April 24, 2010

How Does Your Garden Grow?

New Year's Resolution #10—Plant a garden.

I can now check that off my list, and I'm glad I said "plant" and not "grow" a garden. Who knows how this thing will turn out. However, we started small using the square foot gardening method, so if the garden is a failure, it won't be a big one.

I also had grand visions of the family happily working together on the garden and the children learning the value of hard work. Well... Let's just say, we'll work on that.

Farmer Tomas patiently waiting
Hopefully, I'll be able to post a picture of a bountiful harvest from our little garden.

Photo of the Week (4/24/10)

Today, I thought I'd take some action shots, so I brought the camera to Tomas' soccer game. I'd love to get some shots of Liam playing soccer, but it's kind of hard to take pictures and coach at the same time.

It's nice to be able to take pictures like these from far away using a telephoto lens.

And also to not have them come out blurry.
Nice kick, Tomas!
Our little soccer star!

April 19, 2010

Our Last Six-Year-Old

This week, our baby turned six. I asked him to stop growing and not turn six. I even said please, but he said he had to. I guess it will just be a series of "lasts" with Tomas—last one to go to elementary school, last one to graduate high school, last to go on a mission, last to marry, etc. I'm just going to have to get used to it.

Tomas is a complete and total joy. We are so blessed to have him as part of our family.

Tomas asked for a devils food cake with
chocolate ganache frosting. Very mature
tastes indeed! The ganache wasn't set up
like it should be, but we couldn't wait.

I am stealing this idea from a friend's blog. Mary Ann did the same thing about her son and Tomas' best friend, Sebi.

6 Things I Love About Tomas
1. He's a smarty pants. He's become such a good reader. I love when he reads me his favorite book, John, Paul, George, and Ben. He does all the voices, and he even gets all the humor. And, his math skills should eclipse mine very soon.
2. I love to have little talks with him about things in his now 6 year-old world. He's inquisitive and full of wonder. He reminds me how important that is.
3. He's always happy to help, and he does it cheerfully. Any task is more fun with Tomas as your little assistant. 
4. He's not afraid to do crazy things with his dad—singing at the top of our lungs in the car, dancing goofy dances in the elevator, and making up adventure stories about Prince Tomas.
4. He's one happy little camper. I love the jokes he makes up, his smile that is so big his nose flattens out, and the way he laughs so hard he goes silent.
6. When he was younger and I was much more sleep deprived, I did not enjoy this so much. But now that I realize it will end soon, I completely love when he crawls into bed with us in the middle of the night and rubs his hands all over my face as he falls asleep.

Happy Birthday, Tomas!

April 12, 2010

Photo of the Week (4/12/10)

As I began my drive home from work, it began to sprinkle. This soon turned into a full on downpour.

Pulling into our neighborhood, I saw a group of kids running around in the park. I turned the corner to find more kids soaked to the bone engaged in battle using their umbrellas as swords. Now, 55 degrees may seem balmy compared to the recent snowstorms, but I thought these kids are nuts.

Finally, I reached our street only to find my own three kids puddle jumping in the gutter. And, of course, singing. Must be spring fever.

Unfortunately, the sweet car in the 
background isn't mine.

April 06, 2010

Easter Story #2

Thinking of that third grade year, brings up another Easter memory. Click here for story #1.

While I loved decorating Easter eggs, I did not particularly like searching for them. Why? Well, for the simple fact that I was really bad at finding them. I especially hated the community Easter egg hunts, where my inability to find hidden eggs was on display for everyone.

For the Easter of my third grade year, my parents took my sisters and me to an egg hunt put on by the Navy Wives' Club (or something like that). In my memory, it seemed like there were hundreds of kids. We all lined up and on the count of three stampeded into the garden area to find the eggs.

I looked. And looked. And looked some more. Once in a while I would find one, but every time I got close some other kid would get there first and snatch it up. Egg hunts don't last long, and I panicked as each minute ticked away without finding a single egg.

As I was about to give up, I spotted something in a tree.  I ran and grabbed it. It was a large plastic egg. I'm sure it was one of the kind that Leggs pantyhose used to come in. All the other kids were finding real eggs or small plastic eggs with jelly beans inside. There was nothing inside this one. I wasn't sure it was part of the hunt, so I started to put it back. That's when one of the adults helping with the hunt said, "I think you'll want to keep that."

Afterward, all the families gathered for the awards ceremony. The kids in each age category who found the most eggs won prizes. My little sister, Lori, who is four years younger, won a large stuffed animal. I, on the other hand, was pretty embarrassed with my one and only empty plastic egg.

But then...

The announcer asked for the kid who found the golden egg to come up. My egg looked sort of bronze-y, so I wasn't sure. But, my parents said it was the golden egg and urged me forward.

Really? I found the golden egg?

I took my basket with my one egg up to the front, and sure enough, I had found it. I won the grand prize! And, the grand prize was a live rabbit. Yes. A live rabbit.

I, of course, thought this was the coolest thing ever, but looking back, I can understand if my parents weren't too thrilled. First of all, a rabbit isn't a pet like a goldfish with a short lifespan and requiring little upkeep. We also did not have a rabbit hutch, meaning my dad had to build one. Finally, I don't know what the prize committee was thinking, but rabbits weren't allowed in military housing. 

I can't remember his name, but I remember he was white. I think he lived a happy life with us, but I don't know what happened to him when we moved. I could ask my mom, but I like to think he went to live on a farm with other rabbits (but not to be eaten).

By the way, I'm over the shame of being a bad egg hunter. I now blame it on my partial color blindness. And, who cares if you only find one egg–as long as it's the golden egg.

Easter Story #1

Every year for Easter dinner, we follow the tradition of having deviled eggs to use up some of the decorated hard boiled eggs. And following this tradition, one story inevitably gets told. Since this blog is my journal of sorts, I thought I'd better get it down, so it will continue to live on forever.

It all happened 36 years ago when I was in the third grade, and we lived in Oak Harbor, WA. My dad was in the Navy, and we lived in military housing. We were just finishing up our Easter feast when my dad who was sitting at the head of the table noticed one lonely deviled egg remaining on a platter. He then looked at me sitting across the table and asked,
"Curtis, would you like to eat the last egg, or would you like to wear it?" 

Now, I knew he was just kidding, but I decided to be funny back.
"I'll wear it, thank you."

And that's when it happened. My father picked up the egg and chucked it hitting me right in the middle of the forehead. He threw it hard enough to cover me in egg and leave an artistic splattering on the wall.

After the initial shock of what had just happened wore off, we all thought it was pretty hilarious. Until, we moved, that is. My mom had to clean the house and pass the military inspection. That's when she discovered egg stains on the ceiling.

Good thing Tomas LOVES deviled eggs. We will never have
just one left over, and I won't be tempted.

Easter 2010

We spent Easter at Oma and Opa's in Idaho. The cousins were there, too. And, I remembered to occasionally get the camera out.

It's pretty much tradition that Opa makes his famous french 
toast whenever the clan gets together. He's got some 
serious cooking skills. He has yet to disappoint a single 
grandchild. (click to enlarge)

Dog pile on Uncle John!

The cousins had a great time decorating Easter eggs. Not once was dye tipped over, and only a few eggs ended up cracked. I call that success.

The cousins were able to find all 54 hidden eggs. Somehow,
Isaac got missed during the picture taking. However, he's
a constant moving target, so it's understandable.

Playing at Oma and Opa's can wear a little boy out. 
Poor Nathan missed the decorating and the egg hunt.
I'm sure he was having pleasant dreams of marshmallow
Peeps and chocolate bunnies. And, there's always next year.

April 04, 2010

Photo of the Week (4/3/10)

We went up to Preston to stay at Oma and Opa's for Conference/Easter weekend. Between sessions on Saturday, I decided to walk a few blocks away to the old Oneida Stake Academy. This 120 year-old building fell into a state of major disrepair and is currently undergoing a very slow restoration process. I was curious to see where they were at in the process, and I brought the camera along.

Winter has returned to this area of the country, so it was mighty cold and windy. Without gloves, I was only willing to stay outside taking photos for a few minutes. Using my telephoto lens, here is picture of the tower.

At the rate they're going, I may not be alive once the restoration is complete. If I am so lucky, I'll be back with the camera.