Friday, February 29, 2008

Sam Looses his First Tooth!

It is a momentous day in the Morningstar household - Sam lost his first tooth! It has been loose forever but Sam decided to go the patient, natural route with his first loose tooth and let it come out on its own. And all of that hard work (or, rather, waiting) finally paid off today when his tooth popped out on its own accord as he walked home from school! Now to do a little market research to find out what the tooth fairy's going rate is...

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Adoption Update

There hasn't been a ton to tell you about our adoption process lately, but I wanted to give everybody a short update. As you remember, we finished our homestudy a couple of weeks ago and once we got the completed, notarized, finalized copies of our homestudy a little while later, we sent our homestudy and I-600A form to CIS (Citizenship and Immigration Services). It arrived at CIS in Salt Lake last week and now we're waiting for an invitation to go up to Salt Lake and get fingerprinted to complete our CIS paperwork.

Once that's done, CIS will issue us a 171H (isn't adoption paperwork fun!?!) and that's the last form that we need before it all gets apostilled (more about this later) in Salt Lake and our dossier is complete! We're looking at about a 6-9 month wait after our dossier is complete before we are invited to travel to Kazakhstan during which time our dossier is translated into Russian and approved by lots of embassies and we continue preparing for the arrival of our little girl! So, we're still on track to travel in fall or winter '08 - keep those prayers coming about our paperwork and process and the little girl who will soon be a Morningstar!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

A Four-Generation Visit

Like I said, I'm a little behind in the blogging, mostly because we've been busy entertaining visitors for 18 of the last 21 days! Gramma and Poppop (Spike and Sharon - or Mom and Dad to Steve) have been in town for a week now, enjoying the snow and Sam's birthday festivities, and before them we played host to Grammy, Buddy, and Poppoppop (Marcia, Scott, and Don - Mom, Dad, and Poppop to Jamie)!

We had a great time hanging out as four generations of Reinharts. Grammy and Buddy spent several days enjoying the Utah powder (we've had an amazing snow year) and Poppoppop accompanied them to the slopes several times to enjoy the mountain scenery.

We also took Grammy, Buddy, and Poppoppop tubing at Soldier Hollow! It was great. The day actually started out a little slow because it was a really warm afternoon (and a very busy day at Soldier Hollow - we didn't even make it into the 10 am session because it was sold out). In fact, on our first couple of runs down the hill we even stopped halfway down! But after that they brought out these large rigid plastic frisbee-like discs that the tubes sat on and then woah did we scream down the hill! And it was so warm that by the end of the afternoon we were just wearing our fleece and snow pants, having abandoned jackets, hats, and gloves in a heap at the bottom of the hill.

We also enjoyed a highlight of every year - the yurt dinner at Solitude! This is our 5th consecutive year doing the yurt dinner and it never fails to impress. This year we went with Mark and Cindy Thomas and Mark's dad and stepmom and it was a wonderful evening. We headed up to Solitude straight after church on Sunday and caught a half day of gorgeous skiing before Steve and I cross-country skied up to the yurt while Grammy, Buddy, and Poppoppop walked in (the snow was packed down enough that they thankfully didn't need snowshoes).

The yurt at Solitude (a Mongolian snow tent) has seating for around 20 people and holds a stove and prep area for the chef and server to prepare all five courses right in front of us! It's fabulous. This year we had a white bean and bacon soup, a crab cake on rosemary Gorgonzola polenta appetizer, a baby spinach and pear salad with smoked salmon vinaigrette dressing, beef shoulder tenderloin with a creamy mushroom dijon reduction and rosemary potatoes, and a black cake with blackberry and strawberry mousse. Yep, it was heavenly.

And our last big outing was to celebrate Sam's birthday at Buca Di Beppo! Sam just loves Buca because he says that the pizza there tastes just like it did in Italy (the first time we went, he ordered an extra kids' pizza for dessert instead of ice cream!) so in honor of Sam's 7th birthday we headed up to Salt Lake for dinner. As a special surprise, we even reserved the "kitchen table" which is just what it sounds like - a table in the kitchen! Between the ridiculous amount of food we ordered and the three free appetizers they brought us, we were eating off of Buca leftovers for days!

It was a really special trip and we are so blessed to be able to hang out with four generations of loved ones!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Sam the Super Kid

Sam was the Student of the Week at his school, and here are the answers that he gave for all of his favorite things to do!

My favorite color: Red
My favorite book: Stellaluna
My favorite ice cream flavor: Chocolate
I'm happiest when... it's Christmas
My proudest accomplishments: Doing my homework and doing a somersault
Top 10 Favorites:
- Sport: T-ball
- Hobby: Building Legos
- Toy: Transformers
- Holiday: Christmas
- TV Show: The A-Team
- Movie: Simpsons
- Food: Pizza
- Pet: Dog
- School Subject: Math
- Pizza Topping: Extra cheese

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Sam's 7th Birthday

Can you believe it - as of 5 am yesterday (Monday), Sam is 7 years old!

Sam's birthday festivities started as early as he could drag Mommy and Daddy out of bed and downstairs to open presents (which was a little after 7 am ). I'm sure that you all will be very surprised to hear about his presents - Legos! Aunt Susie and Uncle Chris sent 2 supercool sets, Mommy and Daddy pitched in with the Motorized Walking AT-AT, and when Gramma and Poppop's luggage finally arrived Monday night (nobody can lose luggage like they can!) a Droid Transporter and Pirates of the Caribbean bath supplies! Wow. Ben also pitched in with an assortment of Sam's favorites: a red playground ball, a box of fortune cookies, and the board game Mastermind. Leave it to a brother to pick out such great presents. And Grammy, Buddy, and Poppoppop gave Sam a Snap Circuits Extreme set when they visited last week (yes, I'm behind in the blogging)! It was quite the birthday morning.

So, while Daddy worked (President's Day is a big ski day), Mommy, Gramma, and Poppop stayed home to hang with the birthday boy and, of course, assemble Legos! The AT-AT Walker proved a formidable challenge, I'll admit, but Steve and I finally conquered it at midnight last night. And man is that thing cool! Those Lego people come up with the most amazing designs - the Walker walks forward and backwards and moves its head with deadly precision. I'm just glad that we have a Lego Luke Skywalker to throw a thermal detonator into its belly to protect us. As Sam demonstrated it to his friends, the catch phrase was "Prepare for your eyes to be amazed!" And they were, oh yes, they were.

And the day of joy ended with dinner at Sam's favorite restaurant - Tucanos! I know, an all-you-can-eat meat joint is an odd choice for a boy who is a veritable vegetarian (except for hot dogs and chicken nuggets), but Sam goes crazy for the "cheesy balls" (cheese bread ball appetizer thingies) and requested Tucanos for his birthday dinner. It was fantastic, as always. Sam ate so many cheesy balls that he didn't even have space left in his tummy for ice cream!

And today was Sam's birthday party. Aunt Sarah got Sam a set of Snap Circuits for Christmas, which, despite the unbelievably bad website, is a really cool product. It's like a solderless circuit board, like a breadboard, made for kids where the pieces snap together to create projects. Ok, it's hard to describe, but Sam decided that he wanted to have a Snap Circuits birthday party, so Steve found several cool little electronics projects for kids and we had a great time today playing with batteries and light bulbs and electromagnets and even making speakers out of Styrofoam plates. Yep, Sam is destined to be as cool as his Daddy :)

Happy Birthday, Sam!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Ben the VIP

Ben was VIP in his preschool class last week (he was much happier about it than this picture shows... for some reason that boy has trouble smiling on cue!). I thought you'd like to read all about the things he reported as his favorites:
Favorite color: blue
Favorite food: chocolate
Favorite song: Monster Mash (It was a graveyard smash!)
Favorite book: Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog
Favorite movie: Transformers
Favorite subject in school: The Etch-a-Sketch (it's one of the activities they can choose from)
Favorite way to help at home: feed the fish
When I grow up I want to be: a police officer

Friday, February 15, 2008

Ben's Dinner Plans

Ben: Mommy, can we eat at Polar Bear Express tonight?
Mommy: Um... I'm not sure exactly sure what that is.
Ben: You know, the restaurant by Smiths!
Mommy: Still not sure what we're talking about
Ben: The one with the fortune cookies!
Mommy: Oh, Panda Express!!!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Picking out room themes

Latest in the series of "things women do and really enjoy that Steve just simply can't understand and won't think about because that would make him go crazy," Mom and I spent several hours at Ikea last week picking out room themes and colors for our little girl! Woo hoo!

Mom and I had a great outing, and it was just so fun to look at duvets and curtains and furniture and realize that we're preparing a welcome for our daughter. Wow. I especially like the duvet - it's feminine without being "frou frou" (this was a specific direction from Steve). And, yes, I had to go with the fall colors (the red/multicolor), not the jewel tones like Mom wanted. I confess it, I just can't do fuchsia! And we're thinking that we'll paint her room (in the future, it will be formerly Sam's room) green - a soft, feminine, non-frou frou green.

We also picked out a bed that I really like. Again, feminine but not too fluffy - just cute! And, most importantly, Ikea-priced :)

So, there's much more to do, but we'll wait for the summer, for Sam to move into the shared room (formerly Ben's room) before his sister's room gets too girly for boy habitation. For now, it just feels great to have a few tangible purchases that say "yes, she's actually coming, and we'll be ready for her when she does!"

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Women in the EMBA

On Thursday I moderated a panel of female BYU Executive MBA graduates for prospective, current, and former EMBA students. A fantastic panel of ladies offered their insights on the program and how their graduate degree advanced their careers. I am so glad that BYU is putting more emphasis into recruiting women into its graduate business programs, and I love to be a part of attracting a more diverse class into the program. Plus the EMBA director gave us each an EMBA leather folio/notepad and you know that I'm a sucker for SWAG.

After the panel discussion, a student in the current Provo class came up to me to chat. After I congratulated her on surviving that first crazy semester, she said that she had to tell me that I have been quoted often in class. Of course, I had to know more and she explained that when Steve and I addressed the 2009 class this summer (it was sort of a "what I wish I knew when I started" talk from the student and the spouse perspective), one mantra that we shared really resonated with the class - "B's Earn Degrees!" Sigh. Does this count as leaving a legacy?


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