Friday, December 31, 2010

Holiday adventures on a train, in the snow, in the cold, in the rain

This year we spent Christmas in Logan, Utah with the Humiston clan.  Our trip started on December 18 with 15 hours on a train, which went better than expected, even though Jared still doesn't sleep well on trains.  This was Todd's first train trip, and he could not get over the amount of leg room available.  Our train was shockingly early arriving in spite of a rain/snow storm all of the way through California.  The only incident on the train was as we were arriving in Salt Lake City.  Our car attendant came through to give the ten minute warning for the train stop sobbing and announcing to everyone that a passenger on the train had just died.  We found this to be very strange, unprofessional behavior, but, sure enough, there were paramedics and sobbing family members all over the platform when we got off the train.  And that was the end of our train drama.
Annika and Ryan (known to Jared as "Nanni" and "Ry-rah") sacrificed sleep to pick us up at 3:00 in the morning, and then let us cram into their tiny apartment for a couple of days.  Living in close quarters with my sister and her hubby gave Jared a special attachment to them.  He hasn't stopped asking for Nanni since we got home.
When we got to Logan there was a little bit of snow on the ground.  Jared was in bundled-up-baby heaven.  Here he is in all of his mismatched, too big snow gear.
I forgot what a project it can be to go outside and play when it is 30 degrees and wet outside.  It rained for the first three days of our visit and then the snow was no more.
One highlight of our trip was Jared's first ever basketball game.  My cousin, Carly, is a cheerleader at Morgan High School. Her school's basketball team played Logan High in Logan during the break, so we went to watch.  Jared loved the excitement.  He called out "Ball!" every few moments as he noticed again what everyone else was looking at.
Watching Jared was at least as much fun as watching the game.  Every time the buzzer sounded, he did a shockingly accurate imitation of it.  He was also excited about the giant stairs we were sitting on, keeping us constantly terrified that he was going to fall into the huge gaps by our feet.  He did his best to get into mortal peril, but we managed to take him away in one piece.
Another trip highlight for Jared was plunking on Mama Jill's piano, or "pappo."  He even sang along with his tunes.
Cheyenne, Andrew, and baby Aaron came a few days after we did, and then the cousin fun began.  By cousin fun I mean that Aaron watched Jared constantly enthralled by everything he did while Jared mostly ignored Aaron except to occasionally take his toys away.  Here are the babies with Ryan and Cheyenne on Christmas Eve in their new pajamas from Mama Jill.
Other fun activities included a visit from my dad,
going shooting,
swimming in this nice, warm pool,
way too short visits with my friends, Jordanne and Yeon Mi,
and, of course, all of the Christmas day festivities.  Here is Jared getting into his first Santa filled stocking ever with help from Aunt Faith.
Here are Cheyenne, Andrew, and Aaron on Christmas morning.
We opened presents at Grandma Jill's house before driving to Murray to spend the rest of the day with Jared's great grandparents and my uncles and cousins.  Here are some squirmy babies with their grandma.
It was great to spend this holiday with family and friends.  I think one of the highlights for Mama Jill was getting to go to church with the whole family the day after Christmas so she could show off her growing brood.  I also loved getting to go, as a family, to the Logan temple where Todd and I got married four and a half years ago.
We caught our train back to California on December 26 at 11:00 p.m. after a day of snowstorms.  Anni and Ryan sacrificed their sleep and safety on icy roads to drive us down to the station.  Thanks again, guys!  On the return trip we had a sleeping car.  Jared and I shared a bunk for the night, and he is a major bunk hog, but he slept really well.  Naps were better, too, in the privacy of a closed compartment.
This was a great trip.  Thanks to our Utah family and friends for making this a memorable Christmas.

Since I will probably never be organized enough to send actual Christmas cards, let me take this opportunity to wish our family and friends everywhere a belated Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas! I fail!

So almost a year ago I posted my 2010 new years resolutions and promised a portly sum of $100 for every resolution I did not achieve. Well its been almost a year and I know now which ones I have passed and which ones I have failed, and who I owe $100 to and who wont be taking my money this year.

To remind everyone, my goals were:
  1. Release 3 websites (I'll announce them as they are released here on our blog) (claimed by Colette)
  2. Release an Android/IPhone program on either the android market or the app store (claimed by Jill)
  3. Read The Book of Mormon from front to back before the end of April (to be paid out in May if I fail) (claimed by Dan)
  4. Learn how to Surf (claimed by Annika)
  5. Take at 3+ night campout with Jared (claimed by Ryan)
  6. Go out of my way to do additional exercise at least twice a week, with exceptions when traveling or in other exceptional situations (claimed by Annette)
  7. (Bonus Universe Imploding Goal!) Give at least one person $100 for failing one of my goals (claimed by Katie)
I have to say this year has been amazing. These goals motivated me to do things that I wouldn't have done otherwise, and had made my year that much more memorable. I am very happy I made these goals and tried hard to reach them.

Lets see how I did:

Release 3 websites (I'll announce them as they are released here on our blog) (claimed by Colette)
Release an Android/IPhone program on either the android market or the app store (claimed by Jill)

I consciously abandoned these 2 goals half way through the year. Maybe in a few years I'll get back to working on my personal nerd programming projects, but for now I am enjoying my family, work, and other responsibilities.

Colette gets $100
Jill gets $100

Read The Book of Mormon from front to back before the end of April (to be paid out in May if I fail)

I did achieve this goal (I finished a week or 2 early even, so dan, you owe me :)

Sorry Dan, I'll try to suck more next year.

Learn how to Surf (claimed by Annika)
Take at 3+ night campout with Jared (claimed by Ryan)

Woooo!! I did it! I went surfing, took a class and got up a handfull of times. It was incredibly fun, and I discovered how weak my arms and shoulders are. I really need to get to doing more pushups.

After having to canceling our camping reservation at Yosemite the night before due to a freak winter storm, and also deciding against spending a week in yellow stone (instead to spend time with our awesome Salmon family) we still pulled together 3 nights camping out.

1) We camped out in the back yard of Barbra and Boyd's house in Salmon
2) We camped out about 40 miles south of salmon. Despite it being very rainy and windy, Jared actually slept pretty well.
3) On the way up to Salmon we camped at Rye Patch Nevada. The campsite was full so we set up camp at the parking lot by the front entrance. At 2 am we decided it was to windy and jared would never get enough sleep with the tent almost blowing over on us, so we decided to pack up camp and continue to Winnemucca where we got a hotel room and slept for the rest of the night. Definitely not the worst camping experience I've ever had, but it sure was exhausting.

So that was great, I achieved these goals!

Well... In my original new years resolution post I wrote:
"if [...] Savannah decides that I failed at the goal you chose, I will mail you a check for $100"
Savannah loves loosing money I guess :). She said I had to go out on 2 different days in order for me to really _know_ how to surf. She also tells me that leaving at 2 am to go to a hotel can't count as camping. I have some father/son campouts that say contrary, but I gave her all authority in this matter so...

Annika gets $100
Ryan gets $100

Go out of my way to do additional exercise at least twice a week, with exceptions when traveling or in other exceptional situations (claimed by my Madre)

I went strong for about 6 months (which is a lot better than a lot of people thought I would, including myself).

My mom gets $100

(Bonus Universe Imploding Goal!) Give at least one person $100 for failing one of my goals

The universe survives to see another year, since I paid out at least $100

Sorry Katie, You dont get the $100, but then again, if I did owe you $100 I wouldn't... and then... Well... no point on dwelling on that potentially devastating situation.

Total cost of failing at my goals: $500
Total saved: $200 (kind of)

My hard work and determination to meet my resolutions has reminded me of quote from H. J. Simpson "You tried your best and you failed miserably. The lesson is 'never try'."

Who knows, if I can afford to set new years resolutions for 2011, I guess I should aim lower :).

Merry Christmas everyone!

Friday, December 17, 2010

It's a girl! . . . We think

On December 1 we had our 20 week ultrasound scheduled.  Todd was really looking forward to this, since this was the first thing that made Jared seem real last time around.  I'm afraid that this time was a little bit of a let down since Jared, who came with us unexpectedly, was bugged by the dark in the exam room and the length of the exam.  Not to mention the fact that, after an hour of waiting to hear what the baby is, the technician told us that she couldn't really tell.  She looked and looked, but what she finally said was, "Congratulations on your girl! I think."
It's not exactly the confidence we were looking for, but I'll take it.  I assumed we were having a girl anyway.  I have visions of pink dresses and baby dolls dancing in my head this holiday season.

Speaking of holidays, one of our neighbors told us about a neighborhood in San Carlos that requires all of the homeowners to decorate for Christmas.  For our Tucson readers, this is like a miniature version of Winterhaven.  On Tuesday evening we decided to check it out.  Most of the lights were more classy and subdued than we had expected.  We went a whole block and a half before we saw any inflatable snow globes.  My favorite was the yard with the thirty foot tall Christmas tree decked out in giant ornaments.

This was just the opening if our holiday season.  Since then we have been busily attending Christmas parties, shopping, wrapping, drinking cider, fighting off colds, packing, listening to Christmas music, and reveling in the spirit of Christmas.   There has only been one damper on our celebrations of this best time of the year.  On Thursday, December 9, Todd's mom was run over by a truck while she was out jogging.  Our worries and prayers for her have been uppermost in our thoughts for the past week, but she is getting excellent care.  Her healing is progressing faster than we could have hoped, even though it is going to be a long, slow road.  We are looking forward to being back in Tucson very soon to help, and give Grandma and Grandpa Knight some grandchild therapy.

In the mean time, our holiday vacation starts tomorrow morning bright and early with a train trip to Utah.  See you soon Utah relatives and friends!  Merry Christmas, everyone!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


I should have posted this a week ago, but somehow the holidays make time go by really fast.  On November 18, Jared and I flew to Tucson for a week and a half visit to family and friends there.  Todd joined us from the 21st to the 28th.  We had a fantastic and very relaxing trip.
One of our trip highlights was meeting new baby Annie for the first time, even if she slept through pretty much everything.
 Big sister Rachel's strawberry themed third birthday party was on the 20th.  I'm really impressed that Colette pulled this off with a three week old baby.  The party was complete with a strawberry shaped cake and a homemade strawberry pinata (which Jared napped through).
With dozens of trips to the park two blocks from Grandma and Grandpa Knight's house, Jared was in little boy heaven. He took two long naps a day and slept pretty well at night.  Here is Jared at the park in a little bit of a pickle.
Not content to go around the bar to get to the other side, Jared got himself stuck in this position three times.  I rescued him twice, but the third time he figured it out on his own. He got a face full of gravel for his pains and decided to stop flinging himself over the bar.  Einstein.
We did get together with lots of our Tucson friends while we were there, but, of course, we were having too much fun to remember to take pictures.  This is too bad because Jared and Landon and Sadie were really cute together, even if Landon was sick for most of our visit.  Jared caught a little cold in Tucson, too, and developed a strange rash on his face and limbs.  We were tempted to panic, but eventually decided that since it wasn't bothering him, it shouldn't bother us, and it went away on its own in time.  I'm proud of our calm as parents.
Another trip highlight was our trip to the zoo with Grandma, Colette, Rachel, and Annie.  Tucson's zoo is just the right size for toddlers.
Jared is finally old enough to notice that the zoo has animals, so he had a great time.  Here he is noticing an elephant.
And my favorite attraction of the zoo, two cute boys!
Thanksgiving dinner was excellent, as usual when I don't have to cook.  This year it was complete with gluten free options for everything.  Since Jared wanted to spend all of his time with "Bampa," and his grandparents were only too happy to oblige, this Thanksgiving was as relaxing as we vaguely remembered Thanksgivings could be.
And for our post holiday festivities, Jared did not sit on Santa's lap.  Todd did.
Jared was happy to say hello to Santa from afar, but when it came to the prospect of sitting on his lap, we got a vice grip and a panicked, "No! No! No!"  Oh well.  At least Santa could tell us that Todd was a good boy this year.  Rachel was much more willing to sit with Santa.  She even fake smiled for the cameras.
 We had some leftover rolls, so we went to feed ducks at Lakeside Park.  Jared was a little wary of the hordes of hungry ducks,
but he loved the playground.
Grandma and Grandpa wanted to watch Jared open his presents, since we won't be there for Christmas.
Jared was better about opening the paper instead of eating it this year, but his little heart could only love one toy at a time.  Thanks for the presents, Grandma and Grandpa! Jared really loves and plays with all of them.

Thanks for a great visit Grandparents and Campbells!  Jared hasn't stopped looking around for the dog and "Nama" and "Bampa."  I'm afraid he's been horribly spoiled and now expects to be allowed to carry my watch and broom around to his heart's content, and to be read to for hours on end.  We miss you already!

Tucson was unexpectedly cold, even for November.  There were even freeze warnings several nights that we were there.  We felt a little warmer when we looked at the weather our Logan, Utah relatives were experiencing and found that they had low temperatures between -6 and -10 degrees.  As Jared would say, "Burrr-urr-urrr!"
Happy late Thanksgiving everyone!  Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Jared and I are winging our way to Arizona tomorrow to spend a week with his grandparents and cousins, so I thought I would catch up with our events from the last week before all of the excitement gets started.

Last Wednesday our playgroup had a tour of the Millbrae fire station.  One of the story books we checked out of the library taught Jared that fire trucks say "nee-nah!" so we heard a lot of that on our tour.  It is hard to get a lot of kids under two to stand still for a picture.  Maddie and Ezra didn't even make it into this picture, and Bowen was much more interested in the bolts on the tire than coming out from behind Cache.  At least Cache, Jake, and Ruth seem to be dutifully standing still.
We learned a lot about how the fire station works, and the babies had a great time running wild under the supervision of the firefighters.
Jared was fascinated by all of the gadgets inside of the fire engine, including Jake's toy (which Jake obviously wanted back). I wasn't sure if the fire station made much of an impression on Jared, since highlights of our time there for him were finding a remote control and talking into it like a phone, trying to open every door we passed, and playing with a lever on a fire hose.  By the time the firemen turned on the siren to awe the kids, Jared was way past nap time and only seemed annoyed by the loud noise. Ever since our field trip to the fire station, though, Jared has tuned his ear to the sound of a fire engine's siren.  He hears them a long time before I do and pipes up with a little, "Nee-nah, nee-nah!"  Sure enough a fire engine will soon come into ear shot. 

I spent most of Saturday binding the quilt I have been working on for almost a year and a half.  By afternoon, though, I needed a break.  And what better way to spend a break than hiking in the San Mateo hills?  We hadn't been hiking in a long time, so we decided get out for a little while and indulge Jared's new found fascination with trees.
The weather was lovely, the scenery was beautiful, and Jared was. . . pretty good about riding in the baby carrier.
If you can't see it, Jared is laughing like crazy.  It doesn't take much to get this happy boy giggling.  Before we turned around, we let Jared get out and hike for about a hundred yards.  I don't know why anyone needs toys when kids can be made so happy by a handful of dirt, water coming from an unexpected source (like mom's backpack), or crunching on dry leaves underfoot.
We took Jared on his first hike about a year ago, so he is a seasoned hiker, but this was his first time venturing out of the carrier.  I would call this short hike a resounding success.  Here is our quick attempt at a picture of ourselves to prove that we were all on the same hike.
It isn't exactly a model for framing, and Jared is looking a little surly, but we'll take it.

Here is a picture of the quilt I finished on Monday.  I'm posting it because I'm a little proud.  Annika, don't look if you want to be surprised at Christmas.
A queen sized quilt was a little ambitious for my first project.  I think I will wait a few months to start on my next quilt, and then do something a little smaller.  A baby blanket, maybe, or a place mat.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Not a five days late birthday post

Dear Todd,
 Last week was your birthday, remember?  We know you don't like a fuss made over your birthdays, but we really feel like celebrating knowing that you are alive, so I baked you some pumpkin chocolate chip muffins and a birthday pie.
On Friday I got a babysitter and took you out on a birthday date.  I was waiting to post the happy birthday message on our blog until after our date so I could post pictures, but of course we were having too much fun to remember to take pictures. So here is a picture of you pondering the size of the ocean on a different date; one with a sunset and a walk on the beach.
Jared really hopes that it stops raining and you don't have to work such long hours soon so that you can take him out for a ride on the new baby bike seat we got you.
Okay.  This is a birthday post.  But we aren't making a fuss.  We just really really like you.  Happy Birthday, Daddy!
Savannah and Jared

Friday, November 5, 2010

Blast Off!

Every day when Todd gets home from work, he picks Jared up and says, "Three, two, one, blast off!" and throws a delighted Jared toward the ceiling.  I say the same thing pushing him in the swing at the park.  When Jared wants us to do it again he says, "Two, two, two, bah-bow!"
This morning at eight o'clock I heard cute baby noises coming from Jared's room, so I went to get him out of bed.  As soon as he saw me, he propped himself up on one elbow, pumped the other arm into the sky, pulled his pacifier out of his mouth, and said, "Blast off!"  That is the war cry of a toddler ready to conquer the day.
Jared is always on the go these days.  After breakfast and following me around to "help" with some morning chores, he found this cat and brought it to me, meowing.  Then he curled himself into my lap, still meowing, so I would pet him and rub his tummy.  How he knows what a cat does is beyond me, but it sure is cute.
He didn't stay in my lap for long, though.  He soon dropped the cat and ran to the stroller saying, "Go! Go! Go!"
He tried to climb into it for a few minutes, but when he noticed that I wasn't moving to find his shoes and hat for him, he went off in search of those essential going-outside items.
That pursuit was dropped immediately when he noticed that I was about to start my morning aerobics.  He spent the next half hour alternating between trying to mimic my movements and emptying the contents of my purse onto the living room floor.  When I sat down to stretch, he sat down with his dump truck and started cruising across the floor after it.
"Two, two, two, blast off!"
Watching this busy little guy go, go, go is my favorite thing in the world.  If only we could all catch some of that enthusiasm to blast off into the morning.  Maybe we all would if we had an hour to nap two hours after we woke up.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

One small step for baby. . .

This year I rediscovered Halloween as a mom.  It is SO MUCH more fun than I remember it being since my parents stopped letting me trick or treat at age twelve.  The first challenge was coming up with a costume.  Since I didn't want to pay $20+ for a costume that Jared would wear once, rip to shreds, and/or be afraid of, and my sewing skills are rudimentary at best, I decided to convert one of his playsuits into an astronaut costume.   I thought he looked pretty good.
I even got him a little space shuttle toy with the theory that he could carry it around, but he never stayed interested in it long enough for it to make it into a picture.
We got to dress up twice.  The first time was on Thursday for the family Halloween party Todd's work put on.  It was quite a party.  Hundreds of Google employees and their families milled around in a big courtyard with different booths for cookies, caramel apples, pretzels, trick or treat candy, kettle corn, and even an area where you could touch a live snake.  In the middle of the courtyard there was a magic show for the kids.  Jared was all over the cookies, pretzels, and unlimited juice boxes, but mostly he just liked the pandemonium.
If you are wondering what I am wearing on my head, Todd and I decided to go as astronaut Jared's alien captives. Maybe that scenario is a little too true to life, but at least we had fun with pipe cleaners.
When we were finally done partying, it was almost time for dinner, so we stayed to eat.  Jared tried really hard to fall into the pond in another courtyard, and had a great time being silly with Daddy.
Aren't these two the cutest?  I mean most handsome, of course.

We didn't have any Halloween parties on Friday, but we spent the whole morning with the volume on our phones set on high waiting for news of Todd's sister, Colette's, new baby.  Annalyn Campbell was born healthy and gorgeous around noon on October 29.  Congratulations Jake, Colette, and big sister Rachel!  We can't wait to meet baby Annie.

On Saturday our ward threw the biggest Halloween party in the history of over-sugared children.  Our ward combined with four other wards, including two Tongan wards and one Samoan ward.  My Tongan friends tell me that no one knows how to party like islanders, and now I think they may be right.  Or maybe this party was just wild because 800 church members brought all of their closest friends.  The party started with a chili cookoff and Halloween carnival, followed by trick or treating to the classrooms in the church, and then the party moved outside for a huge trunk or treat in the parking lot.
Jared was too young for most of the games, and we want to maintain his belief that bananas and raisins are candy, but he still had a great time.  I'm sure that he was just loving the pandemonium again.  He spent most of the party sitting on my lap devouring an entire fried chicken breast, and then he broke free to run around in circles enjoying all of the excitement.  We finally rounded him up for a little bit of trick or treating on our way to the exit.  Here is a picture of his first trick or treat, or, as he says, "Teet a tee!"
We walked through the trunk or treat on our way to our car and I couldn't believe some of the things that were being handed out.  One car was giving out slices of pizza, one had nachos, and another was giving out ice cream cones!  We heard today that the party was still going on at midnight.  We had to get the little moon walker home to bed, but we all had a really great time.
You might say our Halloween was out of this world.  Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 29, 2010


Lately Jared has been following us around repeating, "Up-ah! Up-ah!" when he wants to be picked up.  If he doesn't think he has our attention, he will grab onto our knees and get a little louder. "Up-ah!" This is also his refrain when he tips over in the middle of a room and doesn't want to crawl to a piece of furniture to pull himself up.  Since Jared is a lazy baby (I wonder which parent he got that from) we hear this A LOT.
Todd and I decided that it was high time for us to stop indulging this laziness, so at the park on Wednesday, when Jared fell down in the middle of the wood chips and looked around for me to pick him up, I tucked his little feet under him and told him to stand up.  He caught on pretty fast, although he does still have a tendency to push himself up too far and fall over backwards sometimes.
Here's an example of Jared's new skill from this morning. He picked out his book and started walking it over to me.
Oops! Tripped on that pesky wrinkle in the rug!
It's okay, Mom, I've got this.

And then he took off too fast for me to get a picture of him standing.  Here's the best I could do.
We still hear "up-ah!" a lot, especially when our hands are full, but this new skill cut it down a little bit.  I'm hoping that this will eliminate a lot of crawling through dirt and preserve the knees of Jared's pants, but that is probably too much to hope for.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

One cute li'l punkin

This has been a busy, fun filled week of pre-holiday festivities.  On Wednesday I had my monthly doctor's appointment where I got to hear a perfect little heartbeat.
"Sounds like a girl," my doctor said.
"You can't really tell," I replied.
"No," said the doctor, "but I'm right half the time."

Wednesday afternoon Jared and I were the last to arrive at a playgroup with almost perfect attendance.  Our friend Elizabeth was hosting, and she decided that it would be a good idea for a bunch of energetic toddlers to decorate cookies in her kitchen.  She is braver than I am.  Unfortunately I didn't take any pictures, but Jen brought her camera.   Her pictures are posted here.  Here is one she took of Jared, who was content to eat his pumpkin shaped cookie undecorated (thank goodness!).
Thanks for a great playgroup Elizabeth!  There is nothing like sugar cookies and sugar infused babies to bring in the holidays.

Our plan for Saturday was to go to an air and space museum to get ideas for Jared's space themed halloween costume, but Jared woke up with a cold that led to irregular napping, and I was having an extra pregnant feeling day thanks to a bad night's sleep, so we ended up just going to buy our Halloween pumpkins.  Jared thought the pumpkins were big orange balls, so he tried his hardest to get them to roll across the floor while he repeated, "Ball! Ball! Ball!"
They were a little bit too heavy for him, but that didn't stop him from trying.
Later, our friends Thomas and Jessica and their little girl, Maddy, came over to carve pumpkins, eat pizza, and roast pumpkin seeds.  We had so much fun doing this last year with Jordanne that we didn't want to miss out on this opportunity of the season.
 Thomas turned out to be superman at carving.  He gutted three of the four pumpkins, carved the most intricate of all of the jack o'lanterns, and still had time to do most of the work preparing the pumpkin seeds for roasting in the time it took the rest of us to carve our pumpkins.  Here are the finished products.
Todd took the picture because his pumpkin is still a work in progress.  I don't think he's finished it yet this afternoon.  Thanks for coming over to play Jessica, Thomas, and Maddy!

Jared was too tired to be interested in jack o'lanterns yesterday, but today he discovered that his "balls" were a lot lighter, messier, and more interesting.
Happy Halloween week everyone!  Stay tuned for accounts of the rest of our Halloween festivities.