Sunday, December 13, 2009

Lights... Camera... Levi

Take a look at this compilation of other funny Levi moments. If you weren't able to watch the other Levi video, try again now. I forgot to change the settings to public.

The sound is a little off towards the end but I'm not gonna go back and fix it. It's funnier this way anyway.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

We've been busy!

We've been doing a lot lately, from Cub Scouts to Holiday Shows. Here are a few pictures from the last little while.

First up: Levi and his classmates put on a Holiday show last week. It was a huge improvement over last year's show. Everyone participated this year.  Last year some were shell-shocked by the lights and never moved a muscle. Not Levi, of course. He adores the stage.

This is the action you do while singing "The grandpa at the house goes snore, snore, snore."

And this is Levi with his best buddy Ryan.  Look how cute (sorry) handsome they are in their sweater vests.

A.J. has been dutifully working on his Cub Scout requirements. 

This afternoon he built a "barn" for our nativity set.  Our poor little people have been huddling together with no shelter for years now.  They finally have their stable.

And, since he's worked so hard, he earned two belt loops, a pin, and a bead at the December pack meeting.  Daddy is his leader, so A.J. got to receive his awards from Dad.

And finally, a lovely sunset.

We went to the beach on Black Friday and hung out with some great friends.  It was a little chilly, and rather windy, but we were rewarded with this view at nightfall.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Levi Practicing Football

We went to the High School football field last Saturday and practiced a little punting and kicking. Levi is truly an actor and spent a long time trying to perfect this technique to make it look like a blooper. Enjoy!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

A Christmas Carol

We discovered a great little theater this weekend.  The Glendale Centre Theater is a theater-in-the-round, meaning that the stage is in the center of the room, and the audience literally sits all the way around.  There are two "tunnels" like in sports arenas that they use for moving props and people around.  There are NO bad seats.  It is relatively small, and can hold maybe 200 people or so.  Contrast this with something like the Pantages theater in Hollywood that can hold 200+ in just the balcony, and you can see the difference.

This weekend, they started their annual production of Dickens' "A Christmas Carol."  It was fabulous!  Even with the small cast of only about twenty members, including a 3-year-old, the quality was great.  All the singing was a cappella, which they used as segue between several of the scenes.  Several members were simply part of a group of carolers, which sang several traditional carols.  With such a limiting stage, the show could have been rather drab, but they maximized the space by incorporating the stairwells as staging for the carolers or the three narrators.  All in all, it was an extremely impressive show.

The real joy for us, though, was watching the boys, especially Levi.  We were seated right by one of the tunnels, and the show began with the singers coming out to greet the audience personally.  We had three different cast members speak with the boys, one of them for quite a while.  Levi was absolutely loving it.  Then, when the show finally started, he was bopping up and down in his chair to the music.  His favorite character was Scrooge, "Because he turned nice."  He wasn't too fond of Jacob Marley, though, and kept asking if that was a ghost or an actor. 

We've known for a long time that he loves performing.  His body language and word choices scream "Entertainer!"  He, however, wasn't really able to distinguish acting from real life, until yesterday.  He kept asking where the screen was, and referred to the show as the "movie."  But, he finally realized what acting is and what it means to play a character.  This theater hosts an acting camp in the summers, and I think we'll send him once he's old enough.

This was a great way to open the Christmas season, and I think we might have to go every year.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Jon, this is for you!

A picture of Levi.

Yes, that title does say "The Odyssey of Homer."  He's just getting a head start.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Picture of the day...smashed ball

Our favorite picture of the season.  Look at the deformity on the ball!  They use a semi-soft ball, somewhere between a teeball and an official baseball.  Granted, he's not actually looking at the ball when he hit it, but it still went pretty far.  Sadly, the really good first baseman managed to catch it heading onto the outfield grass, but A.J. hit it really well.  Look at the form in his body, too.  It's perfect!  You can draw a line from his foot through his hip to his shoulder, just like it should be.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

AJ Pitching

Here's an animated GIF of AJ from a couple weeks ago. Just trying out a few tricks with the camera. We've got 350 pictures in just the last 2 weeks to try and sort out.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Vacation next year...and walking there

Next year the Al and Joy Pabst Family will be a house on Tybee Island, just off the Georgia coast near Savanna. We decided to help us all get in better shape, that we would walk there. No, not for the actual vacation, but collectively walk the distance from our house (since we live the farthest away) to Tybee. That's a distance of 2438 miles. So far, we've gone about 37.

I set up a googledoc spreadsheet to help us keep track of our progress. The link is and everyone can view it. Some of you I've invited to also have access to edit it, so that you can enter your own data. I figure that from here on, if each adult walks 7.8 miles per week, we can get there. Kids count, too, so all the times A.J. walks to school will be included. Let's go, Pabsts!
Inspiration Photo of Tybee--

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Families can be Together Forever

That's what the boys and their cousin Shyanne sang at Susie's funeral on Monday. It's so true! Families really can be together forever, and knowing that is so comforting. Who wouldn't want to be with these cuties forever?

Pop's been gone nearly four years now, and Susie was ready to be with him again. We were all sad to see her go, but took comfort knowing that she had a great life, and that she was excited to see Charlie (Pop) again.

Susie was great. She loved her kids, and especially loved the grandkids and great-grandkids. We miss you, Susie!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A pitching sequence

A.J. is on a kid-pitch team this fall, and he is usually the starting pitcher. A couple of others have come a long way in their pitching techniques, but because A.J. prefers to spend every waking hour thinking about, playing, and dreaming about baseball, he has some advantage over those who simply "love" baseball. So, for your viewing pleasure, here is a compiled pitching sequence. This is over several batters, but is representative.



Reach back.




Follow through.

Conference by the umps after you question their call at first.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Now we know

That Dodger fans are the rudest we've ever seen. Never before have I felt unwelcome as a visitor to a ballpark in the away jersey. Not only were we unwelcome, but Cardinal fans were booed just for walking up to stairs to go to the concession stands. Even when we were ahead, it was the worst game I have ever attended. It was unbelievable what they yelled at us as we walked past. Especially considering the boys were there. After the game was over, there was one fan who was kind enough to try to console A.J., who had tears streaming down his face. He was saying things like, "Hey, they played well," or "we're all baseball fans." A couple of guys were nice enough to curtail their language when the noticed the boys. Most of them were just obnoxious 20-somethings that would probably be out-pitched by A.J. It was still rather disconcerting, and we waited until the stadium was mostly empty before walking to the parking lot. I had joked with Ms. Candy (Levi's teacher) yesterday that if we got mugged or shot she would know why, but I didn't think we would really be at risk!

I will cheer for the Dodgers if we go to a game that doesn't involve the Cardinals, but I will never be a Dodger fan.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Don't be Jealous

We're going to a baseball game.
But, not just any game.
A post-season game.
We'll be at the Dodgers-Cards game on Thursday!
Kinda high up, though, so you probably won't be able to see us. But, you can try anyway!

Friday, October 2, 2009

End of Summer

Here are a few more pictures. Have we taken too many? Maybe. But, there sure was a lot happening at the end of summer this year!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

More Canada pictures!

We had a great time in Canada. Here are some more pictures of our activities there.

First up, some of the wildlife. This is a banana slug hanging out on the window of our dorm. Pretty cool, huh?

Then, Jon called for A.J.'s birthday, and Levi got to talk, too. Does he look a little too grown up for his own good?

Here's A.J. looking too grown up. His big birthday present was an MP3 player. His favorite song? "Mr. Roboto."

The boys were fabulous helpers. All my labmates went on and on about how well behaved they were, and how much fun they were to have around. This is A.J. helping Luis weigh and measure some seastars.

Then, Levi helped by carrying boots after they got rinsed.

The boys also liked checking out some of the other experiments going on at the research station. In this tank are some dogfish, a small shark.

We spent a lot of time at the cabin where my labmates were staying. It's nothing fancy, but it does the job.

The boys loved playing soccer out in the "yard." Notice the high-waters both of them are wearing. We took the worst pants they had, knowing that they would probably get destroyed. And, we were right.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

In the midst of chaos...

We had a baptism. Yeah, things were a little crazy. Here's the timeline:

Monday, August 31:
8:15 am School was supposed to start, but all local schools are closed.
11:00 am The boys and I head out to run some must-do errands. There are no cops at the end of our street, so we assume we will be able to return home without incident. I am so wrong about that.
2:45 pm Blockade three streets south of ours, not letting anyone through. No matter what. I have frozen chicken in my car. Ack!
3:00 pm. I arrive at the bishop's house. They are kind enough to share their fridge and freezer with us and entertain the boys.
8:00 pm We all (finally) manage to arrive at the O'Bryans' house. The boys are buddies with their boys, and everything gets settled.

Tuesday, September 1:
8:15 am No school, again. The boys are thrilled.
10:00 am Start to worry about visitors coming and having nowhere to stay. Aaron starts contacting beach vacation home rentals.
11:00 am Head to the evacuation center at the local high school to see if we can get any information. Get interviewed by a German television station about how we're handling all of it. Levi gets REALLY jealous. He keeps telling me, "you're so lucky! You get to be on t.v.!" Even getting filmed while walking back in doesn't console my little performer. He felt like he wasn't close enough to the camera.
2:00 pm Leave the evacuation center without the info we wanted, because Levi had a check-up. With shots. He was mad again.
4:00 pm Return to evacuation center, we figured the fire marshal had come by then to give the update. We can go home! A.J. is bummed. "I wanted to go back to the O'Bryans'" he said, in a very sad voice.
4:45 pm Offer to get pizza for everyone, but find out that another family has invited all of us over for dinner.
5:30 pm Hang at the Masons' for the next FIVE hours! Thanks, Masons!
11:45 pm Finally arrive home.

Wednesday, September 2:
8:15 am School starts for Levi! Hooray! A.J. is still on "summer vacation."

Levi's first day as a Dragon!

2:55 pm the boys start swim lessons and gymnastics. The first of many days we spend at the Y. Every Monday and Wednesday, we're there until 5:30!
5:45 pm Arrive home to find...Grandma Joy and Grandpa Al! Hooray!

Thursday, September 3:
8:15 am A.J. FINALLY starts school! My big 3rd grader. He is at a new school this year, but finds he's in the same class as a girl from church. Everyone acts like this teacher is the one you want to get, so we're pleased. She seems really great.

Yeah, they didn't change the date on the sign. Their mascot is the Eagles, so they use SOAR as an acronym to help them write better. See, organize, assess, revise.

1:00 pm Sarah and Brenda arrive at LAX, Grandma and Grandpa pick them up.
5:00 pm We swim for 2 hours before getting too cold. Levi scares Brenda with his fearlessness in the pool. He loves to swim! I, meanwhile, get seriously congested from all the smoke, in combination with swimming. Shouldn't have gone underwater.
10:30 pm Most of the Sudholts arrive at LAX. I pack them into Aaron's car, and we try to get home. It takes a little longer than usual, because in Los Angeles, most road work is done at night. And I didn't know that some of the exits were closed! Manage to find everyone a place to sleep. Jared in the boys' room. Brenda in the living room, Sarah in the "art" room, Joy and Al in the office, Bob and Jan in the sun room, with Hallie at the other end. Whew. That's a lot of people!

Friday, September 4:
11:30 am Pick the boys up from school (yes, we took them out early. To go to the beach!) Sing Happy Birthday to A.J., and recognize the other THREE August birthdays, Aaron, Brenda, Grandma Jan. Have lunch, and go to the beach!
2:30 pm Ahhhhhhhhhh, sandy beach. Jared loves the ocean, and doesn't want to get out. Ever. The boys build a sand castle and decorate it with kelp (seaweed). A.J. decides they don't need the piece Levi has and tells him to put it back. Levi walks toward the ocean, and just keeps on walking. He's REALLY going to put it back!

See the lovely kelp forest? It surrounds the castle and makes it extra nice!

5:30 pm Dinner at Bubba Gump's, there on the Santa Monica Pier. The brave ones rode the Ferris Wheel at sunset. So beautiful.
7:45 pm Jon arrives at LAX. We're all here now!

Saturday, September 5:
morning Shower in turns, save some hot water for the others! Clean the house, hiding all air mattresses in the office.
1:30 pm Arrive at church, get A.J. dressed, take some cute pictures.

A.J. and his friend Hayden. Baptism buddies.

2:00 pm A great baptism.
3:00 pm The "reception to follow" has fewer guests than we anticipated, but we had a great time anyway! Congratulations, A.J.!

Sunday, September 6:
11:00 am (Thank goodness!) Get to church. A.J. is confirmed and receives the gift of the Holy Ghost.
1:00 pm Aaron takes most of the Sudholts back to LAX. I had to teach a class.
2:30 pm Finally start relaxing a little bit.

Monday, September 7:
5:00 am (Yikes!) Aaron takes Brenda, Sarah, and Jon to LAX. Only two guests left!
9:00 am We head to Knott's Berry Farm for a little fun. Surprisingly, it's not very busy.

Tuesday, September 8:
4:30 am Joy and Al get themselves to LAX. No more guests. Just clean up now.

We had a great time, but now you know why there haven't been any posts! I, for one, am really glad to be getting into a regular routine. I know we all need it. I am still trying to catch up on my sleep!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Finally a chance to catch up! First, fire pictures

We have a lot of pictures of the fire, but some are hard to see. All of these were taken on various days between August 29-31.

Taken from the backyard:

Fire-retardant dropping aircraft.

Water-dropping helicopter. These went RIGHT over our house for several days.

Remember, all the ones in the backyard are taken in mid-day. When the sun is nice and bright. Does that help put the darkness in perspective?

Taken from the sunroom window:

Later in the evening.

All is calm now, the kids are back in school, and I'll be there soon. We're finally getting back into a routine (though a VERY busy one!) We are so thankful for all the prayers from around the country. I have no doubt that they supported the firefighters, and helped to keep homes and people safe.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

it has begun

The craziness of A.J.'s baptism weekend, that is! Four people are here already, another four arrive in about an hour, and Jon comes tomorrow night. And, they're all staying at our house. Hope no one minds controlled chaos!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

How about some pictures?

And not of the fire, but our vacation! We just spent a couple of weeks on Vancouver Island (you know, that giant island NW of Seattle) with my labmates, helping a few of them with their research projects. I was just unskilled labor, and it was great not to be in charge! I was busy most mornings, but usually had the afternoon to hang with the boys. My boys were not bored in the mornings, however, because the community school was down the road, with a ball field. Every morning, they headed down there to play ball for an hour or so, and then head back to meet me for lunch.

First, some friends of ours that just moved to Ireland (how exciting!) came over the night before the boys and I left for the long drive. We'll miss you guys!

On the way up, we stopped in Seaside and Astoria, OR. In Seaside, we ran across a re-enactment group spending the weekend as part of the Lewis and Clark expedition sent off to make salt. This is the tent they actually stayed in all weekend. They were a lot of fun.

And then, we found that Astoria was all prepared for our arrival...with a parade, a regatta, and the grand re-opening of the Astoria Column, which you can climb (and climb, and climb, and climb...and climb some more) to throw off a balsa-wood plane and watch it go a long way. It reopened literally one hour before we got there. See, I told you they knew we were coming.

While we were in Canada, the boys went fishing with my advisor Carlos and his son Paolo. They did manage to catch dinner for our BBQ, and it was quite tasty. Good job, boys!

We also spent an afternoon at Brady's Beach, with Paolo and his mom Andrea. This is the boys building a ramp for the tennis ball, before they spent 45 minutes throwing it for a dog to retrieve. We had a great time. More to come later!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Prayer Request

Please consider adding the communities of southern California to your prayers today. We are only a couple of miles from the biggest fire, and many of our friends are much closer. One family, best buddies of A.J. and Levi, is only two houses away from a mandatory evacuation area. Thanks for your help!

Update: a couple of hours ago the fire raced along the ridge above our house, and there is now a mandatory evacuation for the area around A.J.'s new school. We are currently outside the evac area, and I don't think we'll have to leave. I'll continue to update as warranted.

Second update: I think we're out of the woods. Looks like the fire is heading north, further into the forest. Hopefully it's just smoke now.

Third update: It's now almost 8pm PDT, and it now appears as though I am a liar. I can now see flames from our windows on the ridge to our northeast. I don't know what that means for us. Aaron has some pictures, and we'll post them when we can. If we get evacuated, I'll put another update on here and head out. I really hope it doesn't come to that. Many of our friends have been evacuated throughout the day. I guess we'll all just party at the shelters!

Fourth update (4pm Sunday): I have decided that this fire is schizophrenic. For a while yesterday it was moving very quickly, today it's just creeping. I'm not even sure creeping is slow enough. Currently, at least as current as I can find, it has burned 35,000 acres, crossing the entire mountain range and now threatening towns on the other side. Thankfully, there is very little wind, so now that it has burned much of its fuel on this side, it's moving very slowly. And, to get to us, it has to go down some very steep terrain, which fires don't like to do, especially without wind. Therefore, even though we are technically under a mandatory evacuation order (which turns out isn't actually mandatory at all...then why call it mandatory?) we are at the very edge of the evac area. And, it appears, not actually in any danger. We have been watching the flames at the top of the ridge for the last few hours and have not seen them move. At. All. If things change, then we'll leave, but it seems not very likely.

Monday, August 10, 2009

More summer fun...a garden and a new drum set

I decided that I had so much success with my tomatoes in little pots, that I should put them in the ground. That way, they'll be much more likely to survive our vacation. So, I picked an area of the yard that I thought would be suitable, waited for the right moment (a morning when I had time and it wasn't too hot yet) and started to dig.

Oh. My. Goodness. It was so much harder than I thought! It seemed the ground was bedrock, with the shovel barely making a dent! I finally asked Aaron for help, and we hacked at it with an axe. Instead of actual grass, we have a grass-imitator, until you get to the roots. Then, rather than grow in nice, fibrous strands, this stuff has big roots, and they are all intertwined. A HUGE pain. But, we did it. Here are some shots of the garden.



After! It looks so good because I bought seedlings, rather than just seeds. We have a lot of growing season left, but not that much! So far, I'm growing more tomatoes and some zucchini. And, we made lemonade recently with some of the lemons. It was pretty good, and I don't like lemonade!

Now, on to the new drum set. Levi and I did some work a couple of weeks ago restacking the wood pile. It was the worst pile I had ever seen. Just big logs tossed on each other. So, we cut them and restacked them. I did most of the lifting, and Levi did the encouraging. "Good job, Mommy. Keep stacking those logs!"

When we were done, he picked up a couple of sticks, and turned the "logstack" into a drum set. We even got some video, but that has to be processed and then it will be up here, too. He was using one log as a cowbell...1..2..1,2,3,4 and then went on to the others. It was pretty funny. And, he decided he needed fresh air, which is why he's not wearing a shirt. Even though the shirt he had on that day was sleeveless. I don't know how you get much more "fresh" than that.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Pyramid Schemes

We've been having a great time with Uncle Jon visiting since he finished his canoe trip down the Mississippi river. The other night we learned about cooperation in family home evening, so for the activity we decided to cooperate and build a human pyramid. It's the best kind of pyramid scheme. See everyone's smiling and nobody lost their money when it collapsed. A few more photos of fun with Uncle Jon:
AJ throws the football and...

Uncle Jon gets splashed.

Well we have many more adventures coming up this summer so stay tuned...