ** / Somewhere In Time [r] *** 1/2 / Emma (1996) [r] ***** / Jack the Giant Slayer * 1/2 / Warm Bodes *** 1/2 / The Queen of Versailles *** 1/2 / Black Swan ** 1/2 / Mansfield Park (2007) *** 1/2 / Blazing Saddles ** 1/2 / Pushing Daisies (Season 2) **** / The Slipper and the Rose [r] *** / Les Misérables (2012) [r] *** / Pitch Perfect *** 1/2 / Raggedy Ann & Andy: A Musical Adventure [r] ** / Pushing Daisies (Season 1) **** 1/2 / Mansfield Park (1999) [r] *** 1/2 / The 10th Kingdom [r] *** / One For the Money * 1/2 / Pollyanna [r] **** 1/2 / Alias (Season 5) ** 1/2 / Because of Winn-Dixie *** 1/2 / Man of Steel *** 1/2 / Alias (Season 4) *** 1/2 / Alias (Season 3) **** / Alias (Season 2) **** 1/2 / The Avengers [r] *** / Alias (Season 1) **** / The Great Gatsby (2000) *** / God's Army [r] **** / The Great Gatsby (1974) [r] ** 1/2 / Pride & Prejudice (1995) [r] ***** / Our Mutual Friend **** / The Green Mile [r] **** 1/2 / Fargo *** 1/2 / Fiddler On the Roof [r] **** 1/2 / Pride & Prejudice (2003) [r] **** / Smash (Season 2) *** 1/2 / Atonement **** / Pride & Prejudice (2005) [r] *** 1/2 / The Bletchley Circle (sort of) *** 1/2 / Hawaii Five-0 (Season 3) ** 1/2 / Bates Motel (Season1) **** 1/2 / Grimm (Season 2) *** 1/2 / Jack Reacher ***

And these are the 50 books I read from October 2013 to January 2014.

The Art of Frozen (Charles Solomon) **** / The Chronicles of Narnia: The Last Battle (C.S. Lewis) ***** / The Chronicles of Narnia: The Magician's Newphew (C.S. Lewis) ***** / The Chronicles of Narnia: The Horse and His Boy (C.S. Lewis) **** / The Chronicles of Narnia: The Silver Chair (C.S. Lewis) ***** / The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (C.S. Lewis) **** 1/2 / The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian (C.S. Lewis) **** / The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (C.S. Lewis) ***** / Foodie Babies Wear Bibs (Michelle Sinclair Colman) ** / A Christmas Carol: A BabyLit Colors Primer (Jennifer Adams) ***** /  How To Cheat In Photoshop CS4: The Art of Creating Realistic Photomontages (Steve Caplin) *** / Cry, the Beloved Country (Alan Paton) **** / Belles On Their Toes (Frank B. Gilbreth Jr. and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey) **** / Cheaper By the Dozen (Frank B. Gilbreth Jr. and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey) *** 1/2 / We Belong Together (Joyce Wan) ***** / The Dead Bird (Margaret Wise Brown) ** / Anna Karenina: A BabyLit Fashion Primer (Jennifer Adams) **** / The Magician's Elephant (Kate DiCamillo) **** 1/2 / The One and Only Ivan (Katherine Applegate) *** / Not a Box (Antoinette Portis) ***** /  The Dollhouse Asylum (Mary Gray) * / Hamsters Holding Hands (Kass Reich) **** / All the Wrong Questions: When Did You See Her Last? (Lemony Snicket) **** / Jabberwocky: A BabyLit Nonsense Primer (Jennifer Adams) *** / Sherlock Holmes in the Hound of the Baskervilles: A BabyLit Sounds Primer (Jennifer Adams) **** / The Vanishing Game (Kate Kae Myers) **** / The Haunting of Hill House (Shirley Jackson) **** / Cozy Classics: War and Peace (Jack Wang) ***** / Cozy Classics: Pride and Prejudice (Jack Wang) ***** / On the Day I Died: Stories From the Grave (Candace Fleming) ***** /  Good Night, Gorilla (Peggy Rathmann) ***** / The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry and the Big Hungry Bear (Don and Audrey Wood) ***** / The 13th Floor: A Ghost Story (Sid Fleischman) *** / The Conductor (Laëtitia Devernay) ** / Moby Dick: A BabyLit Ocen Primer (Jennifer Adams) ***** / The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane (Kate DiCamillo) ***** / Doll Bones (Holly Black) ** / Wuthering Heights: A BabyLit Weather Primer (Jennifer Adams) *** / Jane Eyre: A BabyLit Counting Primer (Jennifer Adams) ***** / Anya's Ghost (Vera Brosgol) **** /  The Worthy: A Ghost's Story (Will Clarke) ** / Les Petits Fairytales: Rapunzel (Trixie Belle) ** / Let Petits Fairytales: Beauty and the Beast (Trixie Belle) ** / Les Petits Fairytales: The Little Mermaid (Trixie Belle) ** / Midnight In Austenland (Shannon Hale) *** 1/2 / Austenland (Shannon Hale) *** / The Tale of Despereaux (Kate DiCamillo) ***** / The Ocean At the End of the Lane (Neil Gaiman) **** / Little Miss Austen -- Sense & Sensibility: A BabyLit Opposites Primer (Jennifer Adams) ***** / Little Miss Austen -- Pride & Prejudice: A BabyLit Counting Primer (Jennifer Adams) *****

And that's all for now!  I'm pretty sure I'm ready for another one of these right away, so it won't be long before I do another one.  Whew.

Friday, April 25, 2014

11 Months

This boy has joined me at palindrome level, just one month shy of a year.  The Wife posted a great update here, but here's a quick little post here too.

Our little man is doing great.  He's smiley and mischievous and learning what to do and what not to do, and when to do or not do it.  He's liking a lot of good foods and loves getting around.  He makes funny noises and blows raspberries and says random word-like things.  His flaky scalp is thankfully and blessedly a thing of the past, but now we're working on a perpetually chapped chin (which evidently itches in the night...).  He loves his mommy especially, but he's always glad to see me when I come down from work.
Making our way through the Disney animated canon!  This is from Saludos Amigos.
The Three Caballeros!  This is a perfect time for no pants.
Hey, the boy has to be indoctrinated at some point or other, doesn't he?  Time for a jaunty hat to fit in with Johnnie Fedora and Alice Bluebonnet (in Make Mine Music).
Bobo really is a good baby, and although he has his moments, we're looking forward to his first birthday with great anticipation.  He's more active and curious than ever, and he's been great for babysitters and with visits to family and especially his little-like-him cousins.
We found a fun park nearby with swings, and he wasn't sure about the whole idea...
And then suddenly he was sure.  (See?  He's occasionally unhappy.  We have to document it sometime or other.)
We love you, son!!!  You are a delight to behold for all among your acquaintance (and even, I'm sure, those outside of it).

Monday, March 31, 2014

33 and Ten Months

A couple of weeks ago The Boy and I each reached a couple of milestones, so I thought I would just blog about them at once.

I turned 33!  My age is a palindrome for the first time in 11 years (can something be a palindrome when it's only two characters?...  Or when it's numbers, for that matter?  I'm going to say yes and yes).  First I was so excited that my dearest youngest sister and BFF and her two tots came to visit from back east, just in time for my birthday of all days!
Together again!  The older sister had by now found the toys in the kids' loft upstairs
Second, we thought it would be fun to throw a friend party this year (hopefully to make up for last year...), and it turned out so great!  My birthday was on Sunday, and there was a ward talent show on Saturday, so we had it a couple days prior to the actual day.  Julie made a fantastic Boston cream pie/cake (and yes, it was a total coincidence that this party fell on Pi Day), and a lot of fun friends and family came to share it with us.  We should have parties when Elise is in town more often!  HA.  Julie made the actual day very special, with surpreezes throughout the day.  I was glad to add Catching Fire to our DVD collection, and also Frozen a few days later.  I remember growing up that Disney movies often were released around my birthday, which was just the best thing ever.  I hadn't seen Frozen since we saw it in the theater (no, I didn't want to watch it online... the anticipation of the home video release was always one of the most exciting things about a Disney movie!), and we also a few days later saw the latest (brilliant) Muppet movie, which I call a continuation of the celebration.
It was delish, and not a single piece survived the night.

Penneh was really excited about the cake.
Later The Wife made one of her specialty gourmet Oreo cakes.  No one can make one like she can!
The next morning Mom and Elise joined us for a fun 5K in Vineyard, which we did last year, though this year's experience was quite different...  Not only was it a little more expensive and the course completely new, but we were all hampered by the FREEZING wind.  It basically was trying to knock us over the entire time.  Would it be too much to hope that the wind might at least SOMEtimes be pushing your back rather than against your front?  But it never really seemed to.  We all did all right (I came in at about 22:30, about a 7:04 mile, though it was a little more than a 5K at 3.18m... why is it so hard for races to be accurate distance?  Also, why is my racing pace so much faster than my daily run pace?  I mean, I can think of a few reasons, but still), especially when we realized that Julie and I hadn't run a 5K since last summer.  It was also exciting to have an opportunity to use my brand new LockLaces!  Never tying my shoelaces again?!?  YES PLEASE.  The Wife comes up with the cleverest ideas for presents.  Dad's recovering from a little injury, so he was good enough to watch the little ones, safe and warm in the car.  Then, of course, the next day we had a big family Sunday afternoon gathering with foods and treats and St. Patrick's Day/birthday fun for me and Penny and Jonny.
Note the flags and Penny's hair.  It was ever so windy.
Matching shirts from Mommy/Wife!
And then, just a few days later, The Boy reached the double digits!  (The Wife's update post coming soon.)  He's doing so great and growing so fast.  He's crawling and cruising all over the place, is a pro at going up and down the stairs, and is probably days away from walking (!!!).  We're working on clapping and waving (the first is coming along, and the second is taking a little longer, but coming too... we realized that since I work from home we hardly have any opportunities to wave bye-bye, so we're trying to remember to make a point of it whenever I go upstairs to work or whenever either of us goes anywhere for any significant amount of time).  He babbles and blows spit bubbles and sticks out his tongue and is starting to say sort of words, and he's very quiet and attentive and observant when we drive in the car.  He's much better around new people and places, though he definitely still loves to cling to his parents, especially his mommy.  He loves bananas, avocados and bread, and uses his four adorably spaced teeth (and counting) to great effect, though he's taken to grinding his little chompers, which makes a most alarming sound and which we try to prevent from happening.  He often spreads his arms high and wide as if he's just done the most amazing trick ever, and for the most part he's sleeping better than ever, which is a huge blessing that never goes unrealized or unappreciated by us.  Our place seems to be getting smaller and smaller as The Boy gets bigger and bigger, but we make it work all right.
Oh my adorable peeps.
We've been making our way through the Disney movies.  They don't usually hold Bobo's interest for very long.  But look!  They're making the same face and pose!  Lawlawlawl.
And here we see 1) his interest not being held for very long, 2) his love for the stairs around the corner, and 3) another pose similar to Bambi's!  Lawlawlawl again!
His hospital cap is definitely starting to reach its limit.

Oh, that face.  Also, note the most historically inaccurate Noah's ark toy ever.

It's blurry, but that's kind of what happens these days.  Also, note one of his favorite toys (you can play with it, but you can't eat it!).
He loves reading, which makes us ever so glad.  He really likes turning the pages and closing it at the end.
Just two more months until you reach a year, my son!  That is just crazy, but also awesome.  We can't wait to see what surprises this little man has in store for us.