Sunday, October 30, 2011

Be Very Afraid

You know how on Mythbusters they always tell you not to try stuff at home because they're trained professionals? Apparently, we're not the sort of people who listen to those warnings...

...And the best part (besides Steve's delighted terror in this photo)? It's all in preparation for our four-year-old's Halloween costume.

For all you inquiring minds, it's just cornstarch and compressed air.  But I still don't recommend standing downwind from Sash tomorrow night.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Making of a Dragon Rider

I don't exactly remember how it happened - was it all Sasha's idea? Did Mom and Dad plant the notion in her little brain? Did it result from the natural metamorphosis of ideas? The world may never know. But one thing is for certain - our girl is going to be a kick-a dragon rider for Halloween this year. No more sissy Rainbow Fairies for this family! Here we document the making of a dragon rider, Morningstar style:
Step 1 - Start with 1 hand-me-down pink unicorn (sissy)

Step 2 - Dye pink unicorn green only to find out that, three days later, only Mommy's fingers remain green.  Give up on dying and go with fabric paint.  Also apply puffy paint scales because it feels awesome to channel your 80's puffy paint roots.

Step 3 - Sew claws and teeth onto unicorn-come-dragon

Step 4 - Make awesome dragon rider vest, buy aviator goggles in Disneyland, and repurpose brother's Jedi boots

Step 5 - Ham it up

Step 5, continued

Step 6 - Try it all out with the dragon

Step 6, continued

Step 7 - Take the whole ensemble out for a test-gallop

And, Step 8, because I know you were waiting for this one, add flame throwers and flash paper.  But you're just going to have to wait until Halloween for those pics!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Girl Medical Update

You know that things are humming along smoothly(ish) in Morningstarland when it's been four months since our last medical update!

WanYing had a checkup with her hand doctor at Shriner's earlier this month and her doc is very happy with her progress.  Dr. Wong is satisfied with the healing and mobility that WanYing has gained with her new hand and right now doesn't recommend any additional surgeries or even any physical therapy other than continuing to encourage her to use both hands as much as possible.

Sasha had her normal yearly panel appointment up at the Primary Children's Hospital Craniofacial Clinic a couple of months ago and her plastic surgeon, pediatric dentist, and ear-nose-throat doctors are all still very happy with her palate closure and the way her jaw is growing in. 

The orthodontist warns us to prepare for large orthodontic bills in our future :)

Also, Sasha's plastic surgeon thinks that Sasha is tongue-tied enough to warrant the little surgery to free her tongue.  Right now, Sash can't even lick her top lip, which can definitely interfere with her ability to make certain sounds.  So we're expecting to do that itty bitty surgery sometime within the next few months, but don't have any dates set yet.

The cool thing on the Sasha speech front is that Sash recently qualified for a cleft palate speech therapy study through the University of Utah.  The study was tailor made for us - preschoolers with cleft palates who can fail a speech test and pass a cognitive test.  Ding ding ding!

So, now that she's done her testing and baselines, in a couple of months she'll start speech therapy - twice a week, in our home, for ten weeks for free.  Wahoo!  She'll be pronouncing all of the letters in, "Sam's Fast Fan" in no time!

And that's about it for now.  Our girls are mercifully healthy and generally happy and we're budgeting far fewer for copays in 2012 - here's hoping!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Home Alone

While the kids were off enjoying Utah's natural wonders in Arches National Park, Mommy was left home alone for the first time in... um... a really long time. Like, a really, really long time. It was weird.

Here are my discoveries after three nights at home alone:
  • Did you know that, in the absence of kids, you can tidy up and things stay tidy all on their own?!? I had completely forgotten about the law of inertia.  It's extraordinary and really rather delightful that you can tidy up, leave for work, and come back to a still-tidy home.
  • When not hiking with wee ones, you can cover enough ground to tire yourself out because you're moving at well over our normal pace of 57 steps per hour (counting breaks and diversions)
  • I am completely incapable of cooking, unless combining soy milk and Lucky Charms counts of cooking.  I have apparently lost all meal preparation skills after 10 years of house husbandage.  I am totally fine with that.
  • When home alone I talk to the dog a lot 
  • And the worst part is that without the "normal" night noises of a household of 6 I am incapable of sleeping more than 5 hours a night.  Totally lame. 
  • Oh, and our dog was as restless in our empty house as I was.  After the first night of her waking up every few hours to bark at phantoms (totally uncool, especially since it took me hours to fall asleep in the first place) I decided that we had to hike at least 4 miles a day so we both could get a decent night's rest.  At least it worked for one of us :)
Chorney re-hydrates at a Dry Canyon drinking fountain

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Second Fall Break - Arches National Park

It all started with an email we received about a month ago from the boys' school (a wonderful school, but not always completely together on the details if you know what I mean) explaining that there was a mixup in the school calendar and Fall Break was actually the week after the dates published in the calendar. This was problematic for the Morningstar family, since we already had our Disneyland reservations for the incorrectly published earlier dates. So, this year, the Morningstars enjoyed two consecutive long weekends away!

Unfortunately, having already been gone the week before, another few days away from work wasn't going to work out for lame-o breadwinner Mommy, so super-intrepid Daddy took our pack down to Moab for a few days!

I think that they really mourned my absence, as evidenced by this conversation upon their return:
Mommy: Did you miss me while you were in Arches, Sam?
Sam: Umm... uuuhhh... I better not answer that

Ah, that Sam, always the charmer.

My pack was well cared for by several other church families who all met up at our favorite Moab campground and, judging by the pictures, they did limp along fairly well without me :)

They did all of the requisite favorite Arches family activities:
Leaping from high heights

Running down sand hills

Looking adorable

And lots of hiking (we always get more hiking photos of the little ones since they're generally tethered to us)

And, best of all, they all returned home safe and sound and reasonably sane.

We should do this two fall break thing more often...

Saturday, October 22, 2011


Despite (or perhaps because of) the lack of photographic evidence, the boys really did have a great time at Disneyland. And "on the way" home, we stopped in Legoland California for a little more fun, this time with (rightful) emphasis on magical hunks of plastic rather than frilly princesses.

This was actually my second trip to Legoland. In 2007, my darling friend Cindy and I took a long-weekend roadtrip with our boys out to Cali to hit Legoland. It was fantastic! The boys have changed a lot in those 4 years, but their love for Legos still burns bright.

One thing that hasn't changed is Sam's insatiable appetite for Miniland. This is the part of Legoland where they make miniature cityscapes out of Legos. For most of us, it's interesting for about 45 seconds. Sam could stay there for hours.

I remember during our first visit four years ago, after what seemed like 20 or 30 hours in Miniland (and time moves slowly in there), Ben blurted out, "Sam, why do you gotta like that boring stuff?" Not much has changed... except now they have Star Wars scenes in Miniland which is interesting... for about 45 seconds.

Sam is thrilled

Sam is thrilled.  Ben (unsuccessfully) feigns enthusiasm

Sam is thrilled (are you detecting a pattern?)

Finally the kids find something they can all enjoy (these are their fierce faces)

The big winner of the trip was undoubtedly driving the little Lego cars.  The irony of driving 12 hours in a real car only to drive little cars around for 2 minutes does not escape me, but the kids liked it, so who am I to judge?

Ben's driving is... terrifying.  He never really got the hang of the whole turning radius concept and had to be rescued several times by the handlers.  I'm still not sure whether or not he crashed on purpose jut for the fun of it, but regardless I'm grateful that he's only halfway to his driver's license.

Ben prefers trial and error to taking the sign's word for it that the road isn't wide enough for a u-turn

Collision #2

Sam, on the other hand, puttered happily around the course with nary a bump to the other children's cars

Sasha matched Ben accident-for-accident.  No surprises there, those two are peas in a pod!

WanYing was the happiest of all of our drivers, which is kind of funny considering her car didn't move.

Sasha and Sam proudly display their licenses.  Well done, kiddos!
We had a great day at Legoland, and it was a perfect capstone to a fantastic family getaway.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Assorted Disneyland Adorableness

This is my last post filled with gratuitous Disneyland cuteness, I promise... but I just couldn't resist sharing these! I recognize that the boys are rather conspicuously absent from the majority of our Disneyland shots. I blame this on a few factors:
  1. They don't really like having their photos taken, especially with princesses or large stuffed animals.  Note that in this particular "family" picture, Sam is missing and Ben is wearing a helmet and sticking a sword into his eye.  Charming.
  2. They are fleet of foot when cameras come out
  3. They spend most of their time on rides, which are hard to photograph
But, never you fear, our Legoland shots figure the male Morningstars prominently!
I totally love this progression of shots on the California Adventure Precariously Swinging Ferris Wheel (it probably has another name, but darned if I know what it is):
Step 1 - WanYing isn't so sure about this but pretends to enjoy it

Step 2 - WanYing braces herself

Step 3 - Hold me, Mom!

Step 4 - Sasha and Sam can't get enough.  Ever.

Rock hard ice cream sandwiches are really hard to eat when you're missing all of your front teeth
A study in differences:
The girls eagerly anticipate It's a Small World.  Daddy pretends to, but I see fear in those eyes.

The boys unashamedly display their terror

Pin trading was a big theme for Ben this trip and he even had one that the big time traders were interested in (although he wisely decided to keep it)

Daddy's Halloween costume

Mommy clearly loves the teacups

Now that's a loving grandfather!

WanYing may not have liked the fuzzy characters (who can blame her?) but she loved the princesses!

Sigh.  I love these girls!

Another set of giant princess smiles

It was a wonderful trip... although I think maybe it's time to take a little Disney hiatus and maybe visit some place real next...


Related Posts with Thumbnails