Thursday, December 18, 2008

Christmas Errands

Mom: Asher, you're driving me CRAZY! Let's go!
Asher: No, I NOT drive you crazy. I make you sad.

Between discussions like these and Luke lifting up his shirt for me to blow on in tummy (in the middle of Wal-Mart), I'm glad my holiday shopping is almost done.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Looking for a Good Christmas Album?

So, I heard an interview with the band members of Sixpence None the Richer on NPR about their holiday album, The Dawn of Grace. (Did you know they were a Christian band? Me either.)

I haven't bought a holiday album since 2004, but I loved the snipets I heard on the interview, which I couldn't find on

If you like a little female indie rock, my guess is you'll enjoy this album. My favorites:
"O Come, O Come, Emmanuel"--which reminds me, Nate, what about Emmanuel for a boy?--um, not that we're expecting. We just have a hard time agreeing on names. Have you met Luke/Thor?
"Some Children See Him"--if I can find the music, I think this would make a church Christmas program
"Riu, Riu, Riu"--even if I can't tell if she's singing in Portuguese or Spanish
"River"--because my friend, Heather, taught me to appreciate a little Joni Mitchell

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Humpty Dumpty

Hmmm, the amount of blogging I do is directly proportional to the amount of grading I have to do. Coincidence?

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Scenes from a Marriage: Mr. Fix-it

last week

Emily: Whoa! You totally fixed that train bridge! I've tried to fix it like 4 times. How did you do it?

Nate: With this special's called wood glue.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

A Good Enough Christmas

I guess we all feel differently about the holidays.

My friend, Jessica, said a few weeks ago, "I was so excited. While I was driving, I found the Christmas station. It's not even Thanksgiving yet."
When I heard the Christmas station, I thought, "NO! Christmas station, go away! It's not time for you to make me feel guilty yet!"

I was talking to a family member, and she said, "I don't hate Christmas. I just feel hopeless about them."

That's exactly how I feel about Christmas.
It'll probably be a disaster.

You see, I can't decorate, can't make crafts, can't get a Christmas card out before Martin Luther King, Jr Day because I get myself all worked up that nothing is going to look right, which makes me so overwhelmed that I don't know where to start, so I wait until the last minute, and well, when you wait until the last minute to plan, nothing looks right (how's that for a run-on!). I end up feeling mean and crabby until January 2nd when the completely self-imposed pressure is off.

Last year, I realized this probably wasn't normal. I mean, why would the rest of the Christian world continually shift into over-drive year after year to get this holiday done if SOMEONE SOMEWHERE wasn't getting some pleasure from it.

So, for the holidays this year, I got myself a little therapy and have decided that I need to learn to buck up and enjoy the holidays (because really, there's no need to feel this way. My life is seriously, so blessed.) .

This year, our family is going to have a Good Enough Christmas. Things aren't going to be perfect; they're going to be good enough. And, we'll all enjoy it, darn it.

Here's how we've been celebrating our "Good Enough" holiday season:
1. This is one of our top 2 Christmas photos for the Christmas card. How did we pick the top 2? They're the only photos that have the kids looking in the same general direction.

Every year, I want a family picture with haircuts, new outfits, a professional photographer, and a killer background (um, I've never actually gotten all these things done, just wished I had). This year, after dinner one night, we dressed the kids in Sunday clothes, put on our pajamas, and took photos of just the kids because, well, they're the cutest of our bunch.

2. This is our grocery store pre-made, completely Good Enough Christmas gingerbread train.
Now, we have a Christmas tradition in the making (because we didn't have any before). I would have been so ornery if I had spent time baking the gingerbread, making the icing, and buying the candy because our Christmas train decorating night ended up consisting of me putting together the train while my toddler put candy in his mouth by the fistfuls, my preschooler poured colored sugar in his hand and licked it up over and over again all while my husband watched football.

3. While the tradition of picking out a real tree and having that pine smell is lovely, we're a fake tree family now.

In a dry climate, there is no other way. No needles to vacuum all season long. The tree is crooked, the ornaments are all discarded from our moms, and my kids have already broken 9 of them. But, it's up, and if you squint and turn your head a bit to the left, it looks more than Good Enough.

4. I even tried making a craft!
I never make crafts because I don't think they look good. This year, I've decided to make one just for the joy of making something...even if it's not done until February and it still won't look quite as good as anything many of my friends could whip up in an hour.

So, my experiment is going well, and we'll keep doing these Christmassy things. I've just changed my criteria. Instead of shooting for perfect, I'm just trying to enjoy what we're doing and not worry about the outcome.

Enjoying them makes them Good Enough, and I've been pleasantly surprised to find out that while we're doing things Good Enough, there are unexpected happy moments. And, it's in those moments that Christmas feels more than Good Enough. It feels happy.

What are your tricks for a Good Enough Christmas?

Thursday, December 4, 2008

And now for something completely different!!

What happens when the French and Canadian militaries collaborate on a project?

Asher gives this video a great big "Oh No!" whenever I play it for him.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Things We're Grateful For...

This isn't a comprehensive list...In fact, if there's not a corresponding picture, it's not here (because that list would be too long and I'm lazy like that).

brotherly love (whether it's wanted or not)

baths (with or without clothes)

our dog (best dog ever because she's only our dog when we go out in the backyard and pull down the broken fence between our yard and the neighbors, so Picca can come over)

patient grandparents (because they pretty much save the day at least once a week)

Monday, November 24, 2008

Thanksgiving Traditions

Living in Boston for the first years of our marriage, we never had the money to fly back home for Thanksgiving and Christmas (um, about half those years, we didn't have the money to fly back for either holiday). So, we developed a few traditions for our little family: Nate's Marshmallow Salad, my friend's sweet potato casserole, and I like to listen to Alice's Resturant. I'll have to get the boys in on this last tradition because Nate doesn't share my love of this song. But, it's not Thanksgiving for me until I've sung along with it.

My dad introduced me to Alice's Resturant one Thanksgiving when I was in high school. It's a great little war protest song. Well, it's not little--the shortest version is 10 minutes, the longest is 27 minutes.

It's a perfect tradition for our crazy liberal family and reminds me how grateful I am to live in this country, where we are allowed to criticize, protest, and write freely.

So, remember, you can get anything you want at Alice's Resturant. (And, Happy Thanksgiving!)

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Using Mom's Tools Against Her

Asher: Mom, can we go to the choo-choo train park today?

Mom: Hmmm, maybe later.

Mom: Asher, will you please take your medicine?
Asher: Hmmm, maybe later.

Luke: qokldglkn, ldaoilkewnm ak ljkewroiu
Mom: (half-listening) Really?

Mom: Luke, look at the airplane up in the sky?
Luke: (half-listening) Really? (while running to the car)

Sunday, November 16, 2008

This weekend...

Asher's prayer:
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for my school, my friends, my family, my toy trains, the library, the DVD store, and please help me to be a good boy. Amen.

Luke learned that drinking toilet water is a satisfying way to quench one's thirst and will elicit squeals of delight from preschoolers. (And, we wonder why he often suffers from the "Lukey pukies.")

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Scenes from a Marriage: Medication

After I had hurt my back picking up toys...

Nate: So, did my muscle relaxer help?

Emily: Really, it doesn't feel any different.

Nate: Actually, I wasn't sure if that was my muscle relaxer prescription or my high blood pressure medication.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Happy Halloween!

I have taken more videos of Luke than I care to admit in an attempt to get him to do the trick Nate taught him for Halloween.

Nate: Luke, are you a lion?

For the past couple days, the conversation goes like this:
Emily: Luke, are you a lion?
Luke: Noo, alk asdklfhoi woiuqm asldoigun aslkoiznh. (an explanation continues for 1 minute)

Here's the first family portrait we've had done since last Christmas (thanks, Anna!). I'm seriously considering using it as a Christmas picture. Just think, I could get my cards out BEFORE the holidays are over.

I'm in my traditional (since college, at least) Marge Simpson costume. Nate got his from Rachel's witty comment on our blog. His brown t-shirt says "Economy," and that's a new (don't worry) toilet seat around his head.

Who knows when we'll get Asher to forget about his choo-choo train conductor costume! The kid kept the jacket, hat, and tie on all night--keep in mind, the high was 95 degrees here yesterday.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

I know, you just can't wait...

Here's Asher in part of his costume (yeah, he won't wear a tie for Church, but he will wear one for a Halloween costume):

And, then, of course, there's Luke (we're working on his ferocious roar).

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Tricky Luke

Should I tell Luke that you're supposed to wear a lampshade, not a toilet seat?

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Conversations with the Boys

Asher "making dinner" in the bathtub

Mom: Asher, are you making some dinner?
Asher: yeah!
Mom: What are you making?
Asher: Water!
Mom: Oh, water sounds good. Could you make me some noodles, too?
Asher: No, Mom. Just water.

4:45 am, Luke has been crying in his bed…

Luke: Mom?
Luke: Show?
Luke: OK!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Dr. Ray, Our New Family Dentist

How lucky am I to have a cousin who's a dentist?

I've never been a fan of going to the dentist. I only go when something is wrong, which happened a couple months ago. So, I went to a good dentist up the street. Nice guy, good work, but I thought I really should take my dental needs to my cousin, Peter (and not just because I have this running theme on my blog about chatting about my extended family). So, this week, after a month of a really bad tooth, I reached the tipping point and called Peter's office.

My sister, Rachel, graciously watched the boys, and I got to visit with my cousin AND get my tooth fixed. Frankly, it was the most fun I've had at the dentist's...

And, Pete is REALLY good (it helps that he's seen me cry about less than a cavity; actually, he's seen me cry about a lot more than a cavity, too.). I didn't even feel the novicane shot, got that filling done, and it hasn't given me a problem since.

So, you Gilbert-area people should totally go seen Peter, er...Dr. Ray. Gosh, even those of you who don't live in Gilbert should go see him because really, when was the last time you didn't feel the pinch of the novicane shot?

Now, if I could just relearn to chew on the left side, I'd be all set.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Feminist Genealogy

I wrote a post about my great-grandmother at my Mormon feminist website today.

Family members, I'd particularly love to hear your input and stories.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Pa's Paintings

Because contributing to three blogs isn't enough...

My sister started this blog to try and get all of our grandpa's paintings chronicled in one place. He was an inspired artist, and we thought it's be fun to have a catalog of all of his pieces.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Aunt Brooke's Blankets

So, my aunt went and started her own business a bit ago with her own logo and website. How cool is my entrepreneurial aunt?!

We family members have been reaping the rewards by getting these super cute blankets that are so soft. I've given a couple as gifts, and I bought one for Luke (because we, ahem, want to support Aunt Brooke's business--at least, that's how I justified it) that I love so much.

Well, I've decided its now my blanket, even though Asher tried to steal it today. Geeze! Like he doesn't have his own blanket!

With the cute wrapping and gift tag, these blankets are such perfect baby gifts. I can't wait to have more friends have babies!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Who needs Mr. Darcy?

I got to go to Boston last weekend for an Exponent II retreat and to see some friends. It was so much fun! I hate to brag, but really, I have lovely and amazing friends (um, some of you clearly need to get blogs--how else will people know a. you exist and b. more importantly, that you're one of my lovely and amazing friends?). I got to see many (but sadly, not all--note to self: rent a car next time) in Boston, and then, I had several holding down the fort for me in Phoenix. Seriously, so blessed!

Nate wasn't too excited about me going, but he was nice when the time came and did a great job keeping the boys alive. That goose egg on Luke's head? Um, that happened the morning I got back from the retreat and watched him tumble out of the grocery cart head first.

Also, I got to read an entire novel this weekend (love airplane travel w/o kids) and thoroughly enjoyed it because it has a heroine and hero I sincerely admire. I've often suspected that I'm the only Mormon woman who isn't a fan of Pride and Prejudice and who doesn't wish Mr. Darcy would come and marry me. But, I am a fan of Captain Jack Elliot, and well, Nate is my Jack Elliot.
Oh, the picture? That's the house across the street from us in our old house. It's the only picture I took this weekend that makes me happy that I live in Phoenix now. (Incidentally, there are lots of reasons I'm happy to live in Phoenix now, but it's hard to take pictures of the snow, the lack of drive-thrus, and the cost of living in Boston or conversely, an Arizona sunset and all the family that surrounds us.) I figure I'll spare us all the pictures of the drug dealer's home (he lived under the stairs of the house next door and the prostitute's house who lived down the street.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Why I Love Arizona (even when it's 110+ degrees)

Ok, so I've totally stopped doing this series because frankly, I haven't loved Arizona for about a month and a half. I'm tired of sweating all. the. time. I'm tired of hearing the air conditioner chugging away all day to keep it below 80 degrees. (Sometimes it succeeds)

Like the Bostonian in March (or April--yikes!) who can't imagine a time when they won't need their scarves tied around their head, a Phoenician in September can't imagine a time when they will ever want any sort of bed covering over them at night.

But, my sister, Rachel has inspired me with her post about Carolina's, a family favorite. It's in downtown Phoenix, Mojave and 12th Street, in a pretty rough neighborhood. Their tortillas are SO good and huge! But, I'm with Rachel, the bean and potato burrito is to die for!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

He taught me how to praise my god and still play rock and roll

Love blog hopping (which I prefer to the term, stalking, though I'm completely guilty of that, too. But really, is it stalking if you don't know them? Or, is it just pathetic?)--anyway, how else would I have found this?

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Grandma Wanda and the Choo-Choo Trains

Some of our faithful readers (all three of them) may have noticed that Asher has a bit of a train obsession. Grandma Judy is working on a book for Asher (she makes one for each of the grandkids with a particular theme when they are about 3), and it's about Asher and trains.

Up in Boulder City, they have a full size train that runs on the weekend. We also hadn't been up to see Grandma Wanda for a while, so on Thursday, we decided to crash a trip up there that Judy and Starr had planned (are we fun and spontaneous or what?!). Asher was the happiest kid ever--he even looked full on at the camera and smiled.

The boys (all of them) loved sitting by Grandma Wanda on the train.
We even got a picture to put in Nate's Father's Day picture frame (finally).
Asher and Luke were so good on the driving part of the trip, and it was so nice to see Grandma Wanda, Susan and Larry. We may go on vacation more often!

Nothing is better than a Grandma Wanda snuggle!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Nate is winning the battle...

...but I will win the war.

Ah, some blogger I am! I have managed to leave off the details of the fight Nate and I had to name Luke.

Nate wanted to name Luke, "Thor." I thought that was a dumb name. We're not Norse--we're barely Scandanavian. (Of course, Nate counters, "Well, we're not Jewish, and we have a kid named, 'Asher.'") would you feel calling out for "Thor" in the mall playground? (This is final test for naming my children: will I feel stupid calling their name in the mall playground? I know it's saved one of my kids from being named, "Ephraim.")

Anyway, our compromise was to make Luke's middle name, "Thoreau." I figured we could disguise "Thor" and make us look like fancy intellectuals at the same time.

But, Nate has been working hard to get Luke to answer to "Thor."

Yesterday, a woman at the grocery store said to Luke, "What's your name?"

Luke's response?

"Thor" (Fortunately, as you can hear from the video, it doesn't sound much like "Thor.")

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Blast from the Past

My friend, Andi, posted this on Facebook (she's the cute redhead in the front row).

But, I'd like to point out a mystery--why are my roots are so dark? (I'm the one in the pink jumper and white shirt with the dark roots) I swear I didn't start coloring my hair for at least another 7 years.
I suppose it was a harbinger of things to come. My roots start showing 5 minutes after I get my hair colored nowadays. Sigh, it's hard to be a (fake) blonde.

Thanks for the laughs, Andi!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Asher is up for grabs, too.

Ok, I really should be a better mom who posts glowing stories about her kids. Maybe tomorrow...

Tonight, after a rather long (but enjoyable) day, the boys and I were watching a little Toy Story, hoping our dad might make it home to help put everyone to bed. Asher left for a bit and came back, tapping my foot with a permanent marker. Apparently, in a moment of pure insanity, Asher took to writing all over everything he could get his grubby little hands on.

The red wall's last coat of paint was finished 2 hours before this happened. You can see where I tried to paint over the marker. Yep, we'll be scrubbing and priming the wall tomorrow night. Magic Eraser was no help here.

Fortunately, Magic Eraser did save all the white walls Asher got to...

Really, what sort of damage would Asher have done if I had made it a habit of making my bed?!

But the part of this whole saga that makes me sick to my stomach is the couch we're storing for our friends as they remodel. I knew Leonore would be nice about her defaced couch, but it still took me about an hour to be able to call her so I didn't start crying.

I was right; she was very gracious. She didn't even point out that the white couch had been in her house for 10 years with 4 kids, and yet, it couldn't survive 3 weeks in my house with 2 kids.

Nah, I'm still mad at him...

I think this all feels just as bad (maybe a little worse) as when I was babysitting my brother, David, 20 years ago, and he took a permanent marker to my mom's brand new couch. I thought I would have to move to Utah to live with my grandparents.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Why we'll sell Luke with the elliptical...

On Friday, Luke learned how to open the oven door, climb up on top of the stove, and turn on the oven and stove by fiddling with the knobs.

He's gotten time outs, countless lectures, and spankings. I just don't know what to do to stop him.

Today, he did his trick while I was blow drying my hair. I heard the familiar sounds of little feet on the stove coils and knew what had happened. I ran in, and Luke said (yelled), "No, Stop, Hot!," pointing at me, tellingly.

Maybe I should just let him light his bum on fire.

For the love of Craigslist

If anyone has not yet discovered the best-of-craigslist section it is usually very funny, and often grossly inappropriate. Read at your own risk.

It is one of my lifelong goals to get a CL posts on said Best-of-CL. Here is my latest partial attempt.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Scenes from a Marriage: Smartypants

This week...
Anna: Last night, Nathan and I watched an episode of this series we checked out at the library.

Emily: Oh, Nate and I do that, too! What are you guys watching?

Anna: It's a historical drama about the Napoleonic wars.

Emily: Whoa! I bet you're learning a lot.

Anna: (downplaying because she's nice like that) Oh, no, it's really more a drama than something that's historically-accurate. What are you watching?

Emily: Um, a sci-fi cowboy series.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Christian the Lion

My mom kept telling me I had to check out the Christian the Lion YouTube video. So, Asher and I watched it, and I cried the whole time (even with the music turned off).

Makes me think twice about just how much animals think and feel.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Scenes from a Marriage: Secrets

Out with friends circa 2001...

Nate: You know, Emily does (something embarrassing, I can't remember what because I do plenty of embarrassing things--I'm sure Nate will fill this part in).

Emily: Oh my gosh, I can't believe you just said that! It's a total secret!

Husband friend: That's ok, you know our secret about trying to get pregnant.

Emily:, I, uh, didn't know about that.

Husband friend: We told didn't tell her?

Nate: Well, no. You said to keep it a secret.

Emily: So, you'll keep secrets for your friends from your wife, but you won't keep secrets for me?

Monday, August 11, 2008

First Day of School

Today was Asher's first day of preschool (We hope Luke overcomes his depression that he, too, can't go).

The second picture is actually the first one I took. He was so excited to see his classroom (that we went to visit on Friday and left kicking and screaming) that he wanted me to stop taking pictures and take him to class. Sigh...

His teacher seems lovely, and she has lots of people to help her (good thing since she has Asher!). He'll also get to work with some specialists for his speech and do some occupational therapy.

But, lest you think we don't know what's most important...Asher is thrilled that he will be riding the bus to and from school. It's a major topic of conversation around these parts.

Hope you have/had a great first day!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Allergy tip: squeeze containers

When I make toast, I spread the butter first and then, dip my knife into the jam jar. I do the same with peanut butter, or mayonnaise and mustard. I figured the small amount wasn't a problem in terms of germs or anything. But, then, I had a kid with allergies, and I'd forget about the mayonnaise knife and stick it in the mustard jar, which meant I had to put a big X on it, so Asher wouldn't be exposed (I know, I'm a freaky allergy mom, through and through).

This tip took me 2 years to figure out...

After contaminating many Asher-safe* products with butter, mayonnaise, sour cream, etc., I started buying squeeze bottles of those products. Something about using the squeeze bottle reminds me to grab a clean knife for Asher's food.

*Asher is allergic to nuts, peanuts, soy, egg, and dairy, so anything without those items, I call "Asher-safe."

Thursday, August 7, 2008

So Long, Elder Tom...

Yesterday was a big day...

Nate had the kids to himself, and I went up to Utah for a quick drop off at the MTC.

We said goodbye to my brother, Tom. (Here's Tom, Asher, and Evan at Tom's Batman-themed Rockband goodbye party.)

He's leaving on a 2 year mission for our Church. He'll be up in Oakland, California. I comfort myself by remembering that my college roommate and her family live around those parts--her parents are right by the temple! They'd watch out for Tom, and Tom could get a break from tracting and say they're investigators. We had Dave do the same thing with Nate's Aunt Gail in Vienna.

We won't be able to visit him, and we can only talk to him on the phone for Christmas and Mother's Day.

Frankly, sending a missionary off has left our whole family a little down in the dumps this week. We know it's a good thing, but it's still hard. We'll miss coming home and seeing Tom's car in the driveway--a perk of having the XBox 360. Tom would often come by after a night of teenage craziness, or he'd be by in a flash when I had a babysitting emergency. Sigh, two years feels like a long time...

While I said bye to Tom, Luke put his head through the living room window. Luke and Asher always enjoy sitting on the living room windowsill and banging their heads against the glass (nothing wierd about that, right?).

Luke must have guardian angels--he doesn't have a mark on him, despite falling glass, and you know, putting his head through a window or maybe Luke is already reaping the blessings of having an uncle go on a mission.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

The Truth, the whole truth, & nothing but the truth

Asher asks to go to the library every morning because they have an extensive Thomas the Train DVD collection. I'm not sure he even knows that there are books there.

Asher has a close relationship with Jesus. He's always pointing out Jesus at Church and at the mall, the park, the dry cleaners because everyone with a beard is Jesus.

Luke is so verbal, talks all the time. He says things like, "Go away, NO, no, NOOOOO, No, yuck, go, NO." And, he's taken to hitting inanimate objects and yelling, "No" to them. Is this Unabomber behavior?

Luke loves to go to Grammy's house. When he realizes we're going to Grammy's, he starts his chant, "Wee-O, Wee-O, Wee-O" (which is actually, "Julio, Julio, Julio"). Then, he pushes people out of the way to get to his best friend, Julio, my mom's dog.

Asher, Luke, and I wake up at 5:30 am, ready to go. And then, I get them a bowl of Cheerios, their sippy cups and blankets on my bed so they can watch TV, and I can go back to sleep for another hour. Ok, maybe two hours.

And, this cute summertime picture? They're naked, and we have an apartment complex that looks right into our backyard.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Scenes From a Marriage: Christmastime 2004

Emily: I got your present this morning. You're really going to like it!

Nate: Hmmm...I think I already know what it is.

Emily: Really?

Nate: U2's Vertigo CD

Emily: How did you know!?

Nate: Um, you've been singing it All. Day. Long.

Sunday, July 20, 2008


I'm currently teaching one of my online Old Testament classes. Usually, they run pretty smoothly, but every time I log-on to monitor class discussion, I hold my breath. We've had some pretty crazy stuff happen; I've had to jump in for racism, misogyny, and well, calling your classmate, "stupid" isn't acceptable either.

This week, we were talking about Abraham, so as an exercise in hermeneutics, I had my students compare the Judeo-Christian version of Abraham sacrificing his son with the Muslim version of the same story. Primary differences? Ishmael is the son in the Koran's version, and he's involved in the decision. Adds a whole new set of dynamics.

So, when I read the opening comment, "This is really interesting! It almost makes them seem human..." I felt my heart sink--did she really just say that about Muslims?

She meant Abraham and Ishmael, and then, everyone in the class went on to say how much they liked having the added perspective. Yay!
In that vein, enjoy this video my cousin-in-law sent me.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Why I Love Arizona (even when it's 110+degrees)

My mom took me to this cute little French pastry shop last week. Luke and I split a delightful goat cheese and spinach omelette, but I was very tempted by the grilled brie sandwich. All the entrees come with a tasty spring mix side salad and delicious house dressing, like a sweet (but not too sweet) balsamic vinegrette.

It also has the prettiest desserts I've ever seen. The fruit desserts looked so good, I almost went for one (lemon tart, rasberry/lychee glass, perhaps?). But, then, I came to my senses and ordered a lovely dark chocolate tart.

That trip made me want to be a pastry chef.

Oh wait, I forgot--I'm a horrible baker.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Rockin' Out

When I had kids, I pictured us all listening to Pete Seeger, Cat Stevens, or at the very least, some Disney classics. Then again, I also pictured us never watching TV, making arts and crafts together, and eating fruits and vegetables with every meal, so this isn't the first bubble to pop.

Anyway, my kids prefer Billy Idol (courtesy of my mom buying Flushed Away--a darn good movie and an even better soundtrack). So, here are the boys rockin' out with their new haircuts. The video is 40 seconds of silly dancing. Then, they both leave, as if on cue. I'm not sure what happened there.

And, here's Asher singing "Mr. Lonely."

The slugs sing it, too, and they annunciate a little better.

Monday, July 7, 2008

A New Cousin!

We got a new baby niece, and I got to be in the delivery room (it is so much fun to watch a baby being born than being the one bearing the baby).

Doesn't Cora have the best head of hair?

She's lucky to have a big brother who will watch out for her.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

WallE Success and the Trickery of Disney

For the 4th of July, the Harris-Curtis cousins (we LOVE them--I need to get pictures so I can sing their praises in a post) and our family saw Wall-E. I went into the theatre with my usual sinking feeling--neither of our kids has made it through an entire movie in a theater, and we've been fortunate to discover AMC has a generous refund policy for such disasters.

But, Asher was mezmerized by Wall-E. When we had to change a poopy diaper during it, he had me run out to change the diaper and run back in. He keeps asking about his friend, Wall-E. Every time we get in the car, he hopes it's to go see Wall-E.

Nate, on the other hand, isn't a fan of the movie. He can't get over the irony that Disney, one of the giant trans-national corporations of the world, has made a movie about a giant trans-national corporation that takes over the world and then destroys it with garbage.

I wasn't as annoyed since I knew the plot beforehand. The irony hit me, eventually--when I went to iTunes to download the Michael Crawford song that Wall-E (and Asher and I) loves. But, the Michael Crawford song (have I mentioned that I was a member of the Michael Crawford fan club when I was 14?) is only available if you download the whole Wall-E album.

Tricky Broadway-musical-loving-me thought I would outsmart Big Brother. So, I went to download the song off the Hello, Dolly soundtrack, which is another Disney production (surprise).

But, well, Disney didn't get to be Disney without cunning and ingenuity. And, they must have known there were cheapskates like me, so I had to buy the whole album there, too.

Just for one cute little 3 minute song. (an update: I've had this post sitting in my draft section since July 6th. Asher has made me listen to it about a bazillion times. I don't think it's a cute little 3 minute song anymore)

So, Disney makes this movie about people consuming too much, being wasteful and careless all because of the evil BnL corporation that forces their products into humanity's unsuspecting hands. And then, instead of letting me pay $.99 for the one song I want, I have to pay $9.99 for one song and a bunch of crap I'll never listen to (another update: I have been caught belting out a little Barbara Streisand once) (maybe twice) (ok, every night as I make dinner)*.

In college, some friends and I went to Disneyland. Snotty kids that we were, we would yell "Destruction of illusion!" every time we saw something broken or worn out on a ride (I know, you wish you were such a cool teenager, too)*.

Well, "Destruction of illusion" indeed.

*Like the ()'s? Stole it from Heather O. (a fabulous writer w/o the parenthetical comments, btw), who stole it from Sue. Wish I could write like they do. (who knew blogging could make me jealous of people I don't even know?)

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Why I Love Arizona (even when it's 110+degrees)

The heat and I are not friends, so I thought it would be good to do some posts during the summer to remind me about the good things here.

I love that our local NPR station fundraises two times a year for 4 days each! In Boston, I swear they had a fundraiser once a month. Drove. Me. Crazy.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Fresh Peach Pie

I try to post a recipe at least once a week on this blog. Today, I did a post about my Young Women's leaders and the killer cookbook they put together (and gave us credit for)--included is a recipe for the best peach pie.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Peter Piper Pizza

Asher, Luke, and I went to Peter Piper Pizza this week. They have an all-you-can-eat pizza buffet for $4.95 with kids 3 and under eating free. We stayed there for almost 2 hours with Luke and Asher playing all the games (please note: if you teach my kids that the games use tokens, I'll have to kill you).

But, the best part about this is our allergy experience. I HATE going to new resturants with Asher. I have to speak to the manager, look at their food labels, and I can tell that many of these managers are thinking "Oh, it's one of those crazy moms who thinks her kid is allergic to everything."

Our shift manager, Manuel, totally rocked. He made a special cheese-free pizza for Asher, put it on the pizza buffet so we didn't have to pay for it, AND came and found us 1/2 an hour later to make sure Asher hadn't had a reaction.
So, we'll add PPP to our summer rotation (and seriously, don't tell my kids about tokens).

Saturday, June 14, 2008

When we were young...

Nate and I celebrated our 9th wedding anniversary this week--if you call celebrating sitting in the same room while one person prepared for arbitration and one person prepared a Young Women's workshop. I know, we're hopeless romantics...
In high school, if I had to pick who I was going to marry, well, it wasn't Nate. And, Nate would say the same thing about me. (As Nate reads this, I think he would add--"But, Emily, I totally could have made out with you if I put my mind to it.")

I love him, even when I yell at him or when he's right and I'm wrong.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

I woke up this morning and what did I see?

Luke just as naked as he could be (sung to the tune of "Popcorn Popping"--one of Luke's favorite songs)--maybe he got the idea from Little J!

Luke has had a busy week this week.

He called 911 at 7:30 am on Tuesday. I was (ahem) in my garments making Asher's lunch for school when the doorbell rang. I tried to sneak past my front door and bolt for my bedroom and robe, having no idea who was at the door.

After I bolted past, the doorbell rang repeatedly, and whoever was at the door started banging. Scared me to death...

I got on my robe and answered the door to a male and a female police officer, who told me about the 911 hang-up received a few minutes earlier. They were very nice when I apologized and squeaked out (I lost my voice for a few days) that my 1 year old has a habit of making phone calls.

On Sunday, Luke and I were in the foyer at Church, when Luke ran into the bishop's office. I saw Luke gleefully shut the door. I wasn't too worried until I walked to the door and found it locked. Again, scared me to death...

Hoping Nate had keys to the bishop's office, I motioned him out of sacrament meeting to help. (Note: executive secretaries do not have keys to the bishop's office).

Luckily, the wife of the 1st counselor (and my Visiting Teacher) motioned her husband down from the stand. Poor Matt thought someone was bleeding or dead.

Matt had Luke out in a flash, and Luke couldn't figure out why he had 4 adults all looking at him when he came out.

Who's the Boss? Luke is...

Luke has always been the boss, which seems strange to me. Didn’t he know he’s supposed to be the super chill #2?

Since he came home from the hospital, Luke has been able to go from happy and docile Luke to a raging, mad, turning purple because things aren’t going his way Luke in less than 20 seconds.
Now, he’s discovered that in addition to a terrific amount of yelling all he needs is his pointer finger, some grunting, and the occasional favorite word (airplane, bird, kisses, tickles, cookie, strawberry, banana), to get what he wants. He’s rather tenacious, so he’ll keep on whoever is on hand until they fulfill the command.
Unfortunately, Luke hasn’t learned an important word that would help with this process: yes.
So, the past few days have been spent with me carrying Luke on my hip as he points me in the right direction, I find what he thinks he wants, and then, he gives me an emphatic, “NO!” It’s been puzzling because I’ll then walk somewhere else to figure out what he wants and soon have a screaming, purple Luke on my hands.
It took me longer than I care to admit to realize that Luke doesn’t get the whole “yes,” “no” concept. So, an emphatic “NO” can be “NO, I really don’t want that!” or “YES, now, give it to me!”

Sometimes, I forget he doesn’t have a complete command of the English language because well, he’s the boss.


Lately, I've been thinking that Asher must have an aptitude for music. He loves to dance (and unfortunately, he got all his moves from his mom and not my cousin, Matisse!) and sing (he'll hit a note every once in a while), but it was his music identification that got me thinking, until today...

Listening to KBAQ (classical station): Mom, this is Little Einstein music.
He's right!

Listening to an NPR story that finishes up with some French music: Mom, this is mouse music. Mouse is what Asher calls Ratatouille. He's right again!

Listening to Bon Jovi's "Wanted Dead or Alive": Mom, this is Elmo music.
Um, did I miss that episode of Elmo's World?

Asher has a bad habit of not looking at the camera and saying "Cheese" instead of smiling. Fortunately, my sister, Rachel doesn't give up taking pictures of him like I have. Here's a picture of Asher and his cousin/brother, Evan, in San Diego.