Sunday, November 2, 2008


It is a VERY big deal in our neighborhood. The big victorian houses on the main street go all out with decorations and the police block off the surrounding streets (ours included) and put up spot lights. We had hundreds of trick-or-treaters from 5:15 until we turned off our light at 9:30! We went through 600 pieces of candy and a few hundred packs of stickers. (D carved the pumpkins pictured above - he's so creative!)

Little S was a dinosaur. My mom's friend made the costume and let us borrow it. Little S wasn't set on being anything in particular - some days she said she wanted to be a bug, other days a bee, and on halloween she said pirate.

Costume party with her preschool class:
Our good friends stopped by with their kids during trick-or-treating. Chanel's girls and my friend Cass's boys were excited about handing out candy - and gave D and my little sis a break from the task. It was fun to have a house full of friends and a porch full of trick-or-treaters.

Auntie L and Matt as pirates:
Chanel's girls distributing candy on the front porch:

Best costume went to this trick-or-treater who took a rest on our front yard:

The fellas overseeing the candy distribution - Jay, Chad and D.

Little S and friend Colin counting candy at the end of the night:

Monday, October 20, 2008

Pumpkin Patch

Last week we went to the local pumpkin patch with Little S's preschool. The fieldtrip included a tractor ride and feeding the sheep in the petting zoo. We've taken her there each fall, though I don't know how many more years the patch and Christmas tree farm will survive (i.e. not sell out) as big development goes up all around it.

These wagons are a hit with all the kids - I've never seen anyone fill them with anything but small children! Little S with 2 friends from her class (this past spring I posted about waiting all night to get a spot in the preschool class. Well, you're looking at the 3 kids whose parents were numbers 1, 2, and 3 in line that night :)

Little S and I have been reading and loving this book from the library: The Pumpkin Fair by Eve Bunting.
We read it multiple times a day, but it was due so I returned it while she was at school. When she realized it was gone, we had to go back to the library to see if we could check it out again (no luck).

Birthday Week

D initiated birthday week when we were first married. When it's your birthday, you pick when the week starts (usually your birthday falls near the end of the 7 days) and you get to do whatever you want that week - choose what we eat, where we go, any fun stuff you want to do - it's your week! And you get small gifts during the week, too.

Last week was D's BW and we had a fun time as a fam celebrating the big 33! At the end of the week, this is what I found in the kitchen after noticing the house was a bit too quiet for too long:

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Good Inspiration

Find it at my friend Becca's blog, ahabitatforhumanity

In an effort to find "the good" all around her (and keep a good attitude about her daily duties), Becca started writing brief posts about everything from the architecture around her New Haven, Conn. neighborhood to good recipes for the kids. I especially enjoyed her recent Oct 10 entry about the community of Chinese grandparents moving in with their Yale student children to help take care of their grandkids!

Becca is a great writer and friend and I miss living closer to her. We went to grad school together and have, in the 4 years since graduating, lamented together about leaving our stacks of art history books on the shelves for these few years while we dedicate our energy to the crazy but always cute little ones we're raising.

Here's to the good all around us!

This Weekend - Princesses and Pink

Little S's cousin Samantha had her third birthday party over the weekend- princess themed and the girls were to wear their princess dresses. Little S's grandma sewed princess dresses for all of her young granddaughters over the last few months - 8 dresses total! Little S got her dress from grandma the day before the party and was so excited when the box arrived. She put the dress on right away and wanted me to play music so she could dance around.
The birthday girl (left) with cousin Aislinn in another of Grandma's dresses.

The only full-length shot of the dress Grandma made for Little S.

All the princesses decorating cookies. Aislinn (left), Sam (center) and Little S (upper right).

After the party Little S and I headed to the Art Center library to look something up for Grandpa. Little S loved the grounds - she made up her own nature walk and collected huge leaves and sticks.

On Sunday, Auntie L and Matt participated in the local 5k walk for breast cancer. Little S and I went down early Sunday morning to take pics of our walkers! I was so proud of them and moved by the community support for the cause. Our maternal grandmother is a breast cancer survivor and hearing the survivors speak and rally before the race got me a bit teary eyed.

Auntie L and Matt in front of the race support vehicle - decorated with dozens of bras. Matt's dogs came along in support of breast cancer, too!

Over 2000 walkers participated - the race started downtown and wandered through the historic district, ending at our outdoor ampitheater.

Auntie L along the race route...

Saturday, October 4, 2008


11 days on the big island - it couldn't have been more perfect. Our friends Chris and Nicole invited us to join them at the beautiful (that's an understatement) vacation home of Nicole's grandparents north of Kona, Hawaii. The pic above was the sunset on our last night on the island. It was a well deserved vacation for D and Little S loved having both parents at her beck and call.

Our gracious hosts Chris and Nicole:

Little S worked on new skills on the surf board at the house pool. This was our view of the ocean every day from the house - on the 4th hole of the golf course.

When she wasn't swimming in the pool at the house, Little S thoroughly enjoyed the kiddie pool at the resort (the house is on the grounds of the Four Seasons). She had this pool nearly to herself all week. It was the nicest kiddie pool I've ever seen - sloped sand into the pool on one end and the entire pool has a sand bottom. It had a huge trunk of water toys for the kids to use and kiddie lounge chairs when they felt like working on their kiddie tans. The turtle got a sand facial from Little S each day.

Little S named this pool the Mommy pool. We spent most late mornings and early afternoons going between the kiddie and mommy pools. Little S was getting pretty comfortable with the resort life - pool attendents brought around little cups of ice cream bonbons, ice water, misters and other treats while we were lounging. You know it's time to get back to real life when the 2 year old is asking when the ice cream is coming.

When she wanted to get out and about, we rode the golf cart down to the beaches to look for sea turtles. This started the first morning we were in Hawaii when Little S woke up for the day at 3:30am (right on schedule if we were in Calif). D took her down to the beaches 4 times that day and it became our daily ritual.

The fellas went fishing on 4 of the mornings. Each day they got better - the spear fishing proved more difficult than anticipated - but the kayak we rented for 2 days really elevated their level of pole fishing success. The best catch was this guy: a yellow-finned surgeon fish (aka pualo). We even grilled it up for dinner!

Sight Seeing:
We drove around the island checking out the diverse landscape.
Akaka Falls:

Waipio Valley:

Place of Refuge: Little S explains to me which is the mommy and which is the daddy

The Food:
Chris and Nicole are our best foodie friends. They love a fine meal at a nice restaurant. They showed us a few of their fave places in the area.
My tomato salad at our last night dinner (this is the reason we went to the Grille):

D loves trying unique fruit - he bought all of this at the farmer's market and arranged a lovely still life :)

Virgin lava flows - the drink of choice on the trip:

Hawaiian shaved ice filled with coconut ice cream (Little S learned about freeze headaches while devouring this):

Brown's Restaurant:
We helped light tiki torches during our beachside dinner. Little S was asking about this guy's belly button as we walked away.

Another highlight of the dinner, besides the food, was the great live music. Little S and another little girl danced the night away to Hawaiian tunes. One of my favorite moments of the trip was when the singer finished with one song and those of us listening began to applause. Little S turned around with a huge, surprised smile of pride - I think she thought everyone was clapping for her dance and she loved that moment. I've never seen that look on her face.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

10 Years



(Los Angeles Temple, 1998)

BABY CARRIAGE. (Costa do Sauipe, Brazil, 2006)

We celebrated our 10th anniversary on August 14. It was a low-key dinner out in August because the REAL celebrating started Friday when we arrived on the big island of Hawaii!

In honor of our decade of adventures together, I'm posting 10 things I love about D that have made our ride together a thrill. And to quote Bill Parrish in Meet Joe Black, "My, how they go by in a blink."

(Engagement photo, Leo Corillo Beach, CA, 1998)

1. He's fearless. Not in the "I'll jump out of a plane if you dare me to" kind of way. Rather, give him any challenge and he'll rise to the occasion (that's how he ended up on the BYU cheer squad with no previous experience). He worked full time during his undergrad years with a software company that had him traveling to Europe - he convinced professors to reschedule tests for him because of the out-of-classroom experience he was gaining during his travels.

2. Traveling is a passion we both share. He loves the adventure of landing in a new place and figuring out how to get around (I just try to keep up with him on our trips!). He is a master traveler now because of it. We've visited 9 foreign countries together and he's been to many others by himself on business.

(Paris in front of Notre Dame, 2001)

3. He loves to learn new things - no matter what the topic. Like art, for example. I've always loved it and he's grabbed on to it since we got married. He even knows the big names to look for when he's at a prestigious museum. We were in Spain doing research for my master's thesis and we didn't have time to hit the Prado and pick up copies we had ordered from the library. So he told me to head to the museum and he'd meet me with the copies at "Las Meninas" (the masterpiece by Velazquez he had already seen on his last visit to Madrid). I smiled with pride for my supportive husband.

4. He's a foodie. With all of his travels, he made a commitment to try any food in any place at least once. He's got a "mature palette" as one of our food-snob friends said. He's a much better cook than I and he never uses a recipe.

5. He can talk to anyone (comes in handy during the travels). He's not afraid to strike up a conversation and he's interested in most topics. We were at an extended family function for my side of the fam and he was at a table with my great-uncle and his sons who are all beekeepers. D knows nothing about beekeeping but asked them about the sale of honey and if bees or honey are traded in futures on the stock market like other livestock commodities. The fellas got into a lengthy conversation about the production and sale of honey and D came away with a new interest in bees (btw, bees are not traded in futures).

(Buenos Aires, Argentina, 2006)

6. He's a model father. Little S could not be luckier. She adores him - he is definately her favorite parent. The other day she told me, "I'm saving these stickers for my best friend, Daddy." She and he are SO alike it makes me laugh every day.

(Near Palmares, Costa Rica, 2007)

7. He's a genius at TANGRAMS. You know, those shape outlines that they give you triangle and square puzzle pieces to make up the outline? Well, I'm not exaggerating when I say he's genius level. His brother gave him the tangram portion of the IQ test and was amazed at the few seconds it usually takes D to figure out the puzzle. This equates into his uncanny ability to pack a trunk or moving truck in the most spatially efficient manner.

8. He's a great listener. Friends have always come to him for advice on marriage, college majors, graduate school, etc. He's no expert on any of these topics, but his friends know he's logical and great at helping one weigh the pros and cons of the decision before them. He never forces his ideas on them, just helps people figure out what they really want to do.

9. He's got great hair. As we get older and so many of our friends are losing it, I'm proud of his thick dark hair (if only our kids could be so lucky).

10. He's my best friend.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Baby Blessing

We were in San Diego last weekend for another baby blessing. It was the blessing of the 14th grandchild for D's parents! The new arrival is at the bottom of the pic, being held by her oldest brother (and the oldest of the 14 grandkids). Little S in the top row, second from the left. FYI - three of the kids pictured are cousins of Little S's cousins. It was a wild day with all of the munchkins running around and we had a lot of fun together. D's brother in San Diego and his family are moving to Utah next week so it was our last fiesta together for a while.

I snagged this picture from my sis-in-law's blog - I left our camera in San Diego...

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Sequoia National Park

D took the above pic in July during his much deserved mini-vacation to Sequoia National Park. He tent camped with 3 of his brothers, one sister-in-law, two nephews and one niece. They camped along the river and D was in charge of the dutch oven meals, which were a great success. The crew even got to see bears along the hiking trails. D came home wanting to lure Little S and I up to Sequoia the following weekend, but we said maybe in the fall.

Home sweet home: the family camp next to the river.

Bear boxes: all food and toiletries must be stored in these big cages when not in immediate use. The nephews and niece fit nicely inside :)

The nephews taking in the view from the top after a good hike.

Kristine, Scott and Matthew.