Friday, October 31, 2008

Road Trip 2008

Here's a little taste of our road trip this summer.
Just bear with the wind noise at the beginning- there's funny audio at the 5 minute mark.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

1 friend, 2 friends, old friends, new friends!

So yesterday I was busy procrastinating, only a little bit, and found my friend Laurenda on facebook. Yea! We haven't kept in contact for several years now, and I was very excited to find her. I found her blog, which led me to MANY other old friends from Columbia, both University Ward friends and Bear Creek Ward friends. I found Bryan and Sabra, Josh and Emily, Megan and Jared (all the way in Alaska!), Kendall and Michelle, Laurel and Louis, Tina (an old roommate) and James, Edward and Stephanie, Ben and Laurie, Laura (another old roommate), Meredith and Andrew, Melissa and Dwight, the Tia family, Trent and Courtney, Cary and Katrina, Wes and Melissa, the Spriggs family, whew, that's a lot. We even found some of the kids that were youth in Bear Creek ward, with their own families! It was so fun to see everyone, most have more kids than we knew of last time we saw them, and everyone looks like they're doing great! So, in the interest of my new-found friends who I hope are hopping over to our blog, I'll put in a quick update.

We left Columbia in spring 2003 and headed to Chicago so Aaron could go to graduate school. We lived a couple of places in Chicagoland and our second son Levi was born just before we left there in 2005. After Aaron had worked for a year, he decided to look into moving into a better position, so started applying to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Within three weeks of them calling him for an interview, he got the job in Los Angeles, so five weeks later we picked up and moved (with my brother Jon's help -- many thanks) to a place I had never been. Ever. We've been in the same apartment since May 2005, longer than any other place we've lived.

A.J. is in second grade at our local school, which he (and I) loves. He is big into baseball, convinced he'll be a major leaguer when he grows up, so look for his name in about 15 years. Levi started preschool this year, and absolutely loves it. He plays with everyone and is the class entertainer. He loves to sing and perform for people. Just this morning at A.J.'s dropoff he had Mrs. Lo's whole second grade class gathered around him to watch him do "Sporticus moves." He sees them on Nickelodeon's Lazytown and has to try them out: jump splits (like cheerleaders do), pushups, all kinds of lovely things.

Aaron is still with the SEC and has been really busy for a while, with the economy plummeting, banks and brokers failing right and left. I am a grad student in marine ecology trying to get a master's degree. Things are a little slow, because I can't just take off to my research site any time the tides are good. It all has to be planned really far in advance, and getting the boys taken care of is definitely the hardest part.

We'll be back in Missouri for Christmas this year, so maybe we'll see a few of you still in the Columbia area. I'm so glad we found so many of you. It's always good to connect to people from the past. We hope all is going well for you and your families. And let's keep in touch!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Birth Verses?

I saw a post about someone's biblical birth verse. I checked it out, and it's kind of interesting. I don't use the NIV, but it works for something like this.

1 Corinthians 8:3 NIV

But the man who loves God is known by God.

2 Timothy 2:1 NIV strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.

Proverbs 8:22 NIV
“The LORD brought me forth as the first of his works, before his deeds of old;

2 Timothy 1:7 NIV
For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.

Well, I think A.J. and Levi's are quite appropriate, at any rate. A.J. has always seemed like an old soul, and he is the older of the two. Levi certainly did NOT get a spirit of timidity. This is evident when he heads out of the chapel during church to use the bathroom, while saying in his regular (rather loud) voice, "I need to poop and pee in the potty. I don't need any help, I can do it all by all myself. But YOU can help me wipe." As if it's a privilege. And self-discipline? Well, if you act scared when he is a dinosaur or some other scary thing, he will then get out of character and say very reassuringly, "It's ok, mommy. It's only me, Levi. I'm Levi now." Maybe that's it.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Trunk or Treat

We had our Ward Trunk or Treat last night. Check out these Robots in Disguise...


That's our trunk in the background with the stars and globe inside. An outer space theme since that's where the Transformers came from. This year Chase accidentally coordinated with AJ as Bumblebee the Transformer (last year he was Buzz Lightyear to Levi's Sheriff Woody). Levi's also a bumblebee, he just didn't get the official Transformer costume. He didn't notice.


Saturday, October 25, 2008

New furniture

Well, we've got our furniture. Ordered, anyway. Many thanks to those of you who gave your input. Unfortunately, although we liked the looks, none were made with dovetailing or other key quality features. Since I did some woodworking in high school, I have a pretty good idea what I need to see before I'll buy. So, here's what we got.
The bed:

The Table:

AND, we got it from...

a bunny.

Yep, the bunny was our salesman. Great guy. And no, he didn't wear the bunny suit.

Monday, October 20, 2008

What's next?

Well, we've been discussing financial futures (ours, not pigs or corn) lately. We are in the position to begin planning a home purchase, which means the actual buying won't take place for a year or so. But the planning begins now. We also have some needs to meet before then. We've got mostly hand-me-down or Ikea furniture, and a few things are beginning to show some serious wear. So, we've been looking for deals on bedroom sets (we get the new set, and pass our dresser on to AJ, whose is about to come undone) and dining sets. The chairs we bought for $20 at KMart before AJ was born are about to give way, too. No good pictures of dining sets yet, but here are some bedroom sets we like (tell me what you think!):





However, with all of the economic upheaval lately, I also have been doing a lot of thinking about food storage and a year's supply, which we have, if only in syrup. And tuna. And maybe pickle relish. Hey, I stock up on staples whenever they're cheap. So, I was doing some looking around today, because I enjoy reading other blogs, even if i don't know the person in real life and I found this one: Safely Gathered In. It looks really helpful, so I may actually get started on some of the projects they're doing. Our emergency preparedness person in the ward has had out a couple of hand-driven wheat grinders, but I think I would like an electric one better. They're supposed to be able to grind about as good as commercial flour companies, which means I could save money and almost never run out of flour, like I did last night while making banana and zucchini muffins (mmm...).

Monday, October 13, 2008

Too many people?

We've had two highway closures around us within a week. Last Wednesday morning, a motorcyclist was shot at about 2am on the interchange from one freeway to another, closing the only route through our valley other than our street. It was nuts. It was stop and go (mostly stop and stop) traffic in front of our place until 11:30. It's not even that bad at rush hour. Ever. It took 15 minutes to get to AJ's school, and we made it faster than we would have had we stayed in the car because we parked and walked. I got to Levi's school alright (it was against the traffic), but getting home took 30 minutes. This was after I took the neighborhood streets when I could and shaved off probably 15 minutes. These trips should take no more than 5 minutes. Even if I hit every single red light.

A wildfire started early Sunday morning that isn't all that close to us (if we end up in danger, all of Los Angeles has gone up in flames...not likely). However, it caused the closure of a highway starting in the same place as last week's, now going the other way. Traffic isn't so bad right where we are, but I bet if I tried to get to church it would be nearly impossible. Shutting down 15 miles of any highway in L.A. is guaranteed to cause chaos.

So all this got me thinking...what if L.A. ever has to evacuate? What if an earthquake destroys the interchange near us? It was kind of scary not even being able to get groceries last week. I could have easily gotten to the grocery store, but everything would have spoiled by the time I got home. I don't know the answers. I do know that it wouldn't matter if we lived in a larger valley with more surface streets, that just means vastly more people out on them. It just kinda makes me want to move to the boonies. Fewer people means fewer crazy traffic jams.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Family activities

We've been trying to do more things as a family lately, especially outside activities. So this week we went to the park twice and the zoo yesterday. Our neighborhood park was renovated recently and the playground opened up just a couple of weeks ago after having been closed for two months. The new equipment is great and the boys (especially Levi) have really been enjoying it all. A.J. mostly wants to play catch with Aaron and gets angry when he has to stop. They thought it was pretty funny to run away and try to avoid being photographed, but I got them! Here's a few from the park:

Playing catch with Dad.

After Dad says time to go.

Levi right after he bashed his mouth on the ladybug's handlebars:

Yesterday we had fabulous weather: about 70 degrees and sunny. So we decided to head to the zoo. Our zoo is in a very hilly area, so the cooler the weather, the better. We packed a picnic and spent a long time and focused on some areas we rarely get to. We got a lot of good pictures, but here are just a few.

Levi's preschool class is the kangaroos. so this is a picture of the boys and some lazy kangaroos.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Accepted the Challenge

Tami at passed on a challenge this morning: post the sixth picture from the sixth picture file. So, I found it:
Because of how we organize our photos, and because I was lucky enough to get a digital camera pretty early on, we have a lot of photo files, so this one is pretty old. However, it does give me a chance to reflect a bit. This photo is of my younger (see how cute!) sister Hallie, our cousin Ben, and my son A.J., just two months old. We were together for the family memorial service for our grandfather. It was a lovely October day seven years ago, and most of the family, even ones we hadn't seen in ages were able to make it. Since it was his memorial service, I'll also post a picture of him and my grandmother in South Korea. He served the people of many nations as an agricultural ambassador of sorts, assisting local farmers in increasing production and efficiency. Grandpa is in the white shirt, no jacket and bow tie (always a Grandpa staple!) and Grandma is to his right.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Is it wrong?

Is it wrong to so thoroughly enjoy the misery of team rivals. We just watched the Mizzou-Nebraska game. It was lovely. The fifth game in a row that Mizzou has scored more than 50 points. The second string offense came in...again. They were up 45-10 and Aaron asked, "well, what should we do now?" and I said, "watch the rest of the blowout, of course." I loved watching the huskers get pulverized. Ahhh, what a beautiful thing.
As soon as it was over, we switched to the Cubs-Dodgers game. The Cubs are in danger of being the first team eliminated from the post season, and it's fantastic. We like the Dodgers, as long as they're not playing the Cards, of course, but it's the Cubs-Cards rivalry that makes their elimination so great. Not to mention the 100 year world series drought, the longest in baseball. All the other "cursed" teams (White Sox, Red Sox, Angels) have won within the last six years. Except the Cubs. They have so many curses they've piled on themselves at this point it's ridiculous. The billy goat, Steve Bartman, black cat, and who knows what else they've decided has cursed them over the years. Their stadium is losing chunks of concrete, the team and the stadium are on separate auction blocks, and four players with no or not ending their names: Zambrano, Soriano, Fontenot, and Cedeno. I don't know how they expect to win with all that bad karma. hehehe. Oh, I love it. Sports are great.

A.J.'s post

I had a blood test today. And I had to take a shot and blood came in the shot thing. I was nervous. It took a long time before it was my turn. After that, I got two stickers, one says "I had a blood test," and the other one says "I did very whale." Then we went to IHOP and I had the funny face pancake, Daddy ate the cherries. After that, we went home. I played baseball with Daddy, and we won 5-4. I'm watching football, Auburn v. Vanderbilt, 13-14. I bought Transformers yesterday, it was Brawl and Ratchet. I like to play with my Transformers a lot. I started to read Tom Sawyer, but Daddy thought I was too young to read it. Maybe I should read Huckleberry Finn. It also rained 3 times today


Levi's post

I was reading a book. A Lightning McQueen book. I play with toys, like Tigger the band music. I got a drink of apple juice. I pooped in the potty today. I want to tie bad guys with my cowboy rope. I have a bike at home. I played with Pooh bear. Yesterday I pooped in the potty. Today I write a letter H.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

descriptions of Levi

Easy-going. (really?)

Tonight was the Back to School Night at Levi's preschool. I got there late, since my class ends at 6, and BtSN started at 6, so I can't be in two places at once, especially when they are about 15 miles apart. So I stuck around for a few minutes and talked with his teachers about him. He has adjusted very well, and loves being there. Miss Valerie said that when he walks in with his "Hi, guys!" she gets perked up for the day. He plays with anyone, even the independent ones, and the ones who always play with the same few kids. He loves the art projects, especially goop (a non-messy silly putty copy). Turns out, he even has a girlfriend. The two of them played together all day yesterday. When I asked him tonight "who's Christina?" he said, "my best friend." When I asked what they like to play together, he said, "we like to play trucks and firemans and doctors and shopping and take care of babies and bikes." They sound rather well-rounded. His teachers seem to really enjoy him, and he certainly likes them. It's such a good school experience for him.