Someday I’ll be a master barber, just like François

»  mark    5 Jul 2010 @ 13:40    

Maya, oh, Maya. We thought her days of trimming hair were past… Yesterday, after the kids had been quite for a stretch of time (unfortunately, this is usually a bad sign), I went in the bedroom to investigate. Among the boxes that had been snatched and cut up I saw a few locks of hair on the floor.

I quickly grabbed the hair and held it up to both Maya and Elijah to match by color. But they both have the same brownish hair, so I had to look closer. Well, I didn’t really have to, because I could see that Maya had trimmed Elijah’s fringe and lopped a few of her longer strands on one side.

The funny thing is we had planned on cutting Elijah’s hair just yesterday, but he fell asleep in the car and wouldn’t wake up. We ended up just putting him to bed. I guess Maya felt it was her job to pick up the slack and finish the job.

I must admit, it isn’t the worst cut she’s done. But Olya and I could do without the cardiac arrest each time we find hair clippings on the floor.

Anya funnies

»  mark    5 Jul 2010 @ 13:30    

Our little Anya is really growing up fast, but not just her body. Here are a few of the things Anya has said recently that make us laugh.

More lemon water, please
Lemon water = watermelon (great anagram; obviously working on her Scrabble skills)

Oh! I hear the sour cream truck!
What? Don’t you have one driving around your neighborhood playing music and selling treats to the kids?

Monsters, Inc.
Me: Anya, when did you get to be such a monster? (referring to her size next to Ivy)
Anya (smiling): Maya’s a monster, too.

I don’t like sweet things

»  mark    29 Apr 2010 @ 11:34    

Elijah is a funny kid. If I didn’t know better, I would have thought he was Phil’s twin brother. Picky as can be, he survives on a diet of bread, peanut butter, cold cereal, and cheese.

Of course, thanks to our Vita-Mix, we’ve been able to give him a vegetable and fruit infusion at least once a week. I’m sure that’s helped. Still, we continue to try to expand his horizons with invitations to whatever fresh fruit we have. Occasionally, we try the tactic of telling him how good it tastes.

“Elijah, have a bite of this mango, it’s so sweet!” Without even a thought he replies, “I don’t like sweet things.”

Of course that isn’t true, because he loves desserts and candy, sweet drinks and ice cream. But if fruit is sweet, he doesn’t want anything to do with it. The funniest part of it, is that he often likes derivatives of fruits, but will stubbornly refuse the fruit itself.

Examples.

Elijah likes

but not…

applesauce, apple juice
orange juice
spinach raviolis
real blackberry ice cream
pasta sauce
any fruit in kefir
bananas if he is hungry enough

apples
oranges
spinach
blackberries
tomatoes
any fruit
bananas with “black specks”

Is this the same child?

»  mark    25 Apr 2010 @ 11:07    

Perhaps some may not think it worthy of a blog post, but Anya’s sleeping habits have been so good lately, I had to write something.

Many of you may remember that this is the child who has not slept more than 5 hours in a row for the first 18 months of her life. Well things have slowly but steadily improved since that time, and this last couple of weeks have been amazing. I just put her in the bed, cover her with the blankets, put a favorite stuffed animal at her side, say goodnight, kiss her on the forehead and say “See ya!”

She responds with a “See ya” of her own and I walk out of the room. No fuss, no calling me back in, she just stays there and lies quietly until she is asleep. It is almost too good to be true; I hope it will last.

Leaving the blah behind

»  mark    8 Feb 2010 @ 21:59    

Mid-winter is always a tough time for our family. Besides the weekly bout of whatever sickness is hanging around at Church, the weather is often drab, Olya and the kids have a hard time getting outside, and the air in Utah is downright unhealthy.

This year was no different, but we took a page from a few years back when we visited some of Olya’s friends in St. George and decided that we would head somewhere nice to escape the blah.

Now that our good friends the Mirandas are back in Southern California, we knew we had a good reason to go. So early in January, Olya hunted around for airline tickets and found that San Diego was really quite affordable. And the rental car rates from there were surprisingly low as well, so we went for it.

The five days we had to kick back, visit with friends, and just enjoy the beautiful weather and scenery were just what we needed. We really couldn’t get enough of the 65 degree weather, steady breezes, and lovely sea air.

We decided to take Anya along since she still isn’t a great sleeper at night and figured the other two kids would have a better time with Grandma if they had a little more undivided attention. Anya was perfectly happy to have the extra time with Mama and Papa, but she reminded us why air travel with a < 2 year old is always a gamble. This is the first flight I’ve been on where I’ve had a beverage dumped on me in both directions! To top it off, the man sitting in front of Olya spilled his beverage which then dripped through the seat on her bag. :)

Notwithstanding the volatility of the refreshments, we couldn’t have asked for a more enjoyable time. The weather held steady as a rock with sunshine and clear skies. Timing was perfect. Had we come only a week before, we would have witnessed one of the biggest storms to hit that area in years. The local newspapers had photos of flooding in some areas, complete with cars stranded, trees knocked over, and other damage.

At the tail end of the trip, we stopped by to visit Tatyana, one of Olya’s friends from Moldova. It was fun to see how things were going for them and she gave us a crash course on Balboa Park, a very large refuge downtown San Diego that we could have wandered for days. We had to settle for exploring the botanical gardens because we had a plane to catch.

Maya and Elijah were none the worse for their mini-vacation at Grandma’s. They took advantage of the 3 foot deep snow to get in a lot of sledding, snowman building, and other exploring. We knew they’d be fine when we told them that we’d be leaving them with Grandma for a few days and Elijah responded with glee, “We get to go to Grandma’s for 6 days without you?”

Olya enjoyed her first trip to California. We both enjoyed the scenery and the weather, but the cost of living will probably keep us from resettling there any time soon. But don’t count us out for another visit next year when blah season comes around.

Potential cub scout skit

»  mark    22 Jan 2010 @ 20:52    

Sometimes, our kids do the unthinkable: they play together nicely. This never seems to work when requested, of course, it has to be spontaneous. Recently, Elijah has been enjoying the P.D. Eastman story The Best Nest. In fact, he’s heard it so many times, he can recite it back to you with just a few word prompts to get him going.

Inspired by this lovable story, Elijah and Maya were playing in the bedroom building a “nest” together. Elijah found a nice piece of wooden bread from their pretend kitchen set and being the dutiful papa bird, brought it home for dinner. Olya overheard the ensuing dialog, that went something like this.

Elijah: Here is some food.
Maya (taking it in her hand): Hey, why is it wet?
Elijah: I brought it in my beak.
Maya: Oh, Elijah, next time just pretend your hand is your beak.

Catching up on the past few months

»  mark    27 Dec 2009 @ 22:03    

Hi, All!

*crickets chirping, stage right*

Yes, I suppose that is what happens when readers don’t see any new posts on the blog for awhile. I don’t blame you for deserting. It isn’t that we haven’t had anything interesting to report, I just haven’t had the will power to sit down at the end of the day and write. Shame on me.

But for those that are still out there, the wait was hopefully worth it. I’ve just posted a bunch of articles for your reading enjoyment. Dates are approximate to when the events happened, so the sequence of the blog will stay intact. And we’ll try to be a little more regular contributors going forward.

/mark

That was for me

»  mark    27 Dec 2009 @ 21:02    

Do you ever give talks in Church or teach a class and the subject is really just for you? That was the case today, as members of the bishopric spoke in Church, a ritual in our ward on the last Sunday of the year. The topic was up to us, but I picked something that I needed to hear, and hoped others might find useful too.

Usually, I don’t hear whether it was or not. Other than the occasional thanks or a pat on the back, I don’t expect much feedback after my talks. And I certainly didn’t expect much today, as I didn’t really think the talk was one of my best.

But I was humbled when one of the senior missionaries that serves in our ward came up to me at the end of Church and told me that my talk was just for him. He had not planned on attending our ward today because his wife was ill. He thought he would just go to his own ward, but was prompted to come to ours instead, and did so, wondering if it was the right decision. I guess something I said struck a chord because he said he knew that my talk was the reason he needed to come to our ward today.

Wow. I’m still in awe. And I still believe that talk was for me.

I don’t have the manuscript (I never write out my talks in full), but if anyone is interested, I took pieces from the following three talks and ended with Joshua 24:14-15.

We are Women of God
Sheri L. Dew, LDS General Conference, October 1999
I love her analogy of life as a “sight-seeing or a shopping trip” and shared that first story from her talk.

The False Gods We Worship
Spencer W. Kimball, Ensign, June 1976
A classic. If you’ve never read this one, you’re in for a treat.

Preserving the Heart’s Mighty Change
Dale Renland, LDS General Conference, October 2009
I love the story of him skipping Church, then subsequently repenting, making simple changes, and feeling the zeal return to his life.

After dark deliveries

»  mark    26 Dec 2009 @ 21:51    

In our usual last-minute style, we decided it would be fun to take some goodies around the neighborhood on Christmas Eve. The kids, in an amazingly unselfish gesture, agreed to share some of our beloved Clementine oranges (peaches, as Anya calls them).

Olya sewed up some simple bags out of fabric she had on hand, Maya contributed some tags she had prepared from her coloring book, and Maya, Elijah, and I set out to deliver them in the dark.

Most people we greeted were surprised to see us out so late, but the kids had so much fun, they didn’t complain about the 20 degree weather. Maya couldn’t stop talking about how much she liked seeing the people’s smiling faces when they came to the door and saw us. She summed up the evening well: “Service feels great, doesn’t it?”

Tubing in the backyard

»  mark    24 Dec 2009 @ 09:21    

We had a fun afternoon tubing with my family in the backyard yesterday. Well, it was my parents’ backyard, and a good thing too, since they live on a farm in the mountains at 5200 ft. elevation. It was rather nice taking 10 steps out their backyard to get to the slope.

The kids got cold, but not before beating up the trail pretty good. Olya told me later that this was her first time on a tube, ever.

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