Sunday, January 31, 2010

Elmo Ewww

A Chorney-vs-Elmo battle has been raging in our home and Chorney finally got the last laugh (which is saying something, since that Elmo doll laughs a lot). Sasha inspects the damage - all she could say was, "Elmo ewww"

This is the face we got when we suggested it was time to throw Elmo in the trash

I think this may be the creepiest shot of them all...

We were attempting to recreate actual events and Sasha kept trying to feed Elmo to Chorney which, when I really think about it, probably is the truest recreation of the actual events leading to Elmo's demise

Of course, as soon as Chorney took the bait it was time for Sasha to shriek, "Chorney, No!" and pry Elmo out of a very confused Chorney's mouth.

I'm fairly sure that Chorney is plotting her next assault in this picture

And when I downloaded the photos from the camera's SD card, I found this rather suspicious shot. I, for one, think that the poor dog was framed. She's the patsy, the real mastermind lurks behind the camera's shutter.

What really happened to poor Elmo? The world may never know.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Cultural Reference Mash-up

Ben's dinnertime song and conversation:
[Singing] This is the song that never ends... it just goes on and on my friends. Some people started singing it... [pauses and stares pensively into the distance]

Hey, Mom, wouldn't it be hilarious if Bob Dylan sang that?"

That it would, son, that it would.

Friday, January 29, 2010


Does anybody know the additional luggage fee for a small-to-medium-sized child?And, yes, you're reading those initials correctly, Sasha now has her own monogrammed luggage set - strong enough to withstand a full evening's play by three active children and their crazy daddy. Great pick, Grammy! Whether or not it can survive the "tender loving care" of your average baggage handler remains to be seen.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Working the System

Mom: Ben, it's almost time for dinner, please clean up the paints
Ben: I think Sasha might want to keep painting
Mom: Sasha, are you all done with the paints?
Sasha: Yeah
Mom: Ok, Ben, clean 'em up
Ben: No, no, Mom, just wait. Sasha, do you want more paints? [spoken with enthusiasm]
Sasha: [mirroring enthusiasm] Yeah!
Ben (to Mom): See!

The boys have started to use the fact that Sasha answers pretty much any question with a "yes" to their advantage... crafty devils

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Snow Days

We've had an iffy snow year here in Utah. I know that any of my complaints would be met with scoffing by my east coast friends, but it's really just been so-so out here in the land of the Greatest Snow on Earth. Fortunately, last week made up for a dry early January!

12 new inches of powder on Friday and Saturday nights made for a delightful Sunday worshiping in the snow (ok, I know that's a crappy cop out for missing church). It felt great to get my new skis out on some Utah pow! Of course, my quads still ache, but that's a small price to pay for a powder day.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Snowboard Grand Prix

Our lovely friend Kate was in town for a too-short weekend and at her behest we attended the Snowboard Halfpipe Grand Prix up in Park City on Saturday. Ordinarily we avoid Park City during the Film Festival like the plague, but so strong is our love for Kate that we persevered through the horrific crowds (actually, we stuck to the outskirts of the city and it was fine), car trouble (ah, the joys of a van that's old enough to legally enjoy, and occasionally require, a good stiff drink), avalanches (we got stopped on our way home for "successful" avalanche control - and success = they triggered an avalanche), and occasionally winy children to have a really great time watching world-class snowboarding right in our own backyard.

Here's an incredibly detailed photo of Kate, Steve, and Sasha watching Shaun White during his practice runs. Of course, you wouldn't know it was Shaun White by the crappy photography, but you can just take our word for it. That's what happens when I don't feel like lugging the SLR to an event...

The boys weren't actually tall enough to see over the fence, so they passed the hours climbing up the giant snowbank and sliding down. They hardly took out any pedestrians in the process, so we considered it a completely appropriate activity. Besides, anybody who tries to climb up a giant hill of snow in their "I want to be seen at the Sundance Film Festival" cowboy boots probably deserves to fall on their butt (with a "helpful" nudge from our boys as they cavorted), right?

Oh, and they also whiled away the time in the Xbox 360 booth, admiring the Xbox ice sculptures and receiving free glo necklaces. It was a veritable boy wonderland.

And Sasha discovered the wondrous and enrapturing invention that is the disposable handwarmer. Even now she walks around the house shake-shake-shaking them with a giddy smile on her face. For a girl who refuses to wear her mittens, she sure seems to like warm hands a lot.

We stuck around long enough to see Shaun White's legendary 49.5-point run. Man, that guy is amazing - look how high he gets on that Park City Superpipe. It was well worth the drive (and the crowds, and the break-down, and the winy kids) to see some of the world's best snowboarders strutting their stuff. Thanks for dragging us along, Kate!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Sam's First Fest

On Friday we watched a movie called Space Tourists. I really don't think it was the kind of movie you expect to see every day - you know, bombs, women, running, that kind of thing. It was more like a real life story. [Editor's note: In other words, it was a documentary.]

We saw it at bah bah bah [Editor's note: sing it like the theme for 2001: A Space Odyssey] Sundance Screening Room! It was part of the Sundance Film Festival. And I think it was really cool.

I think the coolest part of the movie is when Romania had a one-stage rocket brought up by a giant black balloon that uses heated air to go up and then the rocket goes into outer space and a robotic thing lands on the moon.

The director talked to us after the movie. The director told us about stuff to do with the movie - about the Russian space program and that there are a bunch of space monuments in Kazakhstan. [Editor's note: Ok, Sam's interest in narrating this blog post waned by this point in his description - telling you about Friday's movie can't compete with the allure of The A-Team theme playing from downstairs. The Q&A time with the director was amazing. He talked a lot about the secrecy surrounding the Russian Space Program and about how the Kazakhstani government helped him film when the Russian officials were trying to limit his access to parts of the story, which was all really fascinating. It was a great screening, and with a Kaz flair to boot!]


Friday, January 22, 2010


This is the face of a girl who has learned to make her own microwave popcorn! Yes, her enthusiasm for the whole process strikes terror into my heart as well. There are certain pitfalls to Sasha's popcorn-making efforts, such as the part where she always tries to put the popcorn in the microwave while still encased in plastic... but she hasn't actually melted the microwave or burned down the house yet, so that's a good thing.

She has mastered all other parts of the process, though. She digs a package of popcorn out of the cabinet, scoots a chair over to the microwave, puts the popcorn in, and even knows which button is the magic popcorn button. And unlike her slobby brothers, she also chooses a bowl with care (you never know which bowl will be selected as the popcorn bowl of the day) and puts the popcorn in the bowl when it's done! We just have to train her to remove the popcorn from the bag and put it right-side-up in the microwave and I believe that she will have attained the same level of self-sufficiency as most first-year college students.

And the bib thing was all her idea. Why carry a bowl around when you can have a bowl strapped around your neck?!? Very clever, if I do say so myself.

Want some? She's pretty good at sharing!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Obligatory Hair Update

Somehow it seems odd to take close-ups of the boys' hair, but I'm more than willing to do multiple sittings of Sasha's hair from 6 inches away. I'm just so entranced by the curls! Of course, by the time her hair is dry from the bath it's already caked with dog drool and spaghetti sauce (not necessarily in that order), so the curls don't stay around for long, but I sure love them for as long as they last!

I think that Sash was kinda freaked out by my insistence that she turn her head away from the camera before I would snap a photo, so she kept whipping her head around and doing strange things... like eating paper... and collapsing into hysterics. Oh well, she's still adorable, even with a mouth full of printer paper.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Independence - 6

The child clearly needs more constructive outlets for her energy. She has now taken to pushing chairs over to the kitchen drawers, climbing up, and emptying them of all of the silverware, which she then arrays on the counter next to her. Ok, technically we know that she's doing it at the time... but it keeps her happy and isn't actually destructive even if it isn't especially helpful. When surviving a two-year-old, sometimes you'll happily choose the activity that makes the least amount of mess, because not making a mess is simply not a viable option.

To be honest, I think that she has kind of a nice eye for the arrangement. Can one create a career path doing silverware placement?

And on the up-side, the empty silverware organizer has finally prompted me to clean out the drawers.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Time for a Fluorescent Bulb

Mom: Ben, why on earth were you sleeping two inches from your reading light last night? I walked in your room to check on you and couldn't believe you hadn't already caught the house on fire! [Which is true, and I did turn the light off just as soon as I could run downstairs to grab the camera to capture the photo of my bizarro son's sleeping arrangement for a blog post... since if his hair hadn't caught on fire already I figured that another 30 seconds wasn't going to make a difference]

Ben: It was the only way I could fall asleep. It was so warm.

I can't make too much fun of my son's baby-chick-like sleep habits, though, I feel exactly the same way about the electric blanket that Steve gave me for Christmas. He insists is so hot that the bed will spontaneously combust and frequently reads excerpts from the "user's guide" for me - 9 pages about the blanket's superb safety unless misused or abused or folded or twisted or sat upon or, in Steve's mind, turned up to the "H" setting. I'm just saying that if the blanket has a setting above 10, that's clearly the temperature that should be selected. After all, "It goes to 11" :)

Monday, January 18, 2010

One Year Ago Today

One year ago today we were boarding a plane for the first leg of our 24-hour journey to Kazakhstan to meet the extraordinary Alexandra Grace Morningstar.


Saturday, January 16, 2010

This Week's Casualties

I know, I know, I shouldn't complain - they've survived (or they almost survived) several years of wear by two very active boys. But two pairs of pants in one week?!? I don't think that Ben's constant movement - rolling, flipping, dancing, climbing, and assorted acrobatics - helps with the longevity of his pants.

This second pair met its end at the mall... but the pants were really just victims of circumstance since Ben forgot his shoes (no, I don't know how you get into the car in January and realize halfway to the mall that you aren't wearing shoes), so he ended up walking on his pants cuffs through the mall in a delightful hippie-hooligan fashion. By the end of our Chick-fil-a and romp in the mall playground, the pants were toast.

And I wonder why I'm tempted to end every post with, "Never a dull moment..." Maybe a blog tagline change is in order.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Dinner Quotes

You know you shared a meaningful family dinner when you emerge from the meal with not one but two blogworthy quotes.
Ben: I'm ripping off all the green bean heads - yah!
Steve: Sasha, the fish does not go in the kazoo. Ok, that's it, no more kazoo at the table when you're eating.
Never a dull moment

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Independence - 5

I was ok with the fridge opening, the dishwasher emptying, and the cabinet climbing... but I'm not sure I'm going to survive this one. The child has learned to open doors. Closed doors. Doors that I would prefer remain closed. And my world will never be the same.

On the up-side, this does explain how she has mysteriously ended up cuddling with me in my bed at 5 am every morning this week. I thought she had figured out teleportation... turns out she just mastered the doorknob.

And we all chant, "Yay! Sasha did it!" (even if we're groaning a little inside)

Monday, January 11, 2010


How do you combine guns, violence, and haircuts? When you cut in "bangs" of course! It took us a while to figure out why Sasha slumped over every time we mentioned bangs... she has certainly been well-trained by her brothers to react so automatically whenever she hears the word "bang," regardless of whether or not it's accompanied by gunfire-type motions. Ah, the joys of having older brothers.

Sasha's hair seems naturally predisposed to fall into her face, sheepdog style, so last weekend we decided that we were done fighting it. It was time for the scissors to do the job that the barrettes could not. And I think that the result is quite becoming.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

We Were Explorers

(title by Ben)

Our precious used CDs and unneeded books and DVDs have been selling well on (see Sell Your Stuff) and the proceeds were put to good use this week - snowshoes for the boys. Hard as it is to believe, we've sold enough mid-90's Carmen, Simon and Garfunkel, Indigo Girls, and Tom Petty to finance two sets of LL Bean Winter Walkers!

And the inner-explorer within my boys has been awakened. After all, why would you walk on the trail when you're wearing snowshoes specifically designed to hold your weight on un-packed snow?

I don't want to worry you, but apparently the South Fork of Provo Canyon is riddled with horrors - according to Ben's GPS, everybody else in our expedition was killed by tigers, coyotes, and indians except for one person who was transformed by the indians into a medium-sized black dog. We took pity on that guy and brought him home with us, thought we haven't yet figured out how to reverse the transformation. At one point we even came across some orange peels near the trail - proof positive of the presence of both tigers and indians. I had no idea. Glad we have such a knowledgeable guide.

I won't lie to you - we were worried, especially since our party was comprised exclusively of women and children. But thanks to Ben's trusty GPS and our ever-so-rugged snowshoes we emerged from our romp/expedition unscathed.

And upon returning (safely) home, I found Ben's dragon boots still clipped into his snowshoes, ready for another day's adventures. After all, why go through all of the effort of snapping the boots into the bindings when you can leave them, fireman-style, all prepped for another expedition?!?

Thursday, January 7, 2010

The World is their Jungle Gym

Why would you ever watch a movie reclining on something as mundane as a Lovesac when you can "sit" upside down in a Sky Chair 3 feet off of the ground or swing from your brother's dangling feet?!?

The real miracle of these photos is that we haven't had a broken bone or trip to the emergency room yet. Emphasis on yet. Apparently crazy the daredevil trait lives on the "nurture" side of the nature-nurture spectrum.

And, yes, Sasha is wearing a tank top in this picture. The only two things she'll ever choose from her bureau, if given the choice, are Black Dog t-shirts from her cousins and tank tops. At least I can usually steer her to long pants... unlike her perpetually shorts-wearing brother.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


Three generations of ponytails, Buddy, Daddy, and Sam - it's a majestic site. I'm so very proud.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The Best Day Ever

(or, Our Day with Grammy)

Ben: Just like the title says, it was our Best... Day... E---ver [Editor's note - pretend you're singing the Spongebob song here] and I promise you it was really fun.

Ben: We played Lego Indiana Jones 2. Gramma got it for Sam at Christmas- time.

Mom: Why do you have your shirt on backwards in this picture?

Ben: I don't know, I really like to.

Sam: Ok, I really like that Monster Game - you know, like knock down buildings? I wasn't doing very good, though... probably because Dad wasn't playing and we haven't played it in forever. The game I am talking about is at the Nickelcade and that's the place our best day ever was in, just so you know.

Ben: Once I found the Big Bass Wheel, I loved it. I did it as many times as I could until it was time to go. Sasha loved the Nickelcade. She just wanted to put the nickels in and ride the rides.

Sam: Now when we're saying the Best Day Ever, go ahead and put an "s" at the end of Day - that's right, I went sledding! Ben chose to go shopping with Dad instead of going sledding with Grammy. Me, I chose sledding. I was awesome.

Ben: The Mystical Garden. It is awesome. You should have seen it grow. It had about four stages. It kept on growing and growing and growing until it finally reached its final stage. It was really awesome to watch. It took 10 hours. I watched it close to the whole time. It was awesome. Almost the best thing of my life. Seriously, I'm not lying. I got it from Sam at Christmas. I must say it was my favorite Christmas gift of all.

Sam: If you've heard of our Wiggly Bridge, there's been a major overdose [Editor's note - I think he may mean "overhaul" here, but to be honest I'm not sure. Judging by the amount of screaming in the basement, maybe it was an overdose]. Now we call it Wiggly Intruder Bridge. If we don't go across the bridge and go to the table where Grammy's sitting, she grabs us and throws us on the bed. And usually we catch her and bring her to the ground! Timber!

Sam: Most of you probably don't have any idea what Wiggly Bridge is. It's where we identify who our guy is by symbols or just saying and then go across the bridge. The bridge is Grammy's leg, and it's also very wiggly. However, if it's a bad guy we identify ourselves as, she drops us on the ground. Here's an example: Let's say we say we're a troll and we start walking across and then she drops us on the ground!

Ben: I loved having Grammy and Buddy in town! When Buddy left I got pretty sad but I could still handle it. Grammy's the fun person to play Wiggly Bridge with.

Monday, January 4, 2010

An Elegant Evening

This fall, the girls in my accountability group decided that we needed a quality dress-up excursion this Christmas. Like suits, pantyhose (not worn together), do-the-hair dress up. So, after scouring the Christmas concert calendar for many weeks and not finding anything suitable, we decided to make our own party at the Sundance Tree Room!

And after several outfit-coordinating email exchanges ("You're really getting dressed up, right?" "Is Steve wearing his suit?" "Yes and you'd better wear a dress because I already curled my hair!") I think we ended up as a pretty snazzing looking set, don't you think? It's fun to get dressed up every once in a while.

The company was perfect and the food, as always, was amazing. I love the tree room. It's my own little slice of heaven. Elegant, delicious, just-a-little-snobby-but-not-over-the-top heaven.

After dinner, we took some couples' shots outside. I think this one turned out particularly nicely - Steve with eyes closed, me looking terrified or maybe just really confused and the bow on the wreath behind me apparently perched upon my head like a giant red hair bow! A winner of a photo.

Ah, yes, that's better. A suitably elegant photo for our very elegant evening.


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