Friday, January 20, 2012

Flashback Friday

Yesterday, while searching for a picture I know I have but couldn't find of my parents and brother in our front yard the 1988(?) morning it snowed in Vacaville - see previous post, I came across this one of my dad and me, taken in the summer of 1989.  Upon discovering it, I was immediately reminded of another picture of my dad with a different little girl, taken last September during my parents' annual visit. 

My dad talks all the time about how much Chloe reminds him of me when I was her age.  I love that.  And I love that he can now experience many of the same joys with Chloe that he experienced with me.  They certainly have an unbreakable bond, those two.

When Ryan hopped on my lap and saw this picture, he immediately said, "But where's a picture of me and Grandma Jill!?"  Sweet boy, never wanting to leave anyone out.  I also might add, Grandma Jill, that Ryan requested your scrambled eggs for dinner tonight!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

A musical masterpiece and snow

"Songs and smells will bring you back to a moment in time more than anything else.  It's amazing how much can be conjured with a few notes of a song or a solitary whiff of a room."  - Emily Giffin

Being the sentimental girl I am, I hold this quote dear to my heart.  It's a beautiful concept if you think about it, that a simple piece of music or smell can instantly take you back to a precious moment in time, of which you might not have otherwise been reminded.  It happened to me yesterday afternoon, unexpectedly, like usual.  I was unloading the dishwasher and Ryan was watching Looney Tunes.  A few episodes in was "Rhapsody Rabbit," featuring Bugs Bunny, who plays a concert pianist and performs Franz Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2.  The episode was naturally silly, and together Ryan and I giggled from start to finish.  Bugs shot the guy in the audience for coughing (some would not find that funny, I suppose), then incorporated boogie woogie, chopsticks and taps into his piano masterpiece, all whilst battling an annoying and equally talented mouse.  It wasn't Bugs' silliness or Ryan's giggles that left a lasting impression on me, though both were entertaining.  Instead, it was the childhood memory which instantly surfaced upon hearing the music.

When I was eight or nine, my dad took me to see the snow for the very first time.  Vacaville never got snow, and the one stinkin' time it did, in 1988, I believe - a whopping inch or two, I was in Palo Alto visiting my grandparents!  I remember talking to my mom on the phone that morning and sensing sadness and disappointment for and in behalf of me.  There she, my dad and brother were, witnessing what would be a one-time, short-lived winter wonderland outside our front door, while I sat, only 90 miles away, unable to do anything about it.  It was a real bummer, and I remember feeling so disappointed.  Not long after, my dad, who understood and wanted to make it up to me, suggested that we go up to the mountains and find some snow to play in.

He had recently compiled a cassette tape (hey, it was the 80s) containing some classical masterpieces.  Among those he and I could recall were Brahms' Symphony 3, Op. 90 - III, Smetana's Die Moldau (which I learned today my grandma Martha and great aunt Gertrude used to play on the record player when my dad, as a baby, would cry in the night, to lull him back to sleep), Mahler's Symphony 5 - Adagietto, Mahler's Symphony 1, Movement 2 (one of my favorites), and Franz Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 (my absolute favorite).  My dad brought the tape along in the car and played it during our two or so hour drive toward Tahoe.  I can't tell you which of those masterpieces I'd heard prior to that drive, but what I can tell you is that each time I hear any one of them now, but especially Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody, I'm instantly taken back to the day, more than two decades ago, when I saw snow for the very first time.

I still remember so vividly driving through the sunlit mountain roads, listening to the beautiful music and gazing out the window with anticipation of spotting that first clump of white on the side of the road.  We eventually found those clumps, and what a magical sight it was for eight or nine-year-old little me.  We parked, hiked around, threw snowballs, possibly made a snow angel or two, and just enjoyed the gorgeous crisp, clean air and stunning views, before hopping back in the car, stopping for Chinese food, and heading home.  It was a fun day with my dad, one I've never forgotten, and one with which I will always associate Franz Liszt's musical masterpiece.

You can watch "Rhapsody Rabbit" HERE, though it's not the English version.  I think Ryan laughed harder watching this than the original because of the "funny talking." 

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Curious, helping hands

Last night, as I was deseeding jalapenos, Ryan climbed onto the counter.  Normally such activity is discouraged, and both the kids know this.  But he showed such intense (and instantaneous) fascination in what was happening, that I simply couldn't bring myself to put him down. 

"Do we like this?" he asked, pointing to the jalapenos.

"Um, not the seeds.  They're spicy!  But the peppers themselves?  Yes, we like those!"

"Does Grandpa Roy like some? Your dad? Does he like some?"

Ryan knows Grandpa Roy likes spicy things, so of course he'd like jalapenos, right?  I told him to be sure and ask the next time they talked on the phone.  Ryan, now showing more interest in the sharp knife sitting in front of him, simply replied, "Okay." 

After "helping" me chop said jalapenos and transferring them to the pan, Ryan watched, from above, to ensure that our spaghetti sauce was cooking just right.

So glad I have my curious kitchen helper to keep my brain sharp and cooking in check.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Week in review (January 1-7)


I've been back from Utah now for one day shy of a week.  It's always nice to get away, but man, it sure feels good to be home, too!  I also have to say that it was nice getting home and knowing I still had a solid week left of Chloe's break before the normal routine started up again.  Even still, I'm not sure I'm ready for the craziness to begin tomorrow morning. Unfortunately, ready or not, here it comes! 

First off, here are a few more pictures of Ryan on his first day as a Sunbeam (last Sunday).  I snapped these right before Primary began. More on our Utah trip eventually. 

Our week was pretty uneventful.  The weather was nice, so the kids rode bikes and played outside, and Neil and I got some yard work done.  It's looking like we may be turning our sprinklers back on next week, which is just a puzzling concept to us.  I guess we're still in the mindset of Coloradans, who have a solid three months before they'll even be thinking about sprinklers.  In addition to soaking up some warm, January sunshine, the kids played super heroes with their capes and masks, taking turns playing hero, villain, and victim, which, by the way, was and is absolutely hilarious.  They're pretty dramatic.  The dialogue they come up with constantly has me giggling to myself.  Must be all those old school super hero shows they watch on "Neck-fwix," as Ryan calls it.

Confession: these were actually taken the week of Christmas, but since they so accurately depict what these two look like when they play super heroes, and since I didn't happen to capture them in action this week, I just decided to throw these in.  Yes, Ryan is wearing Chloe's mask, and no pants.  And his shirt is on backwards (over the top of a pajama top).  Stylin'.

Chloe broke in her puppet theater, which I'll blog about in my Christmas post.

And among other things, the kids played legos (a favorite of both), marbles, and trains.

Here's a video Neil took of Ryan playing with his Marbleworks set the other day.  Neil is the first to admit that he loves the thing as much as his son does!

Saturday afternoon, we drove to Pleasanton to celebrate a post-Christmas with Scott, Heather and JD.  It was comfortable and relaxing, as always. 

The kids took turns driving the ATV and loved every minute of it.

Chloe jumped on the indoor trampoline (left) and all three kids played in the shower (right).

Heather is becoming more like a sister to me these days.  I love having family close, and I love how our relationship has blossomed.  It's strange because she's nine and a half years older than I, and while we've always stayed in touch (hello, we're family!), we've never been in the same stage of life or had much in common.  I'm sure she'd agree.  But I still remember when she called me to announce she was pregnant with JD, and how fun it was that I'd just barely found out that same week that I was pregnant with Ryan.  I guess that was the beginning of our bond - being pregnant at the same time and then delivering our boys just 5 weeks apart.  Then, of all places, Neil's job, just before the boys turned two, moved us less than an hour from Heather.  Really, who would have even imagined that happening?  It's fun.  Another perk to having her and Scott close is that I get to see my Uncle Jim and Aunt Karen (who live in Oregon) and come out to visit a couple times a year, as well as my other cousin, Misty (who lives in LA), who also had a baby boy just six days before Heather had JD, and also Tanya, who's in San Diego.  It's a true blessing having family close-by, seeing them regularly, and building memories together.  It has definitely made the transition of moving here easier.

Today was a lazy Sunday.  We were terrible and didn't go to Stake Conference.  Ryan had a particularly rough night last night, crying out a handful of times, which made it difficult for me to sleep soundly, and then coming in at 4am requesting to crawl into bed with us, which I naturally said no to (mean mom).  Then came a good, long meltdown right there on our floor, followed by getting Ryan settled back down again and, eventually, asleep - on our floor.  Then he was back up before 7 and still obviously tired and in need of more sleep.  The kids got up and entertained themselves downstairs while Neil and I stayed in bed for another hour or so.  Between Neil's back hurting (once he was up) and Ryan's constant meltdowns over anything and everything, we just decided to stay home rather than fight Ryan to sit still for two solid hours.  We turned on the NFL playoffs, and enjoyed a quiet Sunday at home.  The Broncos beat the Steelers unexpectedly, which was awesome (so happy for Tim Tebow), we had a yummy dinner, and, best of all, the kids were in bed by 7!

Eating apples and edamame with "chopsticks" (aka straws).  On Friday night, we cashed in a gift card to a local sushi restaurant here in Ripon (with Richie and Christie, who gave us the gift card for Christmas), and there was some leftover edamame that we brought home.  The kids LOVE this stuff and eat it like candy.  Chloe was nice enough to let Ryan wear her bracelet while they enjoyed their grub.  Again, stylin'.


Me: "Chloe, please go finish your applesauce."
Chloe (groaning): "Why do I have to do EVERYTHING around here!?"
Apparently I ask too much of my six-year-old.

Chloe (while trying to get Ryan to be patient while she put together a toy for him): "Hold your horses, Ryan!"
Ryan: "But I don't have a horse!"
The boy makes a point!

It was a good start to a new year!  I can hardly believe we're already into 2012!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

April 2011: Easter festivities

I'm slowly getting through my 2011 pictures.  Here's a glimpse into our Easter festivities (yep, 9 months ago).

Chloe's preschool did a fun Easter egg hunt and party the Thursday before Easter.  Chloe, as well as the rest of the kids had a blast hunting for eggs, frosting cookies and doing fun crafts.  This also happened to be Chloe's last day of preschool since we were out of town almost the entire month of May and therefore pulled Chloe out at the end of April.  Because it was her last day, Miss Sheryl let Chloe be the leader walking to and from the egg hunt, among a few other special things.  She thought she was pretty hot stuff.

Here's little miss Chloebug with her teachers, Miss Sheryl and Miss Brittney, both of whom she adored and still talks about to this day. 

Miss Sheryl lives about a mile from us and attends most of the local events here in Ripon.  Since preschool ended, we have bumped into her a handful of times, including Baskin Robbins' Dollar Scoop Tuesday, National Night Out, a Ripon High School football game, and Ripon's Labor Day Balloon Fest. These random meetings have enabled Miss Sheryl and Chloe to maintain a sweet friendship. They've become real pals, and I'm sure it's only a matter of time before we run into each other again somewhere.

The Easter party was a fun finish to a great (and final) preschool year for Chloe! We were both kind of sad to say goodbye, but also anxious for summer and gearing up for kindergarten! 

Saturday, the kids painted eggs.

And on Easter, we did the normal morning routine of finding baskets and eggs, and taking lots of pictures.

After the kids had located their Easter tins/baskets and picked up all the eggs, we headed outside for a few quick pictures (for the purpose of distracting the kids while Neil did a favor for the Easter Bunny and placed the kids' new razor scooter and plasma car in the front room).

As soon as we walked back into the house, there awaited their surprise!  They were thrilled with their new rides (and fun treats and goodies).

Following the morning's events, we headed to church and then enjoyed a quiet evening at home.

Sometime the following week, the kids received a small package from Grandpa Roy and Grandma Jill, including bug catchers, which the kids promptly went outside to play with!

The kids also had haircuts, as you can see! It was a fun Easter week all around.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Happy New Year! I'm a Sunbeam!

In the words of Ryan Grant himself:

My mom's hopeless.  Her blog is so far behind.  SHE is so far behind.  And yet, life never seems to slow down.  It doesn't help, of course, that she's got me to keep her on her toes.  Good thing I'm so darn cute!  Mom often asks the question, "Why can't there be seven of me?"  To be honest, the thought of having seven moms seems like a bit much, but I guess I can see her point.  Hopefully she can catch her breath one of these months, and, in the process, get this blog in better (and more current) shape.  In the meantime, life goes on, I suppose.

We had a really nice Christmas at home.  More on that eventually.  My sister's still on break through the end of this week, and she, mom and I just got back from a quick and spontaneous trip to Utah.  This is the first trip we've made there where mom hasn't told a soul we were coming (with the exception of the usual, obvious people: Grandpa Roy, Grandma Jill, Uncle D, Great Grandma Martha, Great Aunt Gertrude, and Wendy).  It was quite nice, actually, not having a ton on our plates, though I think mom's in trouble with a few people now that it's out in the open that we were there.  Oh well.  There's always next time.

So, onto more exciting events!  Guess what milestone I reached on Sunday?  You got it!  I became a Sunbeam!  Mom and I could hardly believe it, and just as we sat down in Sacrament Meeting, I proudly announced, "I get to go to Primary today!"  I wasn't nervous or apprehensive in the least.  When Sacrament Meeting was over and it was time to head to Primary, I took Chloe's hand and together we skipped down the hall and down the stairs (we were at Grandma Jill's ward) to the Primary room.  Mom sat with me through Sharing and Singing time and I couldn't have done better!  The opening song was, "I Love to See the Temple" and I sang every word, loud and clear.  Then the other children sang a welcome song to Chloe and me, since we were visitors and all.  I sat reverently through all of Singing and Sharing time, and was a very good boy.  I even went to my class happily and without hesitation.  Mom took a few pictures of me sitting in the Primary room before Sharing time began, but she'll have to share those with you later. 

I feel like such a big boy going to Primary!  Mom says she can't believe I'm old enough!  I suppose it wasn't all that long ago that Chloe was in my same boat.  Time really does fly!