Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Day of Christmas 2013

Christmas Day!  I love Christmas Day.  Even when The Boy chooses the night before to be basically the first time ever that he didn't want to sleep through the night (I guess he eventually DID sleep, just not in the crib like he has been all week, only in his moste excellente mother's arms, since I was trying to sleep off a little cold... yeah, no).  So, for those who weren't one of the lucky recipients of the few Christmas cards we sent out this year, here's the digital version:
NBD, just a little something my sister shot of us one day, we always look this naturally coordinated and adorable (especially Bobo OH BABY SO PHOTOGENIC).

Happy Christmas, everyone, and as Tiny Tim observed, God bless us, Every One!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Anuual Christmas Eve Journal Write (Incorporating Seven Months)

I just realized I skipped the ACEJW last Christmas Eve... Oh well.

Here we are visiting The Wife's family in Missouri and having a wonderful time!  It gets more and more interesting as the years go by and more and more little ones appear and grow up.  It's been so great for Bobo to finally meet his cousins and uncle and aunts on this side for the first time, and he's quite taken to them.  A few days ago he reached seven months, which seems to me a perfect time to have your first Christmas.  He's ever so usually happy and laughing and this close to crawling (and he can definitely get around regardless).  He's starting to actually keep his real foods in his mouth instead of immediately dribbling them out, and he's starting to recognize the sound of his name and respond accordingly.  He's a sweet and funny and well-mannered and (mostly) great-sleeping boy and is finally just about over his stranger-danger phase, which means that he responds quite adorably when we take him out and about.  I will say that we were dreading the flight over here off and on for the last few months, but it turned out to be a HUGE success, as he hardly made a peep for both legs of the trip (except for pleasant peeps), and was a big charmer to all the ladies.  The flight attendants and passengers all around us thought he was just the bee's knees.  (I'm quite aware that this perfect traveling behavior probably won't last forever, but while it lasts I'LL TAKE IT!!!)
Mah two peeps.  He LOVES being on shoulders, it's all he needs for this face to happen.
 As for Christmas Eve and all that goes along with it, things have definitely been a little different with a little one, but it's even more exciting than usual (and it has never really stopped being exciting for me).  I've been re-reading The Chronicles of Narnia, we've been having many shenanigans with tiny cousins, playing a lot of Just Dance and watching a lot of Tinker Bell (and abusing a lot of The Hobbit) and eating a lot of delicious food.  After three Christmas music programs (on the same day) in our own ward/stake last week, I was glad to participate in the Rolla ward's program too after we arrived, as well as Marissa's baptism later that day.  All in all, there's been a whole lot going on and it's been most festive and delightful.  It's always crazy to realize how quickly Christmas has actually sneaked up on you, but it invariably does.

Playing all the old Christmas duets!  He has a little way to go before he can play his part all by himself.
But he still looks ever so cute when he plays anyway!
As another point of interest, although it's always good to spend Christmas with The Wife's family, I of course occasionally miss my own blood kin, but luckily everyone was able to get together before we left Utah, including my two out-of-towner sisters (when I finally had the chance to meet little Link!  Bobo's new favorite cousin, boy-cousins of the same age always share a special bond).  And, even more luckily, this was able to happen:
The recreate-an-old-family-photo Thing has been going around now, and this seemed like the perfect shot for us to use to join in on the fun.  I'm a little amazed at how it turned out exactly as I thought it would when we were talking about it.
Anywho, this is definitely not my most eloquent blogpost ever, but there's been a lot going on and I've actually been getting over a little nasal fogginess, so I'll just call it quits on here for now.  Blessed was the day the little baby Jesus was born over 2000 years ago, and blessed also was the day the little baby Bobo was born over seven months ago.
He loves his Christmas jammies, Nana!  (Please disregard my hat hair.)

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Day of Thanksgiving 2013

Before we get TOO far into the Christmas swing of things (Christmas!!!! XD XD XD), I wanted to post a little about Bobo's first Thanksgiving (Julie posted a little of her own Thanksgiving thoughts here).  I would have liked to post this earlier, but Thanksgiving was so late this year, so a third of the way into December is just when it happens.

It started out with the most casual "race" I've ever run, boasting a total of over a DOZEN runners!  (There were about ten by the end, when some peeled off before the course had quite ended.)  My sister who has organizes it for several years now decided to take the casual route this year, which is just fine!  I just had to make sure to get the course right or I would lead myself astray.  Regardless of the relatively sparse turnout, I take my victories when and where they come, so I was glad to win not only first in my division, but first overall!  Not to mention one of only two men running.  Though I guess if you think about it, the little fellow I was pushing ahead of me in the stroller actually came in first.  I'm glad to come in second so he can take the title.
We finished 4m at about 33:15 if I recall. Not too bad for a stroller run.
Here's a closer look at bundled-up Bobo because he's just that cute.
And then Nora showed up and was matching!  This is not the first time this has happened.

And then at some point we just plopped one baby atop the other, and they both obviously loved that.  One day when they're all grown up they'll have to recreate this one.
What a turnout!  A fun time was had by all, and there were plenty of muffins to go around.
We didn't actually take any pictures of the Thanksgiving dinner and festivities at Mom's house, but rest assured that despite photographic evidence, great food and a fun time were had by all, The Wife's green beans and sweet potatoes were a hit as ever, and the girls won the boys vs. girls puzzle race FAIR AND SQUARE.*  Some people wondered why I kept going after we lost, but seriously, leave a puzzle unfinished, and so close to being done??  I don't think so.

4 January EDIT:  Photographic evidence!  Pictures yoinked courtesy of Cami's blog (and also remembering that I actually did take a few more at the race):
Din!  Julie's sweet potatoes are prominently featured here.  I think she's looking over to see what Bobo's up to.
And here we have a nice view of the green beans, and also of The Wife.
Jane discovered that she liked jumping on me, and then proceeded to do so, usually with a running start from down the end of the hall.  It was best when I was prepared for her arrival.  Now that I think of it, her mom used to do something similar to me when we were teenagers and I happened to flop uponst the couch.  Todd is... doing something.
Thanksgiving P.S.  We did venture out around 9 am on Black Friday, where we discovered that pretty much everything had been sold the night before, which is immensely stupid.  It's like people who actually wait until Black Friday to go Black Friday shopping are being punished for not spending Thanksgiving doing Christmas shopping.  Harrumph!  At least Target had a few DVDs that interested us and we picked up for nice and cheap.

As for the rest of things, Bobo didn't get to eat much by way of Thanksgiving dinner, but he HAS started to sample some foods here and there, including this incident of him "eating" some sweet potato:

There was definitely more on his person than in his mouth or his tummy by the end, but had had a taste and he's starting to get the hang of it, and even when he plays with it or spits it out all over his bib he's getting the idea (not to mention creating some of his very first works of art).

Last year I was this close to posting "I'm thankful for my little family." on Facebook, and I even DID post it, but then The Wife and I decided that, although just two people DO still make a family, it might get some people speculating, and we weren't quite ready to announce the imminent arrival of The Speck.  This year I came full circle by finally posting the long-lost status update, and it's as true now as it ever was last year, and even more so.

*  Okay, one of their puzzlers had worked on the puzzle before, but still, it was hard enough that that wouldn't necessarily give them a huge advantage.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Six Months and Various Moviegoing Methods

Six months old!  A whole half a year!  The Wife has written a great update post here.
SERiously, this child...
He tries to get around a lot more than he used to... This is how he usually ends up in the bouncy seat.

His newborn cap doesn't quite fit like it used to anymore.
To commemorate half a year, The Wife made half a cake.  It was DELICIOUS.  Bobo didn't get any.

And now, for something else, somewhat related:

Anyone who knows me and The Wife knows that we really like movies.  We went to see a lot of movies before this little Bobo came along.  Naturally, we knew that we wouldn't be able to often go see movies in the theater like we used to (and really, Redbox is a perfectly good option for many, even most movies that come out these days), but since May there have been a few movies that we really wanted to see, or wanted to see enough to try out a few methods, with varying results.

Man of Steel (29 June) -- The Take-the-Newborn-Along-and-Hope-For-the-Best Method

For this one we purposely waited until the movie had been out for several weeks, picked the most obscure matinee time possible, and sat in the most out of the way seats we could imagine, complete with emergency exit plan.  It turned out to be pretty successful, only a couple of 5-week-old baby squawks here and there, and he even nursed and/or slept through most of the movie, even when the second half was like an hour-long extremely loud and neverending video game (and then he a major diaper fill during the brooding, emotional conversation at the end, of course).  Still, though he was pretty good (and one guy in front of us kept glancing at us even when we were deathly silent... I had a few ideas of what to say to him if he confronted us after), we heaved a pretty big sigh of relief after.

Mini movie review:  Superman was a little too angsty for me -- I don't love it when superhero movies take themselves so seriously, but it was okay.  (But wouldn't you be angsty if you had two Robin Hoods for dads?)  Again, the action in the last half was ridiculous.

Monsters University (21 August) -- The Take-the-Three-Month-Old-To-a-Kids'-Matinee Method

This one was less of a gamble since it was at the cheap theater a good two months after it had been released, and also the other moviegoers would be a lot closer to his age.  He slept for a lot of it and when he did make little baby noises it just added to some of the other noises in the theater.  Another great success!

Mini movie review:  It was funny and Pixarish, but it was missing a lot of things that made Monsters, Inc. the masterpiece that it is.  I just don't know that this story needed a second installment.

Ender's Game (8 November) -- The Go-While-the-Wife-Stays-At-Home-With-the-Baby Method

Some friends invited us to see this, and The Wife hadn't finished reading it yet, and was really in NO hurry to see it anytime right away, so she fully supported me going solo and seeing it with our friends, with whom we ALL went to dinner beforehand, and who also came over after to visit.  This method naturally worked pretty well, though Julie still hasn't seen it yet (or finished the book yet...).

Mini movie review:  I actually really liked it!  I don't know why I expected not to.  One of those decades-long hype kinds of things, I guess.  I thought Ender was too old and I didn't love Valentine (and Bonzo was cartoonishly puny), but the battle room was pretty awesome and I liked it overall.  I will be glad to see this again when Julie gets around to finishing the book, ha ha.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (22 November) -- The We-Can't-Possibly-Wait-Past-Opening-Night-So-We-Hired-a-Babysitter Method

Yeah, we weren't going to try to take a six-month-old to this one on opening night, and we certainly didn't want to wait, so we hired my sister's oldest girl to watch him!  He's had a couple of experiences with babysitters, and he IS getting better with stranger danger, and we planned to go after bedtime to minimize Katy's responsibilities and having to deal with a possibly frantic baby an hour after putting him down (which he had started to do the week or so before for some reason...).  We worried whether or not everything were going all right, but Katy was very confident and we had good company, and eventually we just trusted that no news was good news and all was fine, and when we came home learned that he did wake up, but she managed to calm him down and get him back to sleep.  Hurrah!!!  We shall use this method again (that means you, Mr. Baggins).

Mini movie review:  Um, yes.  I liked it a lot.  I haven't read the books in several years, so a lot of things were totally new to me and I couldn't remember them happening at all, so it was pretty exciting.  The only problem is that I wanted the last one to start immediately after (and also just be one movie instead of split into two).

Thor: The Dark World (23 November) -- The Go-In-Shifts Method

This was probably our most experimental concept.  The idea is that one goes to a matinee while the other stays home with the baby, and then they come home and swap places.  It worked out all right, except that we had some scheduling and timing issues so Julie wasn't able to see it until a few days after I did.  It's not ideal, but it worked, and can be a good way to fill a Saturday afternoon in a pinch.  Still, it's more fun to see movies together (I used to go to movies alone now and then, and didn't really mind, but now all I can do the whole time is think of how Julie would respond and things I would whisper to her during the previews or the movie).  Again, not the best method, but it was an interesting experiment.

Mini movie review:  I thought the first Thor was okay until I saw it a second time, when I realized it's kind of silly.  I liked the second one a lot better, though it still had too much Loki.  Loki is laaaaaame.  My favorite parts were every time he was pwned.  Captain America, please.

Frozen (27 November) -- The Maybe-He's-Old-Enough-To-Be-Quietly-Amused-Or-Perhaps-Nap-Through-An-Opening-Day-Matinee-For-An-Animated-Movie-I-Can't-Really-Wait-For Method

This was probably one of our biggest risks.  It's generally hard for me to wait even one day to see the latest from Disney Animation (except for Wreck-It-Ralph, which for reasons I had no problem waiting several months to see...).  The Boy doesn't watch much TV, but when he does he's pretty mesmerized, so we thought it was worth a try to take him to an animated movie where there would surely be other kids present.  We also planned it to be around naptime and picked seats (reserved seats FTW, by the way, but fees for online ticket buying FTL) immediately adjacent to the exit just in case, ready to take him into the stairwell or the hallway as needed.  As predicted, he WAS mesmerized by the trailers and opening scenes, and then, as hoped for, he did actually fall asleep on an off for about an hour, and hardly made a peep the entire rest of the time.  This method might not work as he gets older and noisier and wigglier, but who knows, maybe he'll inherit his daddy's love of animation and Disney and be perfectly glad to sit quietly through them in the future too.

Mini movie review:  For some reasons I was worried this wouldn't be as good as I thought it should be, but I was actually pretty into it, and left wanting to see it again right away, which just doesn't happen that often anymore.  I still and I'm sure forever will wish it were 2D animated like it was originally going to be, but it was very beautiful an vibrant and exciting and a musical (I haven't been able to get the soundtrack out of my head for days... though I still would love to have heard what Alan Menken would have done with that score), and the real star is definitely Anna, as you can see.  I used to devour everything about a new Disney movie before seeing it, including the music, but I've become a little more spoiler-wary in later years, which makes the first viewing experience pretty fun.  There were quite a few surprises along the way.  Olaf still hasn't won me over, but he wasn't as annoying as I feared.

So that's how that's been going for the first six months.  We didn't want to have to hire a sitter EVERY time we go see something, if he can possibly go with us, which for a while he on occasion has been able to.  Even when he's good in movies we're still pretty relieved when it's over (we certainly don't want to be Those Parents, and we clearly take precautions to avoid being such), and while we but it's nice to know there are options and we can still do this thing we enjoy doing while also enjoying our delightful little Bobo.  Sometimes I can't imagine him being any cuter or me loving him any more than I do, but then he is and then I do, and it just amazes me every time.   Happy six months, my son!
He evidently liked the tree lighting at Riverwoods.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Blogkeeping -- Summer 2013

Yes, I know it's not Summer 2013 anymore, but my list is really long, and these were all watched during the spring, so I should have posted this in the summer.  Then I can post the next one as Fall 2013.  ANYWAY, here they are, from December 2012 (bottom) to the end of May 2013.

Jude the Obscure ** 1/2 / Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan ** / Serenity [r] **** 1/2 / Firefly [r] **** 1/2 / Star Trek: Into Darkness **** 1/2 / The Office (Season 9) *** / Sense & Sensibility (2008) [r] *** 1/2 / Once Upon a Time (Season 2) ** 1/2 / Survivor: Caramoan - Fans vs. Favorites *** / Wuthering Heights (2012) (sort of) ** / Chances Are [r] *** / Dirty Dancing ** 1/2 / Sense and Sensibility [r] ***** / The Artist [r] ***** / Iron Man 3 **** 1/2 / Oblivion *** / Project Runway: Teams (Season 11) *** / Rise of the Planet of the Apes [r] **** / Jude *** 1/2 / Hitchcock **** / The Perks of Being a Wallflower ** 1/2 / Yours, Mine and Ours [r] *** 1/2 / Close Encounters of the Third Kind [r] *** 1/2 / Jurassic Park (3D) ***** / Schoolhouse Rock: Money Rock *** / Skyfall [r] **** / The Help [r] **** 1/2 / G.I. Joe: Retaliation ** 1/2 / Schoolhouse Rock: America Rock **** / Ivanhoe *** 1/2 / The Fighter *** 1/2 / The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey [r] **** / Life of Pi **** 1/2 / Ghost *** 1/2 / Schoolhouse Rock: Multiplication Rock *** 1/2 / Leap Year [r] **** / Schoolhouse Rock: Science Rock **** / Oz, the Great and Powerful *** 1/2 / Grease [r] *** / Schoolhouse Rock: Grammar Rock **** 1/2 / Lady In the Water [r] **** / A Mighty Wind [r] ***** / The Young Victoria [r] **** / The School of Rock [r] **** / Girls Just Want To Have Fun [r] *** 1/2 / The Baby-Sitters Club ** / The Winslow Boy [r] **** / The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 * / The Bourne Legacy *** / So Undercover * 1/2 / October Baby *** / House At the End of the Street *** 1/2 / Now and Then ** 1/2 / Lincoln **** / Dumbo [r] **** 1/2 / Troop Beverly Hills [r] **** / Wreck-It Ralph *** / Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome ** 1/2 / Spanglish [r] **** / The Pirates of Penzance [r] **** 1/2 / The Moonstone *** 1/2 / The Impossible ***** / Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium *** / Rush Hour *** 1/2 / Enchanted April [r] **** / Robin Hood (2010) [r] *** / A Goofy Movie [r] **** / Wish Upon a Star *** / Zodiac *** / Gattaca [r] *** 1/2 / Battlestar Galactica: The Plan [r] ** 1/2 / Project Runway: All Stars (Season 2) *** / Battlestar Galactica (Season 4) [r] **** 1/2 / The Last Airbender * / Avatar: The Last Airbender (Season 3) ** 1/2 / Baby Boom [r] *** / The Wolfman ** 1/2 / A League of Their Own [r] **** / Tess of the d'Urbervilles (2007) *** / Tess of the d'Urbervilles (1998) **** 1/2 / What Ever Happened To Baby Jane? **** / That Thing You Do! [r] ***** / Avatar: The Last Airbender (Season 2) ** / Battlestar Galactica: Razor [r] ** 1/2 / Les Miserables *** 1/2 / The Muppet Christmas Carol [r] ***** / The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey [r] **** / One Magic Christmas [r] *** / Tess [r] **** / Battlestar Galactica (Season 3) [r] *** 1/2 / Home Alone [r] **** / The Golden Compass [r] ** 1/2 / Survivor: Philippines (Season 25) **** / The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey *** 1/2 / The Nutcracker Prince [r] ** 1/2 / Across the Universe [r] *** / While You Were Sleeping [r] **** 1/2 / Quiz Show [r] *** 1/2 / Battlestar Galactica (Season 2) [r] **** 1/2 / The Dark Knight Rises [r] *** 1/2

And here are all the books, from December 2012 to October 2013.

Alice In Wonderland: A BabyLit Colors Primer (Jennifer Adams) **** / My World (Margaret Wise Brown) *** / The Runaway Bunny (Margaret Wise Brown) **** / Big Red Barn (Margaret Wise Brown) **** / Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed (Mo Willems) *** / Stanley Yelnats' Survival Guide to Camp Green Lake (Louis Sachar) ** 1/2 / Persuasion (Jane Austen) **** / The Witch of Blackbird Pond (Elizabeth George Speare) **** / The Dark (Lemony Snicket) **** / Small Steps (Louis Sachar) *** / Northanger Abbey (Jane Austen) *** 1/2 / The Book of Jer3miah: Premonition (Luisa Perkins and Jared Adair) *** / Holes (Louis Sachar) ***** / The Outsiders (S.E. Hinton) *** / Emma (Jane Austen) ***** / Goodnight Moon (Margaret Wise Brown) ***** / The Fault In Our Stars (John Green) ***** / Kingdom Keepers VI: Dark Passage (Ridley Pearson) * 1/2 / Mansfield Park (Jane Austen) *** 1/2 / Icefall (Matthew J. Kirby) *** 1/2 / Because of Winn-Dixie (Kate DiCamillo) **** / A Tree Grows In Brooklyn (Betty Smith) **** / Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen) ***** / Psycho House (Robert Bloch) ** 1/2 / Psycho II (Robert Bloch) ** / Psycho (Robert Bloch) ***** / Sense and Sensibility (Jane Austen) **** / That Hideous Strength (C.S. Lewis) **** / Perelandra (C.S. Lewis) *** / Out of the Silent Planet (C.S. Lewis) *** / A Disney Sketchbook (Ken Shue) ***** / Life of Pi (Yann Martel) ***** / The Tiger Rising (Kate DiCamillo) **** / Fantasia/2000: Visions of Hope (John Culhane) ***** / Mere Mormonism: A Defense of Mormon Theology (Ronald R. Zollinger) *** / Mere Christianty (C.S. Lewis) **** / Odd and the Frost Giants (Neil Gaiman) *** / American Gods (Neil Gaiman) ** 1/2 / Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Third Wheel (Jeff Kinney) *** / The Casual Vacancy (J.K. Rowling) * / All the Wrong Questions: Who Could That Be At This Hour? (Lemony Snicket) **** / The Well-Beloved (Thomas Hardy) *** 1/2 / 13 Words (Lemony Snicket) *** / The Composer Is Dead (Lemony Snicket) **** / The Lump of Coal (Lemony Snicket) **** / Horseradish: Bitter Truths You Can't Avoid (Lemony Snicket) *** / Jude the Obscure (Thomas Hardy) **** / Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol (Brett Helquist) *** / Jacob T. Marley (R. William Bennett) **** / Jacob Marley's Christmas Carol (Tom Mula) **