Friday, March 30, 2012

Lunch on the Range

It's been a long, stressful week, so the Mozy Product Management team decided to blow off some steam today at lunch.  Literally.  And where does one go in Utah to release pent up aggression?  The gun range!

This was my first real experience shooting a gun, and I have to admit that I really enjoyed it.  I mean, I'm not going to go out and purchase a weapon or anything, but heading to the range was an awfully fun team outing (and way better than sticking around the office for endless meetings!).
In my head, I basically look like a Charlie's Angel in this shot
I actually managed to hit the target all 18 times, a minor miracle even at 10 or 15 yards.
I did enjoy the incongruity of driving to the gun range in my VW van and Birks :)
$20 and a Friday lunch hour very well spent!

My favorite part of the whole experience was checking out when the gun range guy looked at the three of us and said, "sooooo... you're computer people?"  Methinks we didn't blend :)

Thursday, March 29, 2012


Sorry about the gap in posts - Mom (Grammy) is in town and we have been keeping delightfully busy working outside in the sunshine and planting the garden and getting ready for spring (more posts to come on those topics).  But for now, here's an update on Toothless!

Sasha had her dentist appointment last week while I was away on business (I never knew how thoroughly delightful a business trip could be!  36 hours with nobody to tend to but myself was amazing) and our intrepid Grammy took care of the whole appointment.  She said that Sasha did very well and didn't mind the tooth-pulling much at all.  We suspect that the sedatives helped.

Having two lost teeth hasn't lost its thrill yet, and Sasha still goes around pointing to her gap with pride.  It's pretty dang cute.  Now we just need that rogue, early adult tooth to come on forward!

Sasha has been full of funny quotes lately and I've been trying to jot them down for your amusement (and to have stories to embarrass her in front of any potential future dates).  Enjoy!

Sasha asking if the swollen bump on her head, which we call a goose egg, has gone down:
Mom, does my duck goose look better?

After reading The Gingerbread Man for the hundredth time:
Mom, when I grow up, I want to be a gingerbread man, only with no hat.

Because clearly the biggest problem with the gingerbread man is his dorky hat, not the fact that he got eaten.

After seeing two rogue chihuahuas in our back yard... which was odd enough in and of itself:
Did you see those koala dogs?!?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Sasha's Spring Program

Sasha's participated in a rousing spring program at Kid's Village last week. Although all of the nursery rhyme songs were delightful, it was clearly Three Blind Mice that grabbed the performers' hearts. And who can blame them, really - any song about tail cutting is clearly worthy of enthusiasm.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


I don't want to go all Pollyanna sugary-sweet on you, but in the midst of the most challenging seasons I can imagine, I have been simply blown away by God's goodness and blessing. I don't want to forget God's astounding provision for me, for my kids, my marriage, my husband, my family, so here's the start of my gratitude list.  And these aren't just the little niceties like last Friday's team ski afternoon (way better than working!), this is the big, knock-my-socks-off stuff.
  • Justine - The blessing of having a live-in nanny who loves on my kids, cleans, cooks, and does a million other things to keep our home running smoothly is beyond description.  She keeps our home a welcoming and joyful place I am so grateful that God brought Justine into our family!
  • The Xbox - I bet you never thought I'd list the Xbox as one of my big items of gratitude, but thanks to the miracle of Xbox Live, Steve and the kids have been able to chat and play arcade games together every couple of days.  It's been a wonderful way for them to connect and hang out together even from 2,000 miles away.
  • Good health insurance - Oh my goodness.  If there's a patron saint of Aetna, I'll start celebrating his or her feast day because without him or her, we'd be selling our house.
  • Mom and Dad - Knowing that Steve has a safe, loving, comfortable home away from home for these months does my heart so much good.
  • Letters and notes - Opening my mailbox to find a hug or prayer or scripture from loved ones afar is such sustaining encouragement
  • Reading together - Every night as I put the girls to bed, Ben turns on my electric blanket so that it's all toasty for when the boys and I snuggle up together and read before bed. It has been sweet together time, and we've managed to finish up several very entertaining books!
  • Sam's sweetness - Sam is our least openly demonstrative child, but in the last couple of months he's astonished me with his sweetness to me and the girls. The occasional texts I get from him, just checking in or saying hi, and the extra chores and thoughtful help he's provided have been such sweet surprises.
  • Reaching out - We've had wonderful help from our community and church with everything from plumbing to pumping up bike tires to watching the kiddos, and not only am I super duper grateful for the help, but it's been accompanied by the unexpected pleasure of feeling more connected to our church and friends and neighbors. Although I would have thought that relying on others for the things that our family would normally do for ourselves would feel weird, it's actually been a lot of fun and really encouraging.
  • Meals from our church family - As Justine and I get used to our new norms and the rhythms of home, getting a couple of hot meals a week from our church family has been a huge schedule (and budget) relief. And our church cooks some good food!
  • Cross country skiing - Going up to the Nordic Center has been one of this year's delightful unexpected surprises. We've enjoyed several happy afternoons all together in the snow and sunshine and I'm grateful for kids who enjoy going out and romping as a family.

Monday, March 19, 2012


By her own edict, the girl once known as Sasha must now be referred to as "Toothless the Dragon" - she lost her first tooth last night!

Although this is perhaps not the age or order for tooth loss that I had anticipated, Sasha is thrilled and it's hard not to join in the celebration as she bounces around the house chanting, "I'm Toothless!  I'm Toothless!"

Just wait for Thursday's photos when she loses another 2 teeth - then she really will be Toothless!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

One Year a Morningstar!

Just when you thought that Pi Day couldn't get any cooler - it's also the anniversary of WanYing's Gotcha Day!  That's right, as March 14th, WanYing Hope Morningstar has been WanYing Hope Morningstar for one whole year.

It feels like an eternity since we welcomed this scared little one into our lives and hearts and family - she has blossomed and grown so much since we took this photo a year ago.

We celebrated WanYing's Gotcha Day with Panda Express and mini golf.  An authentic celebration of her heritage?  No.  A super-fun family evening? Totally - as evidenced by our girl's very silly photo.
After our Panda feast, we headed over to Trafalga with the Kytes and enjoyed a few rousing games of mini golf.  Mostly Laura and I just followed Sasha, WanYing, and Grady around as they completed the course as quickly as possible so as to arrive at their real destination -  the mini golf castle - while the other kids went off to play their own game so that their own big kid brand of cheating wouldn't be be disturbed by the little kid cheating.  So, yeah, it was pretty much a normal family game of mini golf.

WanYing's game was vastly improved by her strategic placement of the ball
WanYing shows off her patented "golfing with sucker" technique
Happy Gotcha Day WanYing!  We are so grateful that you're a part of our family, and so glad to celebrate our first year together!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

First Loose Tooth - Yikes!

Wednesday morning, 7 am:
Sasha runs in to Mommy's room:  Mommy, Mommy, I have a loose tooth!

Mommy tries to overcome her normal morning haze/denial that a new day has dawned quite so early:  Wha?

Sasha, undeterred my Mommy's slow uptake: Yeah, look!

Sasha violently wiggles not a middle tooth, but the tooth to the right side of the center two.

Mommy chokes down the panic that her four-year-old definitely has a loose tooth, and it's definitely not the tooth that's supposed to be loose first.  Trying not to alarm her child or squealch her enthusiasm for this monumentous day:  Oooh, yes, that is definitely loose.  Wow.  Ok, sweetie, let's just not wiggle it any more until we talk to the dentist, ok?

So, it turns out that one of Sasha's front adult teeth is coming in.  Strike that - it's in.  But it's behind her baby teeth, so it didn't push out the baby tooth in front and instead it made the one to its left wiggly.  In the words of the pediatric dentist, "Hmm... I've never seen one come in so early, or so far back." 

Great, just what I wanted to hear.

But wait, there's more!  Sasha is also missing an adult tooth - actually, the tooth that's wiggly is the one missing it's grown-up replacement.  Fortunately, her other front tooth seems to be coming in on the normal trajectory and timeframe (it should come in when she's about 7, instead of 4).

It's really no biggie.  Given the complications that could have been present with Sasha's cleft palate, these are all very manageable issues that, between orthodontia and implants (if needed) really won't affect her much.  It's just not something I wanted to deal with right now :)

The short-term plan is to extract the front two teeth to give the new adult tooth space to come in and hopefully work itself forward naturally.  She is going to have quite the adorable jack-o-lantern smile for a while!   Sasha is thrilled that Tooth Fairy (or, "Fairy Tooth" as she calls her) is going to come give her three whole dollars very soon.  And I'll just continue to be grateful for dental insurance.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Bluebird Day at the Canyons

Today Sam and I both took a day off and headed into the wilds of Park City to enjoy Sam's 5th grade passport.  This is a truly remarkable thing - every 5th grader in the state can get a coupon book that includes 3 free lift tickets at every resort in the state, all for $25.  Amazing!

Unfortunately, our rather crazy schedules and the abysmal lack of snow this year have conspired against us and we have only used two of the coupons.  We intend to right this obvious lapse in prioritization to the fullest extent of our abilities.
So today we headed off to The Canyons.  Sam had never skied there and it's probably been a decade since my last visit and we had a thoroughly enjoyable day.  Well, except for my $75 discount lift ticket (at the window it's $94!) it was perfect.

We both skied our legs out, got way too much sun, and had an altogether fantastic day.  And Sam was super-sweet and even allowed me to pause a few times for pictures :)

Here's Sam with the "bubble lift" behind him.  It's The Canyons' latest publicity move and seems pretty darn silly, but we enjoyed the novelty.
Sam inside the bubble.  Although we definitely didn't need any protection from wind or cold, we figured we should have the full bubble experience.
It was a jackets-unzipped, gloves-off-on-the-lift kind of day.  I do enjoy spring skiing.
The Canyons definitely has some killer views, especially when there's not a cloud in the sky!
I had such a great day with my biggest kid.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Happy International Women's Day!

From the Morningstar ladies to of you amazing women who have touched our lives, encouraged our hearts, and cared for us so tenderly - Happy International Women's Day!

Our celebration didn't exactly rival the hullabaloo we experienced on March 8th in Kazakhstan, but roses and treats at Starbucks were a reasonable festive substitute :)

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Sundance Nordic

One of the simple and sweet joys of this winter has been skiing with the kids up at the Sundance Nordic Center.  It's one of the few things that we can really, truly do all together (as long as a mommy towing two girls can keep up!) and I'm so grateful that the boys enjoy it, the girls tolerate the sled, and we all get to enjoy some exercise and beautiful Utah scenery all together.

This weekend we made it all the way up to the meadow, where we unpacked, enjoyed some snacks, and the strapped the girls' skis on so they could tool around a bit. The boys are doing super-well on their skis and the girls continue to impress us all with their gusto if not their balance.
WanYing was going, going, gone!
There were a couple of incidents - how many brothers does it take to put a ski back on, with boot attached?
I don't quite understand why everybody decided mittens were optional, but it wasn't worth fighting
Sam decides to melt some more snow, just in case we get extra thirsty
Oh, heavens, this child sure does love her skiing!
When Sasha decides she's going to enjoy something, she goes all out
After a while she decided that using Mommy's poles would improve her balance.  She was probably right.
I sure do adore these kiddos

The best part of this picture (well, besides the happy faces all together) is that I had fallen into a drift and was thigh deep in powder.  Oh well, it kept my height even with the kids'!
Home again, home again after a fine afternoon

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Such Big Girls

Sasha and WanYing had their 3 and 5 year checkups this week and, excepting the trauma of shots, both girls are doing marvelously well!  As Sasha will tell you (repeatedly), she has now gotten all of the shots she needs for Kindergarten, so at least I won't have to wrestle her down for any more immunizations for another 5 or 6 years.

WanYing is filling out nicely and our pediatrician is happy that her BMI is up.  She now weighs 29 lbs (33rd percentile) and is 37" tall (51st percentile, down from 90th a year ago).  So she's still tall (for our family) and skinny, but much healthier than her proportions were this time last year.

Sasha now weighs 36 lbs (30th percentile) and is 40" tall (14th percentile).  Like WanYing, only opposite, she's coming to center as well, with her height finally starting to catch up with her weight.

We compared marks on the height chart and Sasha and Sam are exactly tied for height at 5 years of age, while WanYing is a little taller than Ben was at 3.  Looks like we're destined for another set of siblings who are separated by two years and very little difference in height!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Tubing at Soldier Hollow

This weekend we got to introduce WanYing to one of our very favorite winter activities - tubing at Soldier Hollow!  Every year our church rents out the tubing hill at Soldier Hollow for an afternoon of snowy, fun-filled fellowship and I have to say it's one of our best traditions.

Clearly WanYing agrees!
The best part about tubing at Soldier Hollow is, of course, that you get all of the fun with none of the walking uphill
Sam was so sweet to his littlest sis, toting her around (although she often insisted on walking and dragging her tube herself)
Down they go!
WanYing was all smiles with the wind in her face and her goggles firmly in place
And of course our daredevil Sasha had a blast
This was Sasha's normal pose the whole way down, laughing like a crazy child
Ok, maybe Sasha wasn't the only crazy laugher
And just when you thought you couldn't make Soldier Hollow any better, there's more - we got to hang out with our Portland-based friend Cindy all weekend!
Thanks for a fantastic afternoon CenterPoint Church and Soldier Hollow!


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