28 June 2012

Sam's Birthday

As you know, one thing that Ryan and I both love is looking at fancy cakes. Sometimes we try to make fancy cakes, but the results are usually disappointing. To be honest, I think Ryan would have better luck if I wasn't involved. This year for Sam's birthday we decided to carve a cake into an airplane shape. The night before his birthday I started baking the sheet cakes so that we would be ready to go with our cake assembly the next day. And this is what happened:

Blah. So Sam started the morning of his birthday with a grocery store run with Ryan to get more cake mix. He didn't mind- he got a pack of gum all to himself!

Poor Aunt Cassi was feeling sick that day, so instead of going on a big family bike ride, she offered to stay home with Benjy so that Ryan and I could take Sam out to the "big playplace". I think Sam really enjoyed have time alone with Mommy and Daddy, and he certainly enjoyed playing!

We let him open presents when he got home, and then put him down for a nap. Ryan took it upon himself to make Sammy's cake memorable. I was excused from cake duty because of "excessive spaziness." Look how it turned out!

Okay, the lighting sucked. My bad.

Ryan modeled it after Sam's favorite toy airplane. Can you imagine how excited our little guy was when he woke up and saw his airplane cake?
Cassi felt well enough to eat a piece of cake

Del, the owner of our apartment complex. His birthday is the day after Sammy's

Ryan sliced up his masterpiece willingly

I don't know what kind of cake we'll make for Benjy's 1st birthday, but I tell you this for free- Ryan will be making it.

Unhappy Feet

A vulture bit my foot today.
I am not making this up.

My friend Michelle and I took our kids to the zoo today. Owing to various reasons (my windshield wipers breaking at the exact same time, and Sam's car seat tipping over while driving), it took us a lot longer to get to the zoo than we had planned. Once we got to the zoo, Benjy had a minor poo explosion, so we had to deal with that before we saw any animals. Instead of seeing some animals and then taking a break so I could feed Benjy, he was demanding to be fed before we even made it to the elephants. The bird show was about to begin, so I suggested to Michelle that we sit and watch the show while I fed the baby. We tried to park our strollers near the door to the Wildlife Theater with all the other strollers, but the door Nazi made us move our strollers way far away (I have more to say about the door Nazi, but that's a story for another post). By the time we got into the Theater, Benjy was pretty unhappy, and there were no spaces available in the shade. We did scoot some kids who were sitting away from their parents, and made enough room for Michelle to sit with her daughter and Sam. I managed to find a seat on the aisle not too far away, and just baked in the sun while Benjy nursed under the safety of his cover. I did enjoy watching the birds while I fed the baby. When he was done, I settled him on my lap and tried to shade him with the nursing cover while watching the rest of the show. The bird handlers started to explain that vultures hunt using their sense of smell, which is unusual for birds.
Then the yellow headed vulture landed on the perch ten feet away from me. Oh wow, that's so cool, I thought.
It hopped off the perch and walked over to me. I can't believe I get to see it up close!
It kept coming. Um, where the heck is the handler? Maybe I should give Benjy to the person sitting next to me.
And then it went for my foot. What the #*(( is happening? Get this %@#*&!! bird away from me! OWW OWW OWW!
That's when the handler finally shooed the bird away. Good thing too, because if I'd lost a toe I'd be demanding that the zoo kill that vulture and give it to me for dinner. You know, like when I ate that ostrich.

They didn't even give me free tickets for the Zoofari Express train.

23 June 2012

Benjy's Baby Blessing

Our littlest one received a name and a special blessing in church on Sunday. What a happy day! Many of our friends came to celebrate, and best of all- Aunt Cassi was there, too! Ryan blessed Benjy, and our Bishop and friends Anthony, Jacob, Michael, and Aaron stood with Ryan in the circle.

Benjy got a bath so he would be nice and clean!

So proud and happy!

B with his "quasi" aunt and uncle, Angie and Jacob

The whole gang (except Merrill, who had to leave early)

With Aunt Cassi!

There are days when I cannot believe we are a family of four. Mind boggling!

17 June 2012


Sammy got dressed up special for church today, because it was the day of Benjy's baby blessing. He looked so cute that I just had to take pictures of him. I don't know why, but he sure is uncooperative when it is time to take pictures!

This one is okay, except it looks like he's picking a wedgie

My favorite

Okay, this one's cute. Well done, Sammy.

12 June 2012


 I love to create! I think it drives my dear wife crazy sometimes. It's not like I can just sit down for an hour with finger paints and let the little Warhol inside mess around for while. Campbell's soup can? Why not! First, a little bit of red... She might actually be able to tolerate that because it would mean both Sammy and I were happily occupied. No no no. I collect stuff. Usually lots of it. And it all becomes a part of a BIG plan to tell a story through creation.

Take this chair, for example. A few months ago, as I was just leaving my graveyard shift at the hospital, I turned onto the side road to head home. There on the road, next to someone's garbage cans, I saw this awful teal/stained chair awaiting its fate. While trying to block out Kara's rational thoughts streaming through my head, I chucked the chair in my trunk and headed home. It smelled like wet dog hair set on fire! I told myself that Kara would love it... as long as she didn't know it existed.

It sat in the back of our garage for a few months while I thought about what the heck I was going to do with an old, smelly chair. I eventually went to work on it. I have been taking it with me almost everywhere. It's been wonderful to have this enemy gradually become my friend. I did most of the work late at night at the hospital during quiet times. I must have pulled 500 staples out of this thing! I had never before reupholstered a piece of furniture, so I took every piece off, labeled it and put it in a bag for future reference. After the tear down, I started with the wood. I sanded it all down (made my house VERY dusty for a while) and re-stained the wood. As you can see, the wood on the arm rests were very badly damaged. I had to fill in those gouges with wood filler. Once the wood was patched up and stained, my Kara, big boy Sammy and little Bunjy helped me pick out some fabric. I wanted a SUPER overstuffed chair, so I used some foam I had saved from our old mattress topper to give the arms and seat double stuffing. I then waited and watched for an old couch that somebody might throw out so that I could get a bigger piece of foam for the seat back. EUREKA! Our neighbors thew out a couch within a few days. I had to cut that piece of foam little by little until it was the right shape and size. I was buried in a sea of foam chunks that night!

 After settling on a fabric, I set to work on the pattern. We thought it would be neat to experiment with the embroidery function on our sewing machine (THANK YOU Lisa). I just let the chair put itself together. I would just look at it and it would seem to tell me what to do next. It was really fun, albeit time consuming. Measure, cut, sew, measure again... oops... repeat. I stapled it all back together, added some trim and some brass nails. It's all interconnected, so fixing anything on this would be a problem. So, of course, after it was all together, a seam busted on the seat. Oh well. It now sits in my office at the seminary where I hope it will stay for the next 30 years. It seems to hug me when I sit on it. That poor, ugly orphan on the side of the road is now my friend. In some ways, that explains why I like to create. You should try it!

Here are a few pictures of other things I have enjoyed creating.

Harry Potter Pumpkin - Halloween 2009

Maple Leaf Wind Chime. This was made for Kara's grandparent's wedding anniversary. Her grandpa is from Canada. Each leaf has a name of one of their children, grandchildren, or great grandchildren.

My dad is my creative inspiration. He is a truly gifted creator. His creations have been both large and small and of all the things he has taught me, his love for creating has left the deepest impression. I carved this old man's head out of bass wood one night at the hospital. After I carve a cowboy hat and bandana, paint it, and put a long cork on the bottom, I will send it to him so he can use it in his kitchen as a bottle topper.