Saturday, February 6, 2016

He Blinded Me with Science!

Nate had his first Pinewood Derby.

He put a lot of thought into what he wanted his car to look like.  Because he's fascinated with the ocean, he designed a hammerhead shark.  Dad did the big cuts and then Nate did all the sanding and finishing.

It has a back fin and a hammer head.  He painted it himself, including red eyes and gills.  He was very pleased with his design,

Then we started racing the cars.

Let's just say Hammerhead wasn't ahead.  A lot of the Dads had obviously helped A LOT with these cars.  

A little boy was very disappointed and I could see tears welling up in his eyes.

"Hold on, buddy," I said.  "Let's look at this."  

I pulled him up on my lap and we looked at the track and watched the different speeds for the different cars as the race continued.  I explained the design of the track and how the design of the track meant that any car with weights on the bottom had drag and friction as the weights impacted the clearance on the car.  I talked about gravity and airflow and pull.  

"All those things as acting on all those cars, Nathan, and each of those forces is impacting the speed of each car.  It doesn't mean you didn't do an awesome job or that your hammerhead isn't amazing.  It's just science and it's acting on each of those cars."

He was quiet for a bit.

"So, wait... you're saying science WANTS me to lose??"

(sigh... one more time from the top)

Friday, February 5, 2016

Many Cats. Many Bags.

A few weeks ago I walked in on Sophia sing-songing the word "Idiom" at her brother.


It was your typical, "I'm going to say this word because you're going to think I'm saying "idiot" and when you try to tattle you'll be wrong and then you'll get in trouble for tattling" kid sister move.

After listening to them bicker and sing-song, I said," Sophia, do you even know what 'idiom' means?"

"Yeah," she said.  "It's when you say something and it means something else.... like when you say, "laughing your socks off" but really it just means you're happy".

I looked in stunned silence at my kindergartner, thinking it was probably  9th grade before I'd learned that word.

I left her alone.  I figured any 6 year old who can define "idiom" deserves a bit of uninterrupted taunting with it.

She'd earned it.

A few weeks later, we were in the store and Sophia came running up to me, eyes bright and sparkling and her little finger wagging at me.

"Mom!  Don't tell!  I'm a ninja!  It's a secret!"

"Oh!  OK," I said.  "I won't tell.  But will you say that again because you're kind of adorable and I want a picture."


We finished our shopping and went to the clerk.  

Next thing I knew my daughter was saying to the total stranger store clerk, 'Don't tell anyone! I'm a ninja!  It's a secret!"

"Soph!" I exclaimed. "I need to get you ninja etiquette lessons.  You're not supposed to TELL PEOPLE you're a ninja!  Ninjas are secret and no one knows they're ninjas!" as I smiled at the clerk. . Turns out the clerk had her own 5 yr old little girl ninja.  She and Sophia shared some tips and tricks of the trade for the clerk to take home to her daughter.

Then, the other night, I was tucking Sophia into bed.  She mentioned, "idiom" again.  I asked her if she still remembered what it meant.  

"Yeah... it's when a thing doesn't mean what it sounds like... like when you talk about the cat being in the bag."

I said, "You mean, 'let the cat out of the bag'?"

"Yeah.  That one.  What does that mean, Mom?"

I said, "That's when you tell a secret you're not supposed to tell.  

"Oh!" she said, her face suddenly very solemn and knowing, "Like when I tell people I'm a ninja.  That's letting the cat out of the bag, right, Mom?"

Yes, sweetheart.  That's letting the cat out of the bag.

Monday, February 1, 2016

I Look Fantastic!

Dressed up for an evening out - Jan 2015 - wearing pink Hello Kitty gardening gloves and an understated single strand of pearls

Sunday, January 31, 2016

WWDMD (What Would Doc McStuffins Do)

Jan 2014

Sophia fell asleep hard on her bed.  Nathan got out the play doctor set and tried to listen to her heart to "make sure she isn't dead, Mom"

Saturday, January 30, 2016


A couple of years ago, Nathan recieved his US Citzenship.  It doesn't look like I posted about it, but we had a barbecue with a bouncy house and had all the neighbors and family over.

It was the culmination of several long years of work for us.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Parent Teacher Conference

Nathan is in Chinese Immersion.  It's his 2nd year and it's not easy.  They have two teachers - one teachsuer does their Spelling and Reading in English, and then the other half-day they move to the classroom next door and their Chinese teacher does their Math and Science, but in Chinese.  They end up learning the same things as "regular" school, but with Chinese thrown on top of it.

This last fall, we went to parent-teacher conference.  His teachers had good feedback on Nathan.

When I got home, I pulled him into my lap and said, "Your teachers say you're doing really well.  Your reading has improved, you do a good job with spelling and math.  Your Chinese teacher says that when she calls on you, you always know the answer, even if you hadn't raised your hand.  I'm really proud of you for working so hard and for doing your best."

He grinned, the special smile he does when he's thrilled and trying not to let it show.  It's restrained but you can see in his eyes that he's bursting with joy.

"Will you tell me that again?" he said.

I snuggled him some more and told him the same words again.

He took a shower and got ready for bed.  He came to me before bedtime and said, "Tell me again what my teachers said", still reveling in the news that he was succeeding.

The next morning, he came into my room before my alarm went off.  He climbed into bed with me and said, "Mama, tell me again what a great day I'm going to have at school today!"

I try to tell them when they're doing well and praise them for trying.  It was a good reminder that maybe there are never enough kind words rained on young, growing hearts.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

The More You Know

June 14, 2014

Sophia:  I not a mom; I just a sweetheart

June 26, 2014

Nathan told me I needed to "realized that people are different" when I asked why did he didn't like the dinner I made.

June 28, 2014

Nathan says his bike isn't just a dirt bike.  It's also a grass bike, a snow bike and a concrete bike.  #themoreyouknow

Wednesday, January 27, 2016


Took the kids for a drive in the canyon.  They each had a pair of little kid binoculars.  Sophia bent down with hers and stuck the ends in the water to "see fish".

Nathan watched her for a second and said, 'Does that work?? I'm totally doing it!"

Tuesday, January 26, 2016



Sophia watching me polish my shoes before work.

"Mom, what is that stuff?  Make-up for your shoes?"

(pretty accurate for a 5 yr old, right?)

Nathan:  Mom, I'm thinking of my favorite shape I'd like to be.  (Looks at me with eyes that say, "Guess what it is!:)
Me:  Hmmm... let me study your face.... is it a square?  No?  Is it a circle?
Nathan:  Nope!  it's a rectangular prism because it's my favorite shape and it's also a word I like to say! (Said with tone like 'BAM! (drops microphone))

S: Is Mama coming home?
N: Yes. she's coming home.  What did you think?  She went to Seattle?
S:  Who is 'Attle?


Nathan and Brent were tickling and Brent made a weird noise.  Nathan said, "You sound like a wolf with a kidney stone, Dad!"

Sophia gets in trouble for calling her brother a "butt" and saying other words that we classify as "potty words". . She was playing around, putting a pillow on the floor and then jumping off the couch onto it and I heard her exclaim the first time she landed "Look!  That didn't even hurt my potty word" (literally using the words "potty word" instead of saying "butt")  Apparently we need to work on context and intent....

Me:  Nate, I think they're making another 'Finding Nemo' movie.
Nate:  Ugh!!  He's lost AGAIN??
(My sister's response to this story was that she believes the entire plot of the 2nd movie is a crew following Dory around while she tapes "Have you seen this fish?" signs on telephone poles.)

Sophia:  Mom, Nate had a friend over and they invited me into their funness!

S: Mama, remember when I was a baby and then I grew up and up and up into this person?

Nathan has a friend over.  I can hear them wrestling (what is it about 8 yr old boys and wrestling?)
I hear nathan say, "Now, here's a little something I like to call 'expertise'!"

Sunday, January 24, 2016

More quotes


Me:  Nathan, what does "old man" mean?
N:  That you're old and a man and you're going to die soon.
Me:  So is Dad an old man?
N:  Nah... he still has a few weeks

Sophia to Brent:  Daddy, ,you can do anything!  You can kill flies or even turn on cartoons!


Sophia:  That boy is looking at me.  It must be because I'm so cute.

(Now, 18 months later,, she's figured out they're staring at her stub and it really bothers her.  Wanted to document the earlier days)

Nathan to neighbor who was working in her yard.  Nathan was over chatting and just talking, and apparently trying to figure out why certain bugs were named the way they are:

"Did you know that the biggest bug is an ant that's as big as a person?  They live in armies.  My grandpa was in the Army, but luckily he never saw any of those ants."

I dropped something on the floor.

Sophia:  Why you drop that?
Nathan:  It's called 'gravity'

Nathan:  Mom!  I just had a great idea from my scientific brain!

11/30/14 (continued)
TV show mentioned the year 1926.  Nathan said, "That's my favorite time" and I said, "That's a year, actually".  He said, "Yeah, but you just feel so much like yourself then."

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Cute Haircut

This was a couple years ago, but thought she was super cute.


Friday, January 22, 2016

Not as Old as You Think

Nathan was asking what school lunch was like when I was a kid.

I tried to explain that we didn't have chicken nuggets back then, which was baffling.

I was also trying to tell him that we didn't get choices... we just got whatever they served (and we liked it because we had no choice).

Nathan wasn't understanding what I was saying.  Finally, in exasperation, he said, "Mom, if you wanted to have turkey for lunch, would you buy it or catch it or rent it??"

Never get the rental insurance on the turkey, folks.  That's where they get you every time.  And always remember to top off the turkey before you return it...

In other news, Sophia was recently worried that someday in the future she'll have to get braces because "then I won't be able to scratch my teeth when they itch!!"  (I just live here)

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Hello, Snow!


I went somewhere with Sophia this weekend.  When we got out of the car,  there was a bank of fresh snow in front of us.

She started to cackle gleefully and exclaimed, "Hello, Snow!  Did you miss me??" and then proceeded to stomp happily through the clean drift.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

A week into Kindergarten...

Sophia was watching a cartoon about Clifford the Big Red Dog.  This particular episode was when Clifford was a teeny puppy.  She said, "I've never seen this one.  I've only seen the upper-case Clifford."

Here's her face on the way into the first day of kindergarten:

And here's the after!  She loves school!

She has made friends and absolutely adores her teacher.

She did tell me one day about playing, "Duck, Duck, Goose" at recess with another girl.  I said, "Who else played with you?"  She said, "Just us.  You can play Duck, Duck, Goose with two people, Mom." (eye roll)

Wow... I'll bet the anticipation is overwhelming.  WHO WILL BE THE GOOSE??

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Catching up old posts

Aug 17, 2015 (just before Nathan's 8th birthday, which is the age, in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that children become accountable and can be baptized)

Nate and Sophia were playing rough and I told them to stop.  Nate said, "She told me to" and I said, "You know better than that."

Nate raised an eyebrow and said, "I'm not baptized yet... you know this."

Monday, January 18, 2016

Shriner's Hospital for Children

Sophia has had a variety of challenges relative to missing her hand.  We'd been told that she'd need surgery to fuse her elbow (which bends in both directions instead of just one) before she'd be able to use a prosthetic, so we put it off, not wanting to put her through that sort of surgery at such a young age and wanting her to be old enough to have some say in the process.

She's been going to gymnastics for a few years.  She'll line up with the other kids and do all the things they do and fall flat on her face every time (because it's very difficult to do a handstand one handed or do to a one-armed cartwheel, even if you're good at it, and particularly if you're little).

Jumping off the rings at Gymnastics

She never gives up.  She just jumps to her feet with a smile and does it again and falls on her face again.

She started riding a bike and we found it's a bit like watching NASCAR... because of how she has to loop her stub around the handlebars of the bike which then tilts the steering to an angle-  she's always going in a circle the same direction.  One day she was really sad after riding her bike.  She said, "Mom, I just want to go straight."

She also said she wanted to be able to go somewhere and come back home.

That threw it over the top for me.

We started looking at options and were discouraged with what insurance will or won't cover.

Then we found Shriner's.

Honestly, there are no better people on the planet.  Their hospital is catered to children with serious needs and every single person we encountered there was joyful and caring and hopeful.

We had a consultation and they determined that she would not need surgery and that yes, they could help her.

They did molds of her arm, and instructed us to find the fabric we wanted to have cover it.

And they made her a wonderful, modular prosthetic.

It is lightweight (carbon fiber, kevlar and fabric layers with a resin that keeps it together and lets you wipe it down).  There's a sleeve that goes over her stub with an attachment pin.  The sleeve is all that holds it too her stub, but the latex-y material on the inside is enough to keep it gripped to her skin.

The prostethetic is the blue part (she picked "Elsa-colored butterflies" for her prosthetic fabric.  Years ago they used try to make them look like skin and it never really ends up looking natural so the thinking now is to make it an accessory and let it be its own thing, embracing it for what it is.)

She can put the whole thing on and off by herself.

The prosthetic two attachments that screw into the bottom of the prosthesis  - "the mushroom" she uses for tumbling and gymnastics and "the Lego hand" that is meant for riding her bicycle (the handlebar slips into the "Lego" looking part so she can steer.

Again, they used to try to make them something you'd wear all the time, but with the type of amputation she has, it never really works quite right and they learned that the limb would actually atrophy because the weight of the prosthetic and the bulk of the device would actual lead to fatigue and the child would end up using it less than they do the amputated limb.  Really, the limb doesn't stop her - she can do anything a regular kid does, light fight with a lightsaber....

...climb on the playground....

...fight like a pirate.... with her big brother...

But now she doesn't fall on her face at gymnastics and when she rides her bike, she can always turn the right way to make it back home.

Thank you, thank you, Shriner's!

Homemade Gecko

Nathan received a gecko for a birthday present last year.   He wanted his sister to have gecko, too, so he made this for her (it's a stuffed crocodile in an old aquarium, and yes, there's a bowl in there for water and a stick for ambiance)

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Pin the Tail on the Elephant

I'm positive someday I'll need proof of how well they get along.

Nathan made her a Pin the Tail on the Elephant game.  She was so excited..  He put a Santa hat on her and pulled it down over her eyes, and then spun her around, but he wanted her to win, so he guided her hand to the right spot.

This Made Me Laugh Way More than Was Appropriate for a Grown Woman

Christmas 2014

Sophia cut her finger on an ornament hook while we were decorating the tree and loudly exclaimed, "Mom!  I got cut by a hooker!"

Yeah, Cried Massive Mom Tears With This One

One of my favorite pictures of my kids was taken right after Sophia came home.  Nathan, you may recall, was so looking forward to teaching his new brother or sister how to not be afraid of the curvy slide.  Even though Sophia came home in February, it wasn't very long before he was out there, helping her climb up on the slide and teaching her to have fun on it.  A dream come true for my Little Man.

For my birthday last year, Brent had our awesome sister-in-law draw the photo I took of that day.

Yeah, cried some massive mom tears with this one.