Friday, May 30, 2008


My kids form attachments to people in the strangest ways. Wednesday we had an electrician at the house for a few hours fixing some stuff our buyers requested. For some reason (maybe the tools?) my boys took an instant liking to Frank and spent about an hour and a half following him around the house and copying his every move as best they could. James strapped on his Sesame Street tool belt and Sam grabbed his tool box as they peppered Frank with questions.
Sam: "Hey, do you have one of these?" (holding up a hammer)
Frank: "Yep." (trying not to crack up)
Sam: "Where is it?"
Frank: "In my truck."
Sam: "Wow."
Then either Sam or James would repeat the same series of questions holding up each of their tools one at a time. I was in the other room laughing my head off! Samuel had the best comment of all, "Hey, did you know my dad fixes things too?"
While Frank was out at his truck getting something the boys shared their enthusiasm with me. "Mom, I love him! I want to be just like him."
"Me too!"

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Russia flashback

For those of you who don't know, I spent a semester of college in Russia. I have been feeling oddly nostalgic for my Russian experience this week.

While I was living there, John came out to visit me for a week. I had a great time leading him around Moscow, although I had a tendency to forget that he couldn't read Cyrillic so I didn't always explain to him where I was taking him. I think it drove him a little nuts. Anyway, the police in Russia are very different from those in America. You DO NOT want to make eye contact with them and whatever you do, you do not want to draw their attention to yourself. Russia may be a free county and all but civil liberties hadn't quite caught on, not to mention the fact that while I was there Chechnian terrorists were bombing apartment buildings in Moscow.

Anyway, one day while John and I were walking through a metro station, a couple of men came up and tried to show us something as they tried to pull us away from the crowd. I was used to peddlers doing this sort of thing so I pushed them away and grabbed John and kept walking. The guys tried again, this time angrily announcing themselves as police and accusing John of being Chechnian. My limited Russian comprehension picked up on the key terms just as they pushed us into a corner. I stuttered through my Russian whipping out my student id and visa and explained that I was an American student and that John was also American and was only visiting. They heard my accent, checked my papers and let us go. As we took the escalator down to the train platform my knees were shaking so bad I was holding on to John so I wouldn't fall down. John, happily oblivious in his incomprehension, had no clue what had just happened.

Other than a few Russian idiosyncrasies to mar the experience, I loved it there and miss some of the old buildings so much. St Basil's Cathedral was one of my favorites!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Happy Birthday Mr. James!

Today my little Mr. James turned 3! I can't believe my baby is 3! Here are pictures of his birthdays, past and present, in honor of his special day.

Ok, not quite a birthday picture. This was the day he came home from the hospital.

This is James' blessing day.

James' 1st birthday and first chocolate cake. Yum!

James with his friend Jamison on his 1st birthday.

James on his 2nd birthday. We had a Wonder Pets party!

James celebrating his 3rd birthday at Chuck E Cheese's. We took him there last year for his birthday, too. Apparently this is now a tradition.

The boys traded in their tickets for some disguises. So fun!

My little James has such a sense of humor and loves his big brother so much. We are so glad to have him in our lives and wouldn't trade him for anything... even though I may be tempted sometimes. Here are just a few more pics of James at his finest.

Bye bye binky! Since he turned three today the binky is finally being retired! Both of them!

Friday, May 23, 2008

chasing rainbows

The weather around Philly has been nuts lately. It has been cold then hot then cold again with tons of wind and rain. Anyway, John had a meeting on Thursday and just after he left he called to tell me to take the boys outside. When we went outside, this is what we saw...

The colors were so brilliant you could see each one perfectly clear. My boys and their friends did a little rainbow dance on the front porch, they were so excited! We stayed outside until it disappeared completely.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Twilight fanatic

Ok. I am a self-confessed Twilight series fanatic! I am obsessed with the books and have read them all several times over. I have also tried to convert everyone I talk to into becoming a fanatic right along with me. Here are the top 5 reasons why I like the books:

5) Edward
4) Edward
3) Edward
2) Edward
1) Edward

Just kidding! No really, here is what makes me love these books:

5) They are unique. Instead of taking the classically pictured rising-out-of-the-coffin-turning-into-a-bat-vampires, Stephenie Meyer created these people who just happen to be vampires. They struggle with the same issues we do (ie: love, uncertainty, regret, doubt, faith) they just happen to be super strong, fast and immortal. Oh, yeah, and they drink blood, too.

4) I love the relationships that the characters have with each other. They are not static relationships, you see them progress just like in real life. Bella's relationship with her dad is awkward and uncomfortable at first and by the third book it has morphed into a more regular father, daughter relationship. Although, it is still awkward because really is there any dad who understands a teenage daughter???

3) I love the Jacob-Bella-Edward triangle. Yes, love triangles are so cliche. But this one definitely has some surprising aspects. I am astounded by Edward's ability to be unselfish (although he has had 100 years to work on it) and Jacob's determination (pig-headed though it may be). My favorite chapter in all 3 books is "Fire and Ice" in book 3.

2) I love how Stephenie shares each of the Cullen family members' stories. It gives a depth to each of the character that you don't always get in literature today, especially juvenille lit.

1) The books bring out emotions that I (and pretty much every other girl or woman who reads these books) have been through before. I can identify with the characters in one way or another through personal experience or from a desired experience. All of us want to be loved the way Edward loves Bella! I could probably go on about this forever. My sister-in-law, Jamie, and I spent an entire softball game talking about it last night. =) Needless to say, I am anxiously awaiting book 4 which comes out in August. I am also dying to see the movie of Twilight which hits theaters Dec. 12. So in the mean time, all I have to live off of is the trailers. Enjoy!

See you at the theater!!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

croup again???

Holy smokes! James has croup again! He was fine all day Thursday and then just as I was getting into bed (about 11:00pm) I heard him coughing and choking and crying. I ran into his room to check on him and he was having trouble breathing and coughing that horrible barking cough. I recognized it for what it was and took him to the bathroom and turned on a hot shower hoping for the steam to help. It didn't. In fact, James got worse and had his mouth open (drooling like nobody's business) and every time he had that horrible strider sound when he breathed in. I woke up John, asked his opinion and then wrapped James in his blanket and took him to the ER.
Thank goodness the hospital is only five minutes away! The woman at the reception desk took a look at my face and heard James struggling to breathe and sent us right back to see a nurse. They asked me a few questions and then got James settled in a bed with a breathing treatment. James was exhausted and scared and would not let me put him down. I didn't want to let him go either so we sat on the hospital bed for a while as the breathing treatment helped him a little and we waited to see the doctor. The resident came in and figured out pretty quick that we had been through this before and that this was bad. She gave him a nebulizer treatment and suggested we get chest x-rays to make sure it wasn't pneumonia. The neb helped (when he finally got it at 1:00 am) and for the first time James perked up a little bit and started talking. I finally started breathing, myself.
By the time the tech came to take us for x-rays, James was downright chatty. He held still for the x-rays and when the tech put them up on the lighted board to check them out, James said, "It's General Grievious!" I started cracking up. Thanks heavens the lab tech was a Star Wars fan!

Friday, May 16, 2008

home inspection

We did the home inspection for our new house yesterday. I got a little camera happy and took a ton of pictures. I am so excited! I keep driving John crazy with all of my decorating schemes. Here are just a few of the pictures I took. If you want to see more, all you have to do is ask...
This is our living room.

This is the Dining Room.

This is the kitchen. Isn't it gorgeous?

The family room. Ugh, peach walls. I really want to repaint this.

The downstairs powder room. Look how beautiful the vanity is. I love the details on the tile floor, too.

The master bedroom.

This is one of our small walk in closets in the master bedroom, we have two! I am so excited to have a closet that is more than the depth of a hanger!

The finished attic. This will be either Sam and James' bedroom or playroom. We haven't decided yet.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

simple pleasures

This is in response to Lizzie's tag. Here is a list of the simple pleasures I enjoy.

1. reading - and having a husband who understands how much I love to read even when I sometimes ignore him and the kids.
2. summer mornings - There is nothing like waking up to a beautiful, sunny summer day with the light streaming in through the windows.
3. softball games - John has played softball for the last 10 years (okay, so that is as long as I have known him). I love sitting outside in the early evening and chatting with the wives and kids of the other players.
4. music - I always have a song in my head, like there is a soundtrack constantly running through my life, even though you can't hear it. Music is my emotional outlet.
5. hugging my kids. I don't think this one needs an explaination.
6. dairy queen peanut butter cup blizzard with chocolate ice cream!!!!!
7. surprise letters and packages from my family - I am always homesick for them.
8. fresh raspberries and strawberries - they remind me of my Grammy.
9. new clothes - they make me feel beautiful and confident.
10. our new house - OK, maybe that isn't a simple pleasure, but it is definitely a big one in my life right now!!!

So, there is my list. What is yours?

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day!

In honor of Mother's Day I wanted to share a little bit about my mom...
I have the most amazing mom ever. She and my dad were divorced when I was 12. My mom held it together for the sake of her kids. She held down one full time and one part time job while she was putting herself through school. And although she was very, very busy, she was always front and center for our dance recitals, choir concerts, plays and sporting events. On top of that, my mom is fun to hang out with. During my senior year in high school my mom and I were both dating. We would go out separately (doubling would have been way too weird even with my mom) then come home and sit on her bed and chat about our dates.
One day when there was a girl's choice dance ( in Utah those dates normally last from the end of the school day until midnight), I was hanging out at home with my date and the other couples we were going to the dance with. We had distributed squirt guns as prizes from a scavenger hunt we had done earlier, and embarked on a full out water fight inside the house! While my date was filling up his squirt gun at the kitchen sink my mom told him, "Now that isn't the way to do it." Then she proceeded to fill up a drinking glass and dump it on his head! My mom was the guidence counselor at my high school so she knew my date and all of my friends for that matter. My date was completely dumbfounded but the rest of us were laughing too hard to commiserate with him.
As for a more recent story, we will be moving in July. My mom is planning on coming to Philadelphia to help with the move, just like she helped with our last move and the moves of all of my siblings at one point or another. Her only question is should she fly put after she helps Lisa drive back to Kansas from Utah, or should she rent a UHaul and drive to Philly so she can bring us some furniture from my grandfather's house.
My mom is strong and independant and compassionate and loving and spends her life helping others and taking care of her children (which includes her kids, step-kids, in-laws, students, our friends, members of our ward and pretty much anyone else who walks into her door at home or at school). If you are ever in St. George, UT, let me know and I'll give her your address. She is always willing to open her home and let new friends into her circle of love.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Our new home???

We put an offer in last night for this beautiful house. We should know tonight if the offer is accepted. If it is, on July 18th we will be the proud new owners!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

potty talk

John started potty training James this weekend. We got a book called "Toilet Training in One Day." Yeah, whatever. More like "Letting Your Kid Pee on the Floor Over and Over and Over." It was pretty much a disaster. Three days later, he makes it to the potty every once in a while but we have ignored the book's advice to keep him in underware all the time so there are fewer messes to clean up... or at least smaller messes. Now if we could just get James to point his "thingy" in the right direction...

Monday, May 5, 2008

"Lost" in Translation

John and I have been watching "Lost" since day one of season one. We have survived all of the really boring episodes as well as the many nail biters. As far as this season goes, I have to admit that I am ... well, lost. Between the survivors and the others, the "good guys" on the ship and the "bad guys" on the ship, the reappearances of people who are supposed to be dead (Jack's dad and Charlie), and Harley in a mental institution (is he crazy or the only one sane?), I am completely confused! If anyone has any theories or deep understanding of what in the world is going on in this show, I would love to hear it.

Saturday, May 3, 2008


Our house is officially under contract! We signed papers about 9pm last night. So we have until July 18th to find a new house or we are out on the street. I am so excited and terrified at the same time. Wish us luck!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Happy May Day!

At Bryn Mawr we celebrate May Day on the first Sunday of May with an all day party. May Day begins with the seniors (dressed in white like all of the students for the day) rising to go wake the President of the College. The traditional wake-up song is "The Hunt is Up" but it has been replaced sporadically with songs such as "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go." After that, each class goes to a different dining hall for a scrumtous breakfast of strawberries and cream.
Following breakfast, May Day really gets kicked off with a huge parade that begins at Rockefeller Arch and ends on Merion Green. A bagpiper leads the procession, which consists of the President of the College, her attendants, the Traditions Mistresses, the senior class presidents, the Maypole dancers, the Worthies, and the Players. In a Grand May Day parade, which happens once every four years, Queen Elizabeth is added to the list, and it is rumored that elephants and such are brought in for such spectacles. My freshman year was Grand May Day. The college had brought in one of those huge, ornate, old-fashioned carousels and set it up for rides in the middle of campus. The president of the college changes her mode of transportation every year. One year she and her attendants rode in on Harleys.
After the parade, there is Maypole Dancing. Each class gets a Maypole in its class color. Maypole dancing is done while the Night Owls sing "To the Maypole." The seniors pretty much win every year, wheter their ribbons are a mangled mess or not.
There are many events throughout the day, including Scottish dancing, Morris dancing, the traditional King Arthur Play, the sophomore class play, the Robin Hood Play, the craziest a'cappella concert of the year, various cultural dancing and music displays, the May Hole dance (uniquely Bryn Mawr) and there is always a big concert in the afternoon with such performers as The Nields, Voices on the Verge, and Dar Williams.

Another main event of the day is when the seniors roll their hoops down senior row. Superstition holds that the winner is the first to receive a graduate degree and the second-place finish is the first to marry.

After dinner we hold our final step sing of the year. This particular Step Sing is usually very emotional, since the end involves singing the goodnight song to the seniors (it is usually sung to the frosh) as the seniors leave the senior steps and the juniors take over. This is the spot when the juniors become seniors, in a traditional sense, and they obtain the right to begin the college cheer, the Anassa.
The day ends with a late night showing of fellow Mawrtyr, Katherine Hepburn in The Philadelphia Story.
I mark May Day on my calendar every year. It is one of those things that make me wish I was still in college.

So to all you lovely Bryn Mawr Women (BMW's) out there, Happy May Day!

Thanks to Traditions Mistress, Carolyn and her webpage for some of the descriptions and the pictures.