Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Ski Season Dawns

Well, it's not ski season quite yet, but the Morningstars are ready! Steve just got Ben his first pair of skis and we couldn't decide which photo best encapsulated the sheer joy of it all, so you get to see all of them :)And not to be outdone by Ben's crazy poses, check out Sam showing off his new boots!Now all we need is snow.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Ah, Potty Training

Sasha has been in quasi-potty training since we first met in January. She uses the potty regularly and successfully, but we hadn't made the leap to underwear - until now.

The only reasonable explication I can come up with for putting Sasha in underwear is that Steve is a masochist... or maybe that he really likes the smell of carpet cleaner. Regardless, we have taken the plunge - Sasha is in underwear!

I struggle to find the right words to describe our first week of potty training. I wish there was one word that encapsulates the moments of sheer elation, large swaths of time spent oscillating between anger and despair, and lots and lots of laundry. Oh, wait, there is one such word: toddler.

As far as the first week of potty training goes, I think we're doing pretty well. There was a special, distinctive look of desperation in Steve's eyes when I got home today, but I think he'll pull through.

Oh, and I believe that the doll is fully potty trained now, Sasha has been giving her lots of positive reinforcement. The first draft of this blog post was proud to report that the doll hadn't yet taken a bath in the potty, but Steve corrected that overly optimistic report. I only wish that the doll being dunked into the toilet head first was the grossest thing's happened this week.

Saturday, September 26, 2009


Steve has created a monster - a Kindermusicaholic!

A few weeks ago, Sasha was completing her assessment with Kids on the Move, a local early intervention program, and the coordinator mentioned that they had a Kindermusic class starting up that Sasha could participate in. Knowing Sasha's love for all things musical (second only to her love for all things K-9), we signed her up immediately.

Now we're hard-pressed to sit down for two minutes before a Kindermusic book and/or shaker is thrust upon us. I usually wear out after thee repetitions of "Bluebird, bluebird, sing good morning" and "Look at that horse, that horse is as yellow as he can be" but Steve can go on for nigh forever. What a dad.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Kissy Face

Sasha has truly perfected her kissy face. This is the last thing I see every morning as I leave the house - milk-soaked toddler face begging for one more kiss before I go. Love like that will last you through the whole day.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Pin-up Boys Make National News

So I'm eating lunch at work, perusing CNN.com, and what to my wondering eyes does appear? A link to an article about the nearly-nude geezer calendar inspired by my grandfather - on the CNN main page. Can you believe it?!?

I'm guessing that they probably heard about it first on this blog, CNN is known for getting their news from proud family blogs.

Here's a link to the article that was on CNN. Order your calendar today at http://www.atlanticshores.com!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Doll Bed Assembly

Greater love hath no brother than this, that he assemble a doll bed for his sister.

Well, given Sam's penchant for construction and deconstruction, I guess that his love for all things Ikea shouldn't be surprising, especially when they can be fully assembled in a single sitting and with all tools enclosed in one magical shrink-wrapped package!

I just can't figure out why we spent all that money on a big girl bed for Sasha - she would have been just as happy with a $20 doll bed!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Techology, Improving Lives

I was not prepared for this...

I could give you all of the reasons - Steve got a good rebate on a new phone and we already had unlimited family texting so adding another line was super cheap - but at the end of the day the reality is that my children have their own mobile phone.

And boy do they use it! Here is a sample of yesterday's text messages from Sam and Ben:
  • Do you want to text talk?
  • text text text
  • Whats the diffrence between the sun and bread?one rises east the other from the yeast.
  • We3ddewmegknpkhn,,jaaddkekeh
Blessed technology, how it improves our lives.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

At the Zoo

Not just a marginal Paul Simon song - it's also how we spent our Monday evening!

We've been meaning to get to the zoo to see veritable (well, make that literal) menagerie of baby animals born this summer and on Monday we finally made it to the Hogle Zoo. And boy were they cute! We saw the baby lynx, baby elephant, baby tiger cubs, and baby giraffe. I think that the elephant, born in mid-August, probably got the biggest "awwwwww" factor, although unsurprisingly the wolf was Sasha's favorite exhibit. I think she's the only little girl in the history of the world who goes up to the wolf enclosure and says, "awwwww, so sweet!" The girl loves her dogs!

We tried to take the traditional photo at the lion drinking fountain, however, and Sasha would have none of it despite her normal passion for all things watery. The man-eating wolf is adorable, the cartoon lion with a drinking fountain in its mouth is terrifying. Whatever.

We finished off our rather rainy but still delightful evening at the zoo with a spin around the carousel. I was so proud of Sash - she actually consented to ride on an animal, although she wanted nothing to do with the zebra I suggested and instead went straight for the snow leopard. Now that I think about it, aren't snow leopards indigenous to Kazakhstan? Let me check... yep, the internet says yes! Go ethnic heritage!

Ben chose a gorilla carousel animal; so appropriate for our little monkey. Sam went with the elephant, which was so big that he had to climb onto it from the saddle of the cheetah next to it! And we all had a fantastic time. Boy do I love a good carousel.

We rounded out the evening with dinner at Buca di Beppo, a family favorite, where Sam successfully secured the kitchen table using his good looks and natural charm. As you may have guessed from the very clever name, the table is... in the kitchen. You get to see the chefs preparing the food and you get a lot of special attention from the servers, which is a total thrill for the kids.

And as if it could get any better, we spent the night in a hotel! Steve and I had a free night voucher at Salt Lake hotel that was about to expire and since I had to be in the city at 7 am Tuesday morning we figured that there was no time like the present to spend a free night in Salt Lake! We swam in the pool, lazed in the hot tub, watched some Disney Channel on TV - it was heaven :) Shew, we did manage to pack a lot into a single evening, but, then, would you expect anything less from us?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

First Day of Work

Yesterday was my first day of work at inContact! "But wait," you say, "haven't you worked at inContact since January?" Well done, astute reader! The answer is yes... and no.

I've been consulting at inContact since January on a six month contract (six months takes a lot longer when you're in Kazakhstan for 9 weeks) and on Monday I started as a full-time employee. The consulting arrangement has been really good, but I do confess that it will be pleasant to get paid to not work on Federal holidays again :)

I also changed positions at inContact, moving from Product Management to Program Management. As Steve tells it, I went from one cryptically-named job that he can never explain to anybody to another job with a confusing and very similar-sounding title that he won't be able to explain either. The gist of the job change is that I'll be working more closely with the developers now, which is something I really enjoy, and the planning that I'll do is slightly more tactical than the more strategic roadmapping I did in Product Management. There, does that clear it all up? Yeah, that's why when people ask what I do, I just tell them, "I'm in software."

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Abounding in Fizzdom

Last week, Ben came home from church announcing that he was going to use his allowance to purchase Diet Coke and "Mintos". His allowance is his to spend however he pleases, so later that day we visited Target and he purchased more Diet Coke and Mentos than any six-year-old should ever have. Trust me, I tried to talk him into purchasing only one package, to no avail.

We spent the next happy minutes enjoying the rather explosive effects of the combination:And where did our son learn about combining Diet Coke and Mentos? Why, Sunday School, of course!

The kids are studying wisdom in Upstreet (Children's Church) and there was an unfortunate "misunderstanding" where Pastor Chris mixed up wisdom and fizzdom. It could happen to anybody. Clearly the object lesson made quite the impression on our boys!

Friday, September 11, 2009


We have this slight Birkenstock obsession in our house, and I have to say that Sasha wears her Birks like a pro! They're still a little big, but that just means that she'll get to wear them for that much longer :)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Mom, You've Just Gotta Blog About This!

You've gotta get suspicious when your oldest son comes running into the house shrieking, "Mom, Mom, where's the camera!?! I've got to get a picture of this for the blog!"

Here's Ben's verbatim reflection on the big ride after the fact:
I hated the bush at the end because it felt like thorns were being put into me. Other than that, besides falling off the jump, it was really quite fun!
There is hope for Ben's good sense, however - he was wise enough not to take Cappy (that's the little scooter's name) up the slide again for a second attempt.

Photography by Sam

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Sam be a Fine Pirate

This weekend good friends of the family had a party at Pirate Island Pizza. We have been "patiently" awaiting the restaurant's opening for months and months and it was a great thrill for all to finally get to visit. Steve and the kids loved it... I was a little disappointed because it's really just a very cool front for an arcade (this was in no way disappointing to the rest of the family) but it was nicer than Chuck-E-Cheese and had way better pizza so I'm sure we'll return often.

My favorite part of the whole experience (besides catching up with friends) was Sam's simply fantastic ponytail. I never got tired of seeing my ponytailed eldest child stroll into the room and yell, "where be my rum?"

Good times.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Morningstars on the Vineyard, Then and Now

It's been 11 years since our last trip to Martha's Vineyard - as honeymooners! Just look at these crazy newlyweds... and why do I have exactly the same haircut as I did 11 years ago? Some things never change (our love, Jamie's hair) and some things apparently change a lot (Steve's hair and pretty much every other detail of our lives).

Martha's Vineyard will always have a special place in our hearts and we had a wonderful time sharing the Vineyard experience with our kids - hopefully it's not another 11 years until we make it back again! Egads - in 11 years Sam will be the same age I was when we got married!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Last Days on the Vineyard

Our last two days on Martha's Vineyard were rainy, but fortunately we had already gotten in so much fantastic beach time that nobody minded lazing around the house eating potato chips (yes, there was a fried potato theme to our trip).

Saturday was my cousin's wedding and we had a really fantastic time celebrating with the family. The ceremony was at the Old Whaling Church in Edgartown, a beautiful church built in the mid-1800's, and the reception was at a historic home next door. Everything was perfect, well... I guess with the exception of the weather - beautiful couple, tons o' love, great time hanging out with our family, excellent food, and impeccable gummy lobsters and Tiny Chiclets (they had a little candy bar at the wedding and I consumed disgusting quantities of gummy lobsters and Tiny Chiclets).

Sunday we spent some time in Edgartown dodging raindrops and waiting for our ferry reservation back to the Cape. Actually, the weather cleared up pretty nicely by the afternoon and we spent some time at the Edgartown lighthouse polishing off the remaining gummy lobsters and penguins from the wedding. I far preferred the lobsters, but Sasha had a soft spot for the penguins, hence her very dark mouth in the photo below.We finished off the day with a little more romping at State Beach (an 8:45 ferry leaves plenty of time for romping) and then we were off! As you probably gathered from the past week's posts, we had a really wonderful vacation. It was everything a trip to the beach should be - plenty of sun and surf, great time with family, and miraculous little email time (although I did have to keep up with work a little while we were gone).

We spent the night in Providence before our flight on Monday and managed to see what I believe is the major tourist attraction in Providence - the Hasbro toy company world headquarters. Actually, the headquarters themselves weren't that cool, but the Potato Heads outside were!See, you just knew I would find a way to weave potatoes into each post :)

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Obama Sighting

Day 6
Today I went to aquinnah beach. The waves were a perfection from the Atlantic ocean. Lunch time! My grandfather saw president obama at the lighthouse on his way to get lunch from the car.
Sam's journal entry on Aquinnah Beach sums it up well, it was a perfect beach day - great waves, lots of rocks to play on, beautiful cliffs in the background, and President Obama! Ok, I guess that one deserves some more explanation.

The Obamas were vacationing on the Vineyard the same week were were there (copycats) and although we saw lots of evidence of their presence on the island, we only saw them in person on Thursday at Aquinnah. My dad went up to the car to grab lunch and while in the parking lot he saw lots of commotion at the Gay Head lighthouse. He stuck around for a few moments and saw lots of secret service (oops, I mean "vacationers" with giant binoculars continually scanning the crowd) and then a few minutes later the entire Obama family walked down from the lighthouse! Too cool!

We got the chance to dine Thursday night with another set of VIPs - my aunt and uncle! It was great to catch up with the family we see far too infrequently and we snapped some classic shots of the family at dinner:
Can't you just hear the mommy-nagging now? "Ok, one more and this time without Ben giving Sam bunny ears!"They are masters at obeying the letter of the law.
Day 7
Today I went to state beach. it.......was........freezing. There was a "secret" service helicopter, how does it count a secret service if it says secret service inside?
Friday was our last quality beach day before the rain blew in and it was a chilly one. As you can see, Ben spent quite a bit of time working on his "muscles" and we got in a little more playtime with the cousins while Steve practiced with the stunt kite.And, yes, Sam's report is accurate, we did see a Secret Service helicopter scanning the beach with a light board on the inside that read "U.S. Secret Service." I guess they figured everybody would know they were some kind of Presidential security detail so they might as well just admit it!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Beach, Swings, Lobster, and Lots of Photos

Day 4
Today I went to south beach. The waves were so masive that we couldn't go into the water half the time. We built mini-pools with our cousins. Our cousins names are sennica and colter.
The best part about traveling to Martha's Vineyard was that my mom's whole side of the family was there, too, so we got to hang out for a whole week with family we haven't seen in years. Of course, a week wasn't nearly long enough, but it was a start :)
Day 5
Today I went to state beach. The waves were more calm than Menemsha beach, but there was pretty decent wind, enough to make my Dad's kite line break, causing the kite to fall in the water.
The major excitement of our Wednesday on the Vineyard was definitely Steve's swim to rescue his errant kite. Like Sam's journal entry says, the wind was very strong at State Beach that morning and just as Steve was getting a new kite into the air (clarification - a "new to us" kite, it's one that he brought home from my grandfather's estate) the line broke off at the bridle! Unsurprisingly, a semi-waterlogged kite in strong wind moves very quickly, but with the grace and speed of a dolphin (or maybe a manatee... whatever...) Steve leaped atop a boogie board, doggedly pursued his quarry, and (eventually) returned to the beach victorious! As you can see from the little dot in the picture that is Steve, it was a long swim. Don't worry, he replenished his energy stores with plenty of potato chips after returning to shore - why is it that potato chips taste so incredibly good at the seashore? I singlehandedly consumed several bags in the course of our week in search of the answer, but maybe it's just one of those unanswerable mysteries.

After the beach we returned home for an afternoon nap and more potato chips and took a few turns on the neighbor's tire swing. How many photos of one stinking tire swing can a proud mama take? With kids this cute, dozens. Here are my favorites:I know - they're so stinking cute! Trust me, selecting the "best" four photos for this post was no small task.

In the evening we headed out to the Gay Head lighthouse to see the cliffs and take more photos (are you detecting a theme? Maybe getting an SLR camera wasn't such a good idea...) before heading to Menemsha for a lobster dinner. What a day!

Another nature/nurture question resolved - the urge to climb is definitely learned!

One happy Ben and Grammy

The whole gang - Daddy, Buddy, Sam, Sasha, Mommy, Grammy, Ben!

Even food couldn't tear Sam's attention away from his new book, The Dangerous Book for Boys

It's hard to determine which Sasha enjoyed more, the lobster meat or the lobster claws


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