Wednesday, September 30, 2009

"Bunco!"

OK, let me just start this post by prefacing that it certainly isn't to showcase great pictures. I just realized that I don't think that I've ever done a bunco post! One of the clubs that PIM has is bunco and I so look forward to attending it each month! It's so nice to just sit and chat, eat yummy food and play a game (now and then with the perk of walking away with some money). Plus, I figure with the little $10 buy-in that's just enough to cover my share of the meal anyway - so the entertainment is like a fun bonus! Anyway, last Tuesday was my first time hosting bunco and I decided that I wanted to have a twilight garden party. Autumn is my favorite time of year and I thought it would be fun to enjoy some fruits of the harvest and relish in the newly arrived crispness in the air by eating/playing outside. So! I hung lanterns from the tree in our backyard, draped a blanket over each chair, put standing lanterns on each table, and we mounted an electric light in the tree to shine down once it got really dark - so that we could still see those dice!
For our meal we enjoyed pear sauce that Mark had canned from pears that his father grew (yum!) and either taco soup or zucchini soup in bread bowls. This picture is of the zucchini soup (topped with roasted red bells, fresh herbs, shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano, and toasted pinenuts) - it turned out really yummy! A big thanks to Shauna for the idea of making zucchini soup (I'd never heard of it), and to my father-in-law for his garden zucchinis! We also had a green salad with dried cranberries, crumbled feta, fresh apple, and caramelized pecans (that was the first time that I'd caramelized nuts before!) and either raspberry or cranberry vinaigrette.
For drinks we enjoyed our locally produced Apple Beer - which nostalgically reminds me of the brewed apple soda called Fassbrause that I drank while living in Germany (I guess the company that produces Fassbrause actually conceded to let their formula be produced in America by Apple Beer almost 50 years ago). And for nice, warm drinks we enjoyed cider and cocoa. Maybe it was just that I hadn't eaten all day with things being so crazy busy, but I thought things all tasted really good! I have to be sure to give credit to Mark for swooping in at the last minute before the party started and helping me finish everything off...and then for making the entire peach crisp for our dessert. Thanks, sweetheart.

Anyway, we were able to enjoy our meals by lantern light, and then cozy up in our blankets and play some bunco! Congrats to Jessica for winning the cash pot for both the most games and buncos (seriously, whenever that happens it's either a new player or someone that's pregnant - Jess is the latter)...and to Claire for being the loser (the loser gets their $10 back)!
Thanks for coming ladies, I had a great time! I can't wait to bunco at your house next month, Danielle!

Utah State Fair

Let's start off this post with a picture of Miss Rodeo! Yup, we're now fair go-ers. We never used to be until we lived in Iowa, and let me tell you the state fair is a really big deal there - and we went every year we were there. There were plenty of gigantic animals, mullets, and fried food on a stick for everyone to enjoy...not to mention the butter cow! Mark even registered and played in the backgammon tournament there two years. Anyway, we really do have lots of fond memories of attending the fair there with friends (and even family who visited one year!), so we've been to the Utah State Fair every year since we moved back here. In fact, I even have blog posts on last year and the year before that. Now, just to be fair - I have to mention that while we love going to the fair here, it's just nothing compared to the caliber of event that the Iowa fair is. That's ok though, we still have a fun time.

We never attended a show or rodeo in Iowa, but that's been one of the favorite parts of going to the fair with our boys. One of our favorite parts of the rodeo is the mutton bustin' (kids riding out on sheep), and I just like sitting and watch the boys watch the rodeo...

I'm still not sure what exactly Noah was doing (with the thumbs up and his tongue out), but I get a kick out of this clip, so I have to include it. Note his super long tongue too!
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We let the boys (meaning Noah) pick just one ride to go on while we were there, and this is what he picked. They took their driving of the helicopter very seriously.

And my favorite part of the fair is always the food. This time we chose corn on the cob and fresh squeezed lemonade. It was really good corn too. Once it cooled down a little bit I shared some with the boys. Noah and Lincoln both said that they wanted some, but weren't doing back flips or anything over our choice of treat - until they tasted it. Then things quickly turned to this...




Here's a quick clip of the corn-devouring-madness winding down:
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Once it was gone Lincoln insisted on sucking every last bit of sweet corn juice out of the cob - he did so until we got to the exit of the fair and we had to pry it out of his slippery little hands.
Already looking forward to next year's fair :)

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Take me out to the ballgame (again)...

After hearing how much fun Noah had at his first baseball game (that my parents took him to in August) Mark & I decided that we wanted to take him to a game before the season was over. We were able to join my dad and brother Matt for the Bees last game of the season and we had a really fun time. My dad and brother got there earlier and picked up all of our tickets, and my dad even got little Bees shirts for the boys. Here's a photo of Noah and my dad. Noah was sure to bring his baseball mit (just in case) and he particularly looked forward to singing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame!" during the seventh-inning stretch.

Mark & my brother Matt.

My dad and Lincoln (who was quite pleased to have ownership of some tickets at the time)...

Noah has started being quite the little ham for the camera lately. It's pretty funny. He put on Mark's glasses at the game, and while I was getting out my camera to get a shot, he put his hand up to his cheek like this and held it there posing while he waited for me to take the photo. That's our cute little guy.

I believe he was being a T-Rex in this picture (not that they have anything to do with baseball - he just likes them lately)...

...and in this picture of Noah, Matt & Lincoln - Noah was holding this superhero pose (which I happen to know is Mr. Incredible this time). I have to mention that I happen to know, from personal experience, that holding both boys at once is no small feat...especially when the want to get down and run away! Nicely done, Matt :)

Our two boys leaving the game with their daddy.
Thanks for going to the game with us, Dad and Matt! We had a lot of fun!...and thanks again for the cute t-shirts too, Dad.

Utes

September 3rd was the University of Utah's first game this season and we were lucky enough to end up with free tickets to the sold-out game! About an hour or so before the game started my uncle Brent called me and said that he wasn't going to be able to use his tickets that night and would we like to go! Now, it isn't very often that spontaneity gets to happen with us (between Mark's often-times crazy schedule, and all that goes into having a 3 and 1 year old in toe). However, Mark was able to hurry home (and go in crazy early the next morning to get his notes from that day done) and I got the boys ready, diaper bag packed, etc - and we were off! This was the first the first football game that we'd taken the boys to, and we had a good time. Of course, the treats we bought were a bit part of the fun for the boys, and we were lucky to have nice people sitting around us that put up with the boys' antics. I should point out...Linc has his fist in his mouth because we took his pacifier away. He kept throwing it at the people's heads that were one or two rows ahead of us *sigh*

Here's a quick 4-second clip of Noah enjoying joining in with some cheering. You can see how pleased he is with the whole thing, and I love how he looks around at everybody as he joins in with an "ahhhh!":
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3-second clip of Mark teaching Linc how to clap/cheer:
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Thanks so much for thinking of us, Brent! We had a great time...and even with the boys we were able to stay until the end of the game!

August Wrap-Up

I'm so excited to be in the same blogging-month as I should be (since this post wraps up last month)! Wahoo. Anyway, can anyone explain to me why Lincoln always takes a bite out of things in the middle first?! Whether it's toast, pizza, a sandwhich, whatever...he shoves it against his face to take a bite right out of the middle first. Just one of those quirky things about him that I know I'll forget if I don't document it...

Noah asked me to take this picture of him one morning while he had a messy face from eating Nutella toast. Silly boy.

Lincoln excited about getting ready to color - which always ends with me taking away his crayons or markers because he's eating them. Seriously, it's like he's got baby-pica.

Back on August 15th a bunch of Sister missionaries from my mission got together (I served an 18-month mission in Berlin, Germany for my church about a decade ago) . It was really fun to see everyone, catch up, enjoy some yummy food, and even see some of their spouses and kids! Thanks so much, Emma for putting this together and hosting it at your beautiful home!

The boys "kung fu fighting"
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This is Mark & I before leaving to go volunteer at the University Hospital Foundation's Ebony & Ivory Gala at La Caille. Last year we had the opportunity to attend the event as guests. This year my friend Claire and I worked for months on the event's auction committee soliciting donations for the live and silent auctions. I learned a lot about how to put together a successful auction and enjoyed getting to know some great people in the process. While I only participated in a portion of what it took to pull off such an elaborate event, I felt that I'd invested enough time into things that I was really excited to see how things came together. The event was lovely. Before the event all the volunteers enjoyed a wonderful meal together. Then during the event Mark & I were assigned to assist the photographer (Joanna) that was there to take complimentary photos of each of the guests. I had approached her about the possibility of her donating her services during the event (I've used her multiple times in the past and she does great work), so I was excited to get the chance to work with her at the event - we had a great time.

The event was held on August 22nd, and at our follow up meeting we found out that it was the most profitable Ebony & Ivory Gala that they've ever hosted over the years! So, that was very satisfying to hear. The only big bummer of the night was our jeep overheating late that night while trying to drive home. Thanks for coming to our rescue, Donnelly's!

During the middle of August I had the opportunity to watch our friends' (the Luthys) kids for a couple of hours. Man, those are two well mannered kids. We ate and played outside most of the time and had no problems at all. I was so impressed with Nate's vocabulary and how well he articulates (I've never really spent one-on-one time with him) and how sweet and happy Naora is. We had fun.

Sweet Naora.

Smarty-pants Nate.

I had to take this picture while we were at our friend Leah's house one day. Welby (Leah's husband), Ryan (Claire's husband), and Mark were playing in their weekly pick-up basketball game. We each have two kids and the 6 of them were all piled up on Leah's couch (6 kids 4 and under) watching the old Superman. I had to snap a photo. {left to right: Lincoln, Ezra, Zoey, Michael, Noah, Drew}

August 28th was the UCRM's annual picnic that we always look forward to. They always have good food and a great magician that the kids love (and the adults too - he manages to fit in plenty of adult humor among his routine). It's lots of fun, and also kind of crazy to look around at all these kids and to know that they're all IVF babies too (like Lincoln)! Here is Noah sitting on the grass with all the kids watching the magician.

There were a few times that the magician had the kids laughing so hard their faces were turning red. It was so fun. The kids get a pretty good laugh towards the beginning of this clip. It's not great quality (since I'm zoomed in), but I had to get a clip to show Mark since he got called into surgery and couldn't come...and since our car was in the shop we were lucky that my mom saved the day and came to take us!
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Lincoln LOVED going down this slide over, and over, and over...
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Noah with my sunglasses and Mark's baseball cap. It's happening more sporadically that Noah will actually ask me to take a picture of him if he thinks that he looks cute, or cool, or something. This was one of those moments. I think that he felt pretty cool in the glasses and hat - he must have just not realized that wearing Finding Nemo pj's could put a tiny bit of a damper on the coolness factor :)

And lastly, a picture of Lincoln throwing an oatmeal tantrum. I grabbed away the bowl, but not before he dumped some out on his tray...and then he promptly began to throw the sticky stuff onto the floor. He was absolutely not pleased (as evident by his expression) with my reaction to grab my camera. Gotta capture those moments too though, right?
Goodbye summer & welcome autumn!

Monday, September 28, 2009

The Much Anticipated Fireman Chris!

During the last week of August by boys were treated to a very V.I.P. tour of the Syracuse fire station. My mom's friend & co-worker (Rachel) has a son-in-law that is a firefighter, and had agreed a while ago to take my boys on a tour of his fire station! So, my mom helped coordinate with Rachel and her daughter Kelly to set things up. As was mentioned in a previous post from a playgroup fire station tour in July, Noah is really interested in firemen, fire trucks, and all things fire-related right now. So, this was a highly anticipated excursion for him to meet fireman Chris. It was funny how once we got there Noah was having one of his super-shy moments (you can kind of see it in his expression here), but he got over it after not too long.

We got to do and see a lot of things on this tour that we didn't on the last tour, and the one-on-one time with a real fireman was so much fun for the boys! Here is Lincoln trying on fireman Chris' boots!

Noah's turn to try on the boots...

And Noah even got to try on fireman Chris' hat. Here he is trying to look at it while wearing it.

Next it was time to see the fire engines! The boys were both able to take their time sitting up in the front of the fire engine (no need to hurry since there weren't other kids on the tour)! Noah was quite comfortable sitting up in that front seat. I'm pretty sure that it made him feel pretty important, but it made him look so tiny sitting way up there in that big seat. Fireman Chris let Noah actually sit strapped in on the front seat while he pulled the engine out of the station! Noah thought that was pretty fun!

While fireman Chris drove the engine out of the station, I sat in the back of the engine with Lincoln. I had a hard time getting a picture of Lincoln because I had to hold him most of the time...he wanted to climb over and touch everything back there.

Fireman Chris even turned on the lights and sirens and let Noah honk the horn once they were outside!

And then it was Lincoln's turn to "drive" the engine with lights/sirens and to honk the horn...

I just missed Lincoln honking the horn on this clip, but I still wanted to include this short clip showing how seriously Lincoln was taking this driving business.
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Next the boys got to hold the fire hose! I think that I almost thought that was as cool as the boys did!...and I didn't know that fireman Chris was going to even turn the water on and let them spray the hose! At first the boys just stood there holding the hose like they weren't quite sure what was going on, but luckily they both stayed put and Chris was able to explain things to them and let them give it a try!

I loved how attentively they listened to him...

At first the boys were kind of in disbelief about spraying water out of that big hose, but slowly the smiles began creeping across their faces. Here's a quick clip of the first time they turned on the hose:
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Noah getting a turn...

Now, I missed the huge grin on Noah's face right after I snapped this picture because I was too busy running away...fireman Chris had just told Noah to spray his mom, and I knew all too well that Noah would if Chris let him!

I love this shot for several reasons...but a couple of them include Noah's cute profile shadow, and Lincoln in the background on his tip-toes trying to get to some of the truck's dials...


Lincoln's turn to spray the hose!


He loved it! Watch his cute little smile in this short clip:
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I'm pretty sure that Lincoln could have sprayed that hose all day if we had let him.

Noah, Lincoln & Fireman Chris in front of the engine.

Me with my boys.

Lincoln loved walking back and forth on the front of one of the engines still parked inside the garage.

Noah listening attentively as fireman Chris gave more explanations of different equipment.

Noah trying to hold one of the heavy tools...

I'll admit that I was a wee-bit nervous with Noah holding this one (it's hard to see, but the very end of it comes to a sharp point)...

Lincoln was intrigued with his reflection in the fire engine's shiny wheels...my mom and I were amused by how small those tires made Lincoln look (it's not often that we say Lincoln looks small you know).

Noah by one of the engine's tires too.

Then fireman Chris and his wife Kelly took the boys all the way to the top of the firetruck because they thought the boys would think it would be fun. Noah seemed to like it, but Lincoln got really nervous - he got really whiney, worried, and was calling for mommy. You can see in this zoomed in picture that fireman Chris was trying to show Lincoln where I was to soothe him. Nope. He'd have none of it.


The funny thing that we realized later though was that he wasn't nervous being up there (without me) - he just didn't want this stranger holding/restricting him. He wanted to run around the top of the ladder truck by himself (obviously not an option). When they got him down, he immediately tried to go back up the stairs. When the stairs got pulled up, Lincoln stuck out his lip and mumbled and pouted around for a couple of minutes...

The last hurrah though was fireman Chris going down the fire pole. I wish I'd gotten Lincoln's huge "oh!" face right as Chris came down - he loved it (both boys did). Immediately after Linc realized what fireman Chris had just done, he bolted for the stairs that Chris had gone up to get to the pole (Linc wanted to give things a try himself):
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Noah giving fireman Chris a hug to say thank you...

I asked Noah if I could get one last picture before leaving, and he actually stood there and smiled while striking this pose with his hand on his hat! He came up with that pose on his own, and his hand came down and he ran off right after I took the photo...but that was one of the highlights of the visit for me :)

Noah leaving with fireman Chris.

This is what Lincoln thought about being done at the fire station. He threw himself down face first and just screamed and cried...poor kid. I'm glad that he must have had a good time though!

Goodbye Syracuse Fire Department! And thanks again, Fireman Chris!

After our fun time at the fire station we took the boys to McDonald's for dinner and to burn off any remaining energy that they might have. So, after all that fun they were in great need of a good bath. We took them back to my parent's house and gave them a bubble bath in their nice, big bath tub. They loved it!

This clip cracked me up. It's fun to just watch them interact, but Noah's little laugh is just too cute:
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Then we realized that it would make for some serious bubble fun to turn on the jets!

They loved it, and it cracked my mom and I up how they just looked like little floating heads!


I suppose I should document this strange stage for Lincoln...he eats bubbles (not to mention lotion, soap, etc). Bubbles in the bath, bubbles that we blow outside, any bubbles. He'll even drink them right out of the bottle if we let him get his hands on an open container. Yuck, kiddo.

I wish that I could remember what Lincoln was doing this for, but I can't. I still had to include the shot though...

A good one to end on.
A huge thanks again to Fireman Chris, Kelly, Rachel, and Grandma Jana for putting together such a fun day time for us! The boys loved had such a great time (and so did I)!