"We're patting our OWN backs"

Did anyone watch LOST last night?
With the writer's strike, we haven't been expecting any of our shows to start airing. In fact, we've taken to watching old episodes of Northern Exposure on PBS. (Apparently I missed that boat the first time around. And I'm loving the show now! Great writing and great characters. Check it out)
So...we were pretty surprised last night when we saw that LOST was recording on the tivo. I thought it was a repeat, but I checked the info and it said "2008". Well okay! Woohoo! We watched American Idol and then settled in to watch a great new opener of the LOST season.
But as the first scene came on, we noticed that the footage looked familiar. And THEN we noticed this annoying ticker line/subtitle thing at the bottom of the screen with dumb info and questions, "this is a flashforward" (um, yea, got it. thanks?) "this was not the first Oceanic flight that Jack was drinking on"...."What does this newspaper article say?"...."Looks like a turbulent flight!" We finally looked at the info button again and realized this was a repeat of last season's finale with an "insider look at facts and info". Oh pa-lease. What a cheap trick by the creators to air something "new" while not having to do anything. You know, if I've seen an episode once, I think I'm set. I don't need to watch it again with stupid words at the bottom telling me what it all meant. And I don't need joey montage episodes, rehashing everything that happened in the season (another LOST faux pas). It's like all those reality shows that have a "reunion episode" because they think we care about that stuff? I just want to see the real show! Or rappers who sing about how great they are. Um, shouldn't the rapping just speak for itself? I guess I'm saying that while Casey and I enjoy LOST (and have watched it since Season 1), the show is far too self-congratulatory for our taste. They just continue to pat themselves on the back.
Am I....lost?


The Pasadena Library

Every Tuesday morning we go to StoryTime at the Pasadena Central Library. The building is beautiful and near the Old Town area. For about 25 min, the kids have story time, sing songs, get their sillies out, and watch a short little movie (often from the "Little Bear" series. I love it). And even more fun is that 4 of us from the ward are in the same class together. So the moms get to chat afterward and sit on nice cozy chairs while the kids read books together.
There's a little nook with a windowsill where the kids can sit and pull books out of the basket. The warm sunlight pours in. It was too cute to not take a picture of them reading.
Michael, Grace, and Lucy (Chloe was out of town today):
There is some really beautiful architecture around Pasadena. Here's the view out of that same window:

he smiles

I have to admit, Owen is a high-maintenance little guy. Whenever he's awake, he's either squirming, crying, grunting, or just wants to be held. Rarely will he chill on his blanket or hang out in the swing....but we're working on it! He has started to smile a bit though! And every time he does it I just have to smile and coo back at him. Here he is actually being chill. So cute:
And a little smile!
And here's a short video of him acting content (for a brief moment). He seems to like the mobile above his swing. Unfortunately there's Disney music playing in the background so you can't hear his little coos. But he IS starting to talk every now and then:


Make your blog into a book

Some of you asked what site my sister-in-law Laura used to turn her blog into a hard-bound book...and here it is: www.blurb.com
It's similar to making a book on iphoto or shutterfly. It's reasonably priced and so great if you're a blogger and want to keep a hard copy of all the posts and pictures you've taken. You simply upload your blog link and it does a rough format for you. Then you can go in and customize things, add more text, delete things, move pictures around etc. And you don't have to have a blog to make these books. They're a great alternative to scrapbooking.
Laura is doing a book for every year that she blogs. And I think I'm going to join her. It's such a great idea! I haven't seen her hard bound book yet, but she showed me her template online and it looks great! Just to give you some specs, her book has 240 pages, 560 something photos, and it cost about $70. She was also clever and ordered 2 copies of the book: 1 copy to leave out for people to look at and 1 copy to put away and store as their "personal history".


It's gonna be cold, it's gonna be grey, and it's gonna last you for the rest of your life.

I'm glad I don't live in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. But this week I'm starting to relate more with all our Utah friends because it's freeezing here! And I mean that literally. Check out the snow on the foothills in front of our house in southern California! (foothills yes, not mountains). It rained all day yesterday and the forecast for the rest of this week and next is rain, rain, and more rain. Booooo.To add to the gloomy mood, Lucy came down with stomach flu yesterday afternoon. She was playing over at Chloe's house and seemed fine and happy. And then wham, it hit. Poor Sarah and Darin, they got to clean up the really messy stuff. Sorry guys! There's nothing like watching your cute little child throw up again and again and again. Her poor little body was exhausted and finally conked out at 10pm. The saddest was when she'd look at me with big puppy dog eyes and in a quivering soft voice ask for "milk?", "milk?" Poor thing. Instead she got orange Pedialyte!
On a brighter note, we had a fun weekend before all the cold weather hit. We went down to Huntington Beach and hung out with all the siblings to celebrate my brother Eric's birthday. We all met up at the park, where Owen went swinging for the first time!
Then we went back to Eric and Laura's place for a fun/chill evening. The kids were in heaven pulling out every toy from every cupboard. The boys had an in-depth conversation. And the girls looked at Laura's new blog book that's being printed and bound. What an excellent idea! I'm adding that to my list of long-term projects. Sometimes I wish we had soft carpet like the Sumans: On the drive to HB, Lucy discovered that if she plugs her ears, Owen's crying in the car isn't quite as obnoxious. We keep telling her: KARMA. It's payback time little lady. And she also discovered that she can sit her doll stroller. What a skinny little bum she has.
And she also figured out how to same the names of her favorite Yo Gabba Gabba characters. Here she is saying them along with the YGG opener (in her language of course..."Merr" for Muno, "Poopa" for Foofa, "Rory" for Brobee, "Ti" for Tutti, and "Bot!" for Plex - the roBOT)

Lucy and Owen are both taking naps and no one has thrown-up in 9 hours. Woohoo! Let's hope it's a better day today.


Lucy Talk

My brother thinks Lucy talks like a gremlin. And well, she does.
And we finally caught it on video! So check out her cell phone conversation. She definitely speaks jibberish, but she has all the right voice inflections and even pauses for responses. Pretty funny:

When Lucy was 15 months old, her doctor wanted me to take her to a speech therapist because she wasn't speaking (words that we could understand, that is). But I thought that was extreme and decided to wait till she was 2. Well, she's 1 month shy of 2, and for the past few months she's really started to talk! (aside from the Gremlin speak) and seems to mimic words we say to her. It's real cute. She can count up to 9, knows many letters of the alphabet, folds her arms and says amen, can say "einstein!", and today finally said the name of her cute friend, "Chloe!"
She's still behind her peers in the speech category, but I think she'll catch up. And I have to attest that much of her speech has come from watching Sesame Street. When we're out running errands, she'll point out letters that I had no idea she knew. And then I'll see those letters on Sesame Street and she'll get all excited about them. So there you go! Sesame Street works!
Of course it's still funny to hear the gremlin talk too.

Like father, Like son

Why do I get the impression these two are related....?
In their defense, they have their good moments too:


Kids "This is Me" Journal

A friend here in LA has started making and selling the most adorable journals for children. She remembered having one as a child where she could write fun memories, draw pictures, and list her favorite things. As she started looking for one for her 5 year old daughter, she couldn't find anything she liked. So she made one! The website is: www.thisismejournal.comI think I may have to buy one. Lucy's a little young for it now....but in a couple years. Casey had one when he was kid and it's real fun to look back on it and read the things he wrote and drew as a child.



It seems that we've been going to various parks every morning this past week. Just gotta get out of the house. So today's outing was to the Arcadia Arboretum. A bunch of us in the ward go to Story Time at the Pasadena library...and so we all headed to the Arboretum afterward because today was Free Day! You could spend hours there walking the grounds and studying the different species of trees. But um....we had 9 kids between the 4 moms. So mostly, the kids ran around on the grass and tried to play in the fountains. Here's what we look like on a normal outing:
This fountain was far too tempting. The steps actually lead down TO the water.
All the girls were ready to put their paws in:
Shannon with some of the kids. I like this picture because Lucy looks so funny, like an outcast, not sitting with the group. Funny girl.
Finally we found a fountain they could play in. It was just tall enough that all they could do was splash around with their hands.
The kids just looked so cute, I kept snapping pictures.


1 Month Old

Our little Owen is already a month old! He's actually 5 weeks, but we took him to his 1 month Dr. Appt on Saturday. So here are his stats:
9 lbs 10 oz
21 1/2 inches

He's in the 50th percentile for height and weight (which is what he was at birth too). He just keeps growing. What a smart boy. Casey and I hope he'll be a better eater than Lucy (who's in the 5th percentile for weight).
He's a cute little guy....even if he looks like an old man sometimes.
(the onesie Owen's wearing is from my friend Laura Daines. She made them for all the moms having "Golden Pig" babies this year - in the year of the pig. They are adorable. She's crafty. She made another one with a stamp of California and a heart cut-out right over Southern Calif. Thanks Laura!)

Dancing with the Girls?

We started our babysitting swap again this past Saturday. So we had Chloe and Owen (different from our Owen) over for the evening. Lucy loves having friends to play with and the three of them are close in age, so it's great. They ran around the house for a good hour. And they did some dancing (see video below). I love Owen's reaction. He's not sure he wants to participate with the girls...or does he?....



I hope this post doesn't offend anyone since I really don't mean to sound rude. But I do have a blogging pet peeve. And I saw someone else post about it on their blog, so I thought I would too.
I really don't like it when people have music on their blog or website.

A. I never remember who has music and who doesn't on their blogs and if the volume is up high on my computer, the music is all of a sudden blaring in the room when I click on a blog.

B. Usually if I'm at the computer, I'm already listening to my own music. So I'm set in that category.

C. When I go to a blog and hear the music come on, I quickly scroll down to find the "pause" button on the player. But then a minute later, I'll click on a picture or something on your blog and when I come back to the homepage, there's the music again! Annoying.

D. Often I just hit the mute button when I go to blogs with music, but that doesn't work if Lucy's at the computer with me watching a video or something (while I kill time checking Google Reader and the blogging world).

I'm not saying people shouldn't have music on their blogs. To each their own. But I have noticed that some people have music players which default to "pause" when you go to the blog. So if I do choose to listen to music, I can click play....otherwise it's just silent.

Okay, there you go. I'm done. I'm sure I commit blogging etiquette which annoys others. I probably ramble too long and post too many pictures. So if my blog annoys of you, feel free to post about it :).


New Years with the Sumans and the rest of Vacation

This should be my final installment of Christmas/New Years updates. So get ready for a lot of pictures!

It was great having Casey home for a few weeks over the holidays. We took Lucy to the park, which she loves and spent most of the time on the swings. These big red swings are soooo luxurious.
Casey tried to teach Lucy to kick her soccer ball. She's was into for a few seconds, then wanted to go on the swings again.
The Sunday before Christmas, my parents and sister Meredith came up to our apartment to celebrate Christmas with us. What fun! They brought gifts, tons of goodies, and yummy cherry cobbler. From Gram and Papa, Lucy got a cute little bike with a trailer in the back. She loves it and tows her toys around the house:
Owen spent the evening chilling in his swing (and being held):For New Year's Eve most of the siblings and cousins were back in town so we went down to my parent's house to hang out with everyone. That night we went next door to Aunt/Uncle's house to play games and eat food. Amazingly enough, we all stayed up till midnight! We were impressed with ourselves (and were very tired the next day). Happy New Year little Willard family:
Casey left early New Years Day to come back to Pasadena. He's in the Young Men's program at church and every year they do a scouting fundraiser by selling parking spots in the church parking lot for the Rose Parade. We were sad to see him go. Especially since we ended up going to the park for a couple hours and doing what he loves best...hitting baseballs! (well, they were more like wiffle balls and the bat was plastic). Jeremy got a cool ball-pitching machine for Christmas, so we set it up on the grass and everyone took a turn. Brennan and Carter:
I even tried it with Owen in the Baby Bjorn. Everyone was freaking out though as they saw him getting whiplash each time I swung the bat. Sorry little guy! I toned it down after that.
All the girls: cousin Rachael, me, cousin Karis, sister-in-law Laura, sister Camille, sister Meredith:
Jeremy and Braedon tried to fly the kite, but there wasn't much wind.
Lucy spent most of the time sitting on the grass watching the pitching machine and holding on to stray balls.
And Owen got some quality time in grandpa's arms. He loves holding his grandkids.Later in the week, some of my family came up here to LA and we went to the Getty. I hadn't been there in years and it's still as beautiful, clean, and enchanting as I remember. I actually love the grounds of the museum, the gardens, and architecture better than the actual artwork. Too bad it wasn't sunny because with all those ivory colored stones, the place feels like it's glowing.
Meredith and her twin sister:
There are some cool views of the greater LA area:
Mere, Jeremy, and Lucy:
I realized that day that museums are the best place for a photo shoot. So many cool back drops.
This photo looks like she's pondering the meaning of rocks in water. But she's actually seeing how close to the edge she can get before I'll tell her to stop (it's hard to tell, but the water starts right where her feet are. It's very shallow, about 2 inches of water). She did this repeatedly for a good 1/2 hour:
Lucy looks so old to me in this picture. She's a kid, no longer a baby. And she's started posing again for pictures when she sees my camera.
There was a very cool kids area. This room had a traveling/Route 66 backdrop with big magnets the kids could pull on and off. The other side was full of rear view mirrors. See if you can spot Laura, Lucy, Ava, and uh...my pants:Fish-eye shot from the outside of the room.
And I love this picture. The colors, the funny tubes, and the lighting look so great on them. Camille and Jeremy:
After the Getty we had lunch at Wahoos, stopped at Diddy Riese for ice cream sandwiches, and then headed home. It was a fun outing with fun people!

And that's the end of our adventures. Life is pretty much back to normal. We are all feeling healthy, the laundry is in the washer, and I'm all caught up with my blogging!