Thursday, August 27, 2009

O.C.

We've temporarily adopted a cat, and I'm not sure how I feel about it. Meet "O.C." I have no idea what "O.C." stands for. My top three guesses are "Orange County," "Obsessive Compulsive," and "Overweight Cat." My money's on the third one though.
I got an email a few days ago from the Sister Missionaries in our ward, looking for a temporary home for this cat while his owner (an elderly woman who is investigating the church) is in the hospital. I felt like I should respond, and so I did. It seemed like the perfect situation, where everything would be provided (food, litter box, etc.) and we could get this out of our systems. (Side note: we finally caught Mighty Mouse with a live trap! Ideally, O.C.'s cat scent will prevent other mice from finding the trail Mighty Mouse blazed straight into our kitchen. We'll see.)
Well I think it's out of my system. I'm no longer this crazy cat person:
I think it's safe to say I'll never be that crazy cat person again. My once fierce devotion to "Misty" has channeled into a fierce devotion to my husband and kids. It's really weird having a cat in our house, and O.C. is a lot more socially needy than I'm used to. So we've got to walk the delicate balance between helping him be happy here so he doesn't try to run away, and keeping our boundaries. We had to remind him a few times last night that our bed is DEFINITELY off limits. So Paul and I have both been a little on edge because of all of this, but Benjamin and Peter think O.C. is great. Paul has said multiple times how he has a sick feeling that this is going to be permanent, but I've assured him there is no way. It is a little odd having no end date set in stone...It might just be a very long next couple of weeks. Oh well. I have no one to blame but myself.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Cute Boys

After mowing the lawn one sweaty afternoon, the boys all hopped in the wading pool. (And really, what good is a wading pool if you can't go skinny dipping?) Benjamin, the fireman. He loves to spray out all the fires that pop up all over the yard.
It's funny how things aren't quite the same with the second child. Like reading stories all the time. Peter's new bedtime routine includes reading the usual lineup of stories with Daddy: Drummer Hoff, The Boy With a Drum and Goodnight Moon. They both love this special time together!
Peter looking all handsome for church. I love baby ties.
More wading pool fun.
Benjamin and Peter have lots of cute moments together. Here they're playing catch.
video

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Why Mall Rats Shouldn't Breed


I have never considered myself a "mall rat." I actually dislike malls. The swarms of pre-teens, the overpriced merchandise...it's just not my thing. So it was rather unusual a few Saturdays ago when we decided to go to the mall during our state's tax holiday to hang out. It was a hot, muggy day, and we needed to get out of the house. And we surprisingly had a good time.

Until that day, Benjamin was completely unaware that the quarter rides actually move. He's always been content to hop on each ride and "drive" it, then move on to the next one. On that particular Saturday, we happened to have 75 cents in spare change with us, so we decided to let him pick a ride. From that day on, he whined and whined about going back to the "money rides," and I knew we'd made a mistake. I tried bribery to help him "earn" rides the following week, which actually backfired. He started having much worse behavior than usual. But he "earned" a few stickers, which meant we could go on a couple of rides again. We went back and he picked his two rides. But he was kind of a monster the rest of the time and wanted to keep going on all of the rides.

Now he thinks we should go to the mall all the time. He even found some old foreign coins sitting in our closet and keeps them with him at all times in a clear plastic bucket. Last night, the coins fell off his bed at least once in the middle of the night which of course disrupted his sleep, and I heard him in there, obsessively accounting for all of them. He gets so mad when Peter tries to come near the coins, and even more mad when we take the coins away for bad behavior. He's been begging me to get him a piggy bank so the coins won't keep falling out.

I should mention that this money obsession isn't all bad. He is excited about paying his tithing ("I'm putting the little money in the glass bowl to give to the Bishop!"). It's also piqued his interest in counting and math. He loves reading the library book I got for him about counting coins. So I'll probably switch up his play money with real pennies and nickels and dimes sometime soon. It's certainly incentive enough for him to help out. I'm just not sure if it would keep perpetuating his recent behavioral problems. Hmmm...

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Ten Months Old

I had Peter's portrait taken a couple of weeks ago. He is ten months old today! I cannot believe how fast he's transformed from a tiny newborn to a little boy with brimming personality. He is very responsive to music, and loves to dance and move. He is probably more coordinated than Benjamin was at this age. He crawls everywhere, climbs up legs and furniture and takes a few steps from place to place when he's feeling especially confident. He loves ripping books, crashing towers, and is learning how to clap and wave. Also, he is finally sleeping through the night on a regular basis (from 6:30 p.m. to 6:30 a.m.)! That is huge after a month of sleepless nights on vacation. He loves his big brother, and wants to be where the action is. I've started to notice that he's not very excitable. He's pretty even tempered and even sociable with strangers, but he doesn't light up or laugh easily. The photographer had a hard time getting him to smile at the camera, though he was otherwise cooperative. I love watching who my little guy is becoming. The photographer threw me and Benjamin into one of the shots for fun. I like how it turned out.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Mighty Mouse

We've been home almost two weeks now, and we have yet to catch this stupid (er, smart) mouse. We've tried the old tube and trash can method, sticky traps, traditional traps, and it's outsmarted them all. I really thought sticky traps were foolproof until this guy. He somehow maneuvered into a spot where he could pry himself off, and licked the bait clean. And of course the traditional snap traps were carefully cleaned around the trigger. ARG!

So it turns out that we're not alone in having frequent mouse infestations recently. Apparently the region we're in has been experiencing a mouse problem this year due to the heavy Spring rains. So we're not as filthy as I once imagined, and this will eventually pass (I hope). I've been this close to breaking down and buying a cat.

The Spring rains also did a number on our basement, and we ended up gutting it and installing a new sump pump and drain tile along the front. I feel like we moved back into an apartment since our living space just halved.


Benjamin is getting pretty good at tracing things. He loves tracing letters, and is just starting to get into more complex images. He traced these pictures with tempera paint.

So I've decided against formal preschool, at least for this year. I have several reasons, besides it being too expensive (and having only one car). One, he is socially healthy. He goes to nursery, and will soon go to primary. He gets along great with other kids, and knows how to listen to his teacher. Two, I'd much rather him build a strong relationship with Peter at this young age than with other kids. Third, I feel like I can do a much better job at one on one instruction with him, and go on more field trips and such. Plus I plan on enrolling him in fun things like t-ball and soccer, so I feel like he'll get lots of confidence boosting experiences. And lastly, I've started to get sad already that I'm losing him in two years to the public school system. Yes, breaks are nice, but I think preschool is a rip off for just a "break." Anyways, that's my two cents on the subject.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Zion's

At the end of our trip, we went to Zion's National Park with the entire family for Paul's Dad's 60th birthday.
Here's Andrew, Will and Benjamin with their cute aunts.
Benjamin enjoyed "Weeping Rock" and tried to catch the tears in his mouth.
The whole gang minus Paul's Mom (who was taking the picture) and Josh and Anne, who joined us later that night.We also hiked into the "gorgeous" Narrows.We stayed in a huge, beautiful "cabin." We had to have a campfire with s'mores for the boys before they went to bed, so it was still a little hot outside. I've got no use for campfires in the daylit desert.
Paul and his siblings organized several skits for their Dad to honor/roast him on his birthday. This one was my favorite. After racing through an airport in Hawaii and barely missing the flight, all he could say was "That plane LOUSY took off!" This illustrated how none of the kids had ever heard him swear. I thought that was really admirable.
My favorite part of the trip was a slot canyon hike with all of the grown-up siblings and spouses except Mike who was hiking Angel's Landing with Joe. Paul's Mom was nice enough to watch all of the kids for us.
It started with a climib up cool desert slopes...
...and the descent was through the "keyhole," which winded back down to where we started. Check out Paul's beastly forearms! :)
We did some repels into water.
It got pretty cold, so some of us brought wet suits. We all had a great time!
On the way back to Provo, Benjamin rode with Brigham and Alexandra. They decided to stop through Bryce, so he had some aditional adventures with them. Utah is such a cool state!

Utah Trip: Post-Wedding

We were lucky enough to go to the Oquirrh Mountain Temple open house while we were in Utah with Grandma and Katie. We fell in love with Daybreak (the area around it). It's really beautiful up there. Riding on the golf cart up to the temple was a highlight for Benjamin.
He told me his favorite parts (besides the golf cart) were the "Holy Ghost," the piano playing by itself, and the "foxen" around the baptismal font. It was a really special experience to be there as a family.
It really is a beautiful temple!
Here's the clip-on tie that he now insists on wearing with his polo. Also, notice his newly freckled face. So cute! We had lots of down time to play, which was nice. Benjamin and Andrew are the oldest of the cousins. They had a blast together.
This is a wonderful picture, because it reminds me of all the mornings when I was NOT waking up at 7:00 a.m. with Benjamin. Most mornings, he would wander out of our bedroom unnoticed, and someone (usually Grandma) would eventually feed him breakfast. It was so nice to sleep in for a few days!
We went bowling one afternoon, and Benjamin scored well over 100! :)
Of course, he did have a little help.
But Grandpa showed us all up. Good times!
Oh, how I miss those mountains!
We of course had to make our rounds to the usual places; Bombay House, Cafe Rio, and Burger Supreme. We also got together with our friends from home, the Browns (who just moved to Provo), at the Bean Museum. We met up for story hour, where kids got to handle a small snake. I really wish I had a picture of the snake wrapped around Peter's neck. He loved it!


We got to go see Harry Potter one night in the theater, which was a lot of fun. I really liked this one.

Paul ran a freaking 10k in under an hour, which was pretty awesome considering he just recently took up running. I'm so proud of him. He ran it with Katie, Brig, Alexandra, Josh and Anne. I didn't participate because of my bum knee...or was it because I hate running?

One of the biggest highlights for me was rock climbing for the first time. I loved it! I felt like shouting "Look at me! I'm a climber...I climb!" ala What About Bob. We went up Rock Canyon Park with Paul's brother Josh, and Anne in the evenings after the kids were in bed. It was perfect because they had the gear and the know-how. I wish I had thought to bring my camera, although it got dark so the pictures probably wouldn't have turned out anyways.