Thursday, August 28, 2008

Another Birthday...

super social

extremely expressive

talented, tenacious tentacles

height of hilarity

Monday, August 25, 2008


Gabe is...


big dimples

the "funny one"

sensitive to the Spirit

good at math

a cousin favorite

chatty, when you get him alone

8 years old!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Sunday Summary

Monday was the big day we used our "Reading is the Ticket" tickets from the elementary school for a day at the local amusement park, Silverwood. Mom and Jane looked like this:

after realizing that because of Jane's limited height and Mom's limitLESS girth, we wouldn't be riding any major roller coasters.

The rest of the crowd felt really bad for us:

There is also a water park attached to Silverwood, and on a 95 degree day, we were happy to jump in.

On Tuesday, we had our Third Annual Raspberry Picking Party. Seth, while POOR at picking, was exceptionally hilarious: "Wazberry? You want to come out? You want to come out? Good! You came out!" and "Hey here's another jackpart (jackpot), Mom!" Gabe won the children's award by picking 1.75 lbs, Emma was second, with 1.5 lbs. Jane came in third with .75 lbs and Seth was disqualified for only picking green raspberries, or ones with stem and leaves still attached. We've been LOVING our raspberry muffins, raspberry jam and raspberry pie (thanks Jeni!) all week.

On Wednesday, Mom took the kids on three separate First-Day-of-School-Outfit shopping excursions. (I let them pick out one outfit for the first day of school and then shop for the rest of the stuff in October, when it's cheaper.) They NEVER pick the outfit I like best, so here are the ones I wish they'd picked--obligatory first day of school photos can show you the ones they chose.
On Friday, we did haircuts. The girls got very short ones and they like them, but Mom's kind of happy that hair grows!
We rounded out the weekend with a date (birthday present shopping--we have two coming up this week), pre-reunion house cleaning and the baptism/bbq of cute Maya Albrecht.
We're looking forward to our last hurrah before school starts on September 4th. We'll celebrate Gabe and Seth's birthday, have a lake baptism, a Grandpa Sherrill visit and a Romney reunion. You know you can't wait to hear next week's summary. Try to contain your excitement!

Thursday, August 21, 2008


(Here she is, with the actual assessor/kidnapper)

Jane had her kindergarten assessment today. Rhyming ("hog, log, hip, dip, mouse, house--is that wight Mom?), counting ("I can't wememboh how much I could count.") and starting sounds ("I saw a Mouse picture and I said, "mmm, M, wight?"), she knew it all and apparently is assessed to be ready for kindergarten--which starts in 2 weeks.

Let's assess the mom. Let's assess if she is ready for Jane-in-kindergarten, shall we?

Enjoyment of said child: At an all-time high.

Really, aside from extra bouts of crying, the girl can do no wrong. All day long she just brings fun into my life.

Entertaining of Seth without said child: Poor.

Who else is going to get him in the bath, roll around on the ground with him and play the Mommy/Baby game (the fake one) with him, after Jane is gone.
Nappy-buddy needs: High.

I seriously started crying the other day, as I snuggled next to her yummy yummy skin and knew that within a few weeks this would be gone forever. (Actual tears currently welling).
Desire for child to spend more time OUT THERE than here: Uh, SUPER-LOW.

I know where this road leads (I've done it twice before, you know), and basically, it doesn't end back with me. They just get bigger and more independent and boo on that.
Relief that kindgarten is only a 4-hour a day thing: Very high.

I need to be weaned slowly from my Jane fix.

So, do they average our scores, or what?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Sunday Summary (on Tuesday)

(Man. Between the Olympics, Breaking Dawn, post-Girls Camp recuperation, birthday and baptism planning, blogging is kind of low on the totem pole. Here's the much-anticipated weekly summary, to fulfill all journaling requirements.)

Girls Camp was beyond wonderful and deserves it's own post. One hopefully filled with many pictures this flattering.

Ryan, seen here with his twin Seth (I could not get over how much they look alike after not seeing them for a week), basically does a better job at homemaking and mothering than me. It's a little embarrassing to return home to a (deep) cleaned house, the best birthday party ever, ALL WHILE HE WORKED FULL TIME from home, after a week away. I mean, really. What is my point in this relationship, anyway?

Our garden finally decided to produce. We got 6 ears of corn, about 20 carrots, an onion and 8 tomatoes. Friday for dinner we had omelets made with some of the above ingredients and corn on the cob. A week of camping and I'm all about self-sufficiency and nature!

We had a lovely 11th anniversary. Emma drew this cute cute cute picture and put it above our bed as a surprise on Saturday. It was super low key (for once) and we celebrated by eating a fun-yummy-pricey dinner at the Melting Pot.

And there you go. Back to blood-sucking, hurdle-jumping, clothes-needing, older-getting real life.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Eleventh Anniversary

Today I am aware of how grateful I am for Jessica.

I've never met anyone better suited to me.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

I ought to be charging for these tips ...

Let's say you are a single dad because your wife left you for a camp full of teenage girls with only $14 left in the budget and a half the budget period to go and you are a busy guy, but your son goes and requests a birthday party this year anyway ... how do you handle it? Relax , take a deep breath, and follow these simple steps for a fail-proof party.

1.) Have the birthday boy (BB) plan the guest list, and itinerary.

2.) Download this MS birthday invitation template: Let BB and sis spend the next 3 hours customizing, selecting fonts and colors, printing out, stamping and hand delivering invitations.

3.) Have BB remind you that Mom always puts pictures on the table for birthdays. Let him rummage through all the photos and spend the next hour sorting & classifying them.

Let him pick how he wants them laid out on the table.

Don't sweat it when BB jam-packs 5 Million pictures of himself onto the table in a way that would never meet a discerning mom's approval.

4.) Find old unused roll of black crepe paper. Tell BB and sis that they can decorate the house for the party all by themselves.

Help him figure out how to obscure Elmo on the old kiddie HappyBirthday sign to enhance his already jammin' decor

5.) Get a DJ and make some signs so everyone knows that there is a "Party in Backyard".

6.) When the guests arrive, make sure you have some structured activities planned

7.) Play that awesome game from Amy Shoemaker's 5th birthday party where you see how many clothes pins you can drop from your forehead into a jar. No clothes pins lying around? ... No problem, army guys work just as well. Jar can also be swapped out for old Tupperware container.

8.) Put these guys ...

into these to keep the cheater 8 year old boys from trying to look through, under, around the blindfold. Now, play another old-school game ... blind man's bluff.

9.) Get out the Lawn Bowling set that Uncle Nate sent (thanks man ... I owe you!) and let each kid play a frame of lawn bowling

10.) When the games are through get out the doughnut cake (i.e. a stack of doughnuts on a plate w/ a candle in the top) and soda

and serve up the troops.

11.) After the cake is gone. Have the BB open his presents

This could take longer than expected if the fun neighbor brothers spent 3 hours wrapping multiple layers of boxes with scotch, masking, and duct tape (no lie), and packing the various box levels with balloons and streamers and paper mache cut outs and wrapping paper and random notes, painted polka dots, etc.

even when you think you are done, you aren't because at the bottom are at least 40 envelopes, each filled with paper and sealed. Settle in when you hear the boys say ... "4 of them have something in them and the rest are just junk! ... but you gotta open them all to know which is which."

12.) Send the kids downstairs to watch this movie and make themselves ill eating this pile of caramel s'mores popcorn

13.) The next 1 hr 45 min are all yours.

You're welcome.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Story Corner - The Big Day

Jessica has been throwing phrases around like "obligation" and "have-to" and "owe me" in her attempts to gently persuade me to contribute to the blog. In an effort to entreat I will hit some highlights from our big day.

I vividly remember getting a call the (Friday) night before the big day as I was out with some friends. Jessica derives great satisfaction from calling the outing my "bachelor party" because of the years of discomfort her terminology generated for me. No adult on earth equates the events of that evening with a bachelor party. Perhaps there are some kindergartners who might, but even there we would be hard pressed to find many. So in the middle of the "festivities" I get a call from Jessica. She is in tears. She is hysterical. She is going on and on about something. I can make out "wedding license" being thrown generously. Finally, I am able to deduce two things from her ravings.

1.) We have no wedding license.

2.) It is all my fault.

I don't know if it was her overwhelming reaction or my friends jeers in the background, but the whole thing struck me as kind of funny. So after feigning heartfelt concern, I hung up and proceeded to have a good laugh about it with my buddies.

This being my 1st marriage, I was unaware that it was the man's responsibility to acquire the wedding license. Much like the customary "talk with the father-in-law, " I was oblivious to this tradition of western matrimony. I also didn't quite grasp the full import of the little slip of paper. Apparently ... and you will probably be as shocked as I was when you hear this ... you cannot get married without one! Even the LDS Temple won't perform the ceremony without this license (except in Las Vegas ... even the Temple is a little looser in Vegas).

So we went to bed that night not sure whether or not there would be the much anticipated wedding in the morning. As legend now has it, my mother-in-law locked herself in her closet tearfully pleading in prayer that we would somehow be able to resolve this. Meanwhile calls were made all over to find out if we could still get married and fill out the paperwork later (nope!). So My father-in-law pulled some strings and got a local judge to open a courthouse on a Saturday morning dragging in some poor clerk to do us a big favor.

In the end we got the license and lots of exercise as we frantically dressed, shaved and prepped for the ceremony while racing from San Joaquin valley to the East Bay . This made for a memorable morning and made me feel kind of like I had crossed a finish line out of breath as we exchanged vows in the nick of time. Little did I know that the hectic pace of that day was but a primer for the many that would follow it. Yet for some reason the details of that day stick, while all the others seem to fade.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Countdown to Camp

35 Youth Camp Leaders (the 15-16 year old girls that run the camp and I'm in charge of them)

(last year's girls)

1 fun fun assistant

(Lindsay and her supportive husband Brett)

2 supportive husbands

5.5 months of work

5 early morning Sunday meetings with YCLs

6 hour late nighter

60 cans of soda for YCL appreciation

35 Candy Fairy Godmother wands

15 hours preparing the music for camp

19 tracks on the Camp Music CD (including Whistle While You Work, Oh What a Beautiful Morning, Eye of the Tiger--for the mile run)

8 short sleeve-shirts, 3 long sleeve shirts, 1 sweatshirt, 2 pairs of jeans, 4 pairs of shorts (amazing how dirty you get!)

5 friends taking my kids

5 days/4 nights at Girls Camp

27 weeks pregnant