Saturday, December 20, 2008

So long, farewell...

We're off to Blanding, Utah to spend Christmas with Evan's family. Have a Merry Christmas! We'll see you after the 3rd.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Good news

Evan's company just had layoffs. Fortunately he received a promotion the day before! So we knew we were safe. It was his first promotion since starting at BMS in July of 2007. We feel really lucky. Not just for the promotion, either. Many people don't even have jobs right now. So we've definitely been blessed!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Crazy weather

It's 65 degrees one day and then snowing the next. What'll it be tomorrow?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Remodel update

For all of you (are there any?!) interested in our home remodel, this post is for you. I am pleased to announce that we are now officially three months behind schedule on our guest bath remodel. But we have made a little (a very little) progress the last few weeks (or has it been months?). The backerboard is finally up! A job that should've taken a few hours has been spread out over a month (or so). Thanks to Evan for doing it. I can take no credit. Evan also put in a new door. And together we put in a new bath fan/light combo.

I know you're all dying to see Evan's handywork, so here are some pictures for your enjoyment.

Not to worry, we are going to be putting in another light fixture over the vanity, so it won't be as dark as in looks in that last picture.

Maybe in about six months you'll see the finished product. In the meantime, I hope you thoroughly enjoy our tedious updates.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

So it took more than a week

As promised, here are some of the pictures from Thanksgiving weekend in Boston. We are missing day 2 because we forgot to take the camera with us when we left the hotel and didn't want to go back. So we bought a throw-away camera but haven't developed those pictures yet. (Maybe next week?) Anyway, just before we left it was my turn to teach preschool. Here are the boys with with Indian hats and turkeys. A side view of the Plymouth Rock. (It was VERY busy there on Thanksgiving day--this was the best view we could get). Not as dissapointing as I was expecting. Everyone has downplayed the size of the rock so much that I was expecting it to be barely visible. But that was definitely not the case. This is the Mayflower II. Apparently it sailed across the Atlantic back in the 1950's. We tried to take pictures as we were touring it, but our camera ran out of batteries (of course). Here we are at the Wampanoag Homesite, a re-creation of the native village at the time. This is one of their homes. They had a fire going on inside and it was surprisingly very warm. Here is a Pilgrim lady attempting to make conversation with the "native people." In the Pilgrim village they dress and act the part completely, accents and all. It was quite entertaining at times. The picture isn't the greatest--it was getting dark and our night setting isn't the greatest.

In this picture Governor William Bradford (whom Evan is a descendent of), and a few of the pilgrims are sawing a huge log in half, while the "native people" stand and watch. (Again, it was getting dark and the picture is bad).One interesting (and very ironic) thing we learned was that the Pilgrims didn't believe in freedom of religion. Wasn't that one of the basic reasons for them leaving Europe--because they weren't free to practice their own religion?

Anyway, dinner was traditional and good, but nothing special. We were expecting it to be some sort of performance, where we actually sat down and ate with the Pilgrims and "native people" But it was actually just eating a catered dinner in their visitor's center. Regardless, it was still quite the experience to be in Plymouth on Thanksgiving Day.

More Boston pictures to come another day....

Monday, December 1, 2008

Thanksgiving with the Pilgrims

Last Thanksgiving I cooked my first turkey and made the traditional feast with a five-week old baby.

I was not in the mood to cook this year.

So we did something different--we went to Plymouth, Massachusetts and ate dinner with the Pilgrims at Plimouth Plantation. It was a great experience.

Combine that with our weekend in Boston and it turned out to be a very exciting, very promising first family trip away NOT visiting family. Pictures will be posted shortly. (Shortly as in it may take a week.)

Sunday, November 23, 2008

And she's walking...

Waimea is walking. Still unsteady, but she's taking more than 5 steps at a time now. It's really funny to watch because she keeps her legs so far apart for balance. Sometimes too far, so she topples over.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Christmas Lists

Spencer is getting really excited for Christmas. So tonight for our FHE activity we decided to help him write his Christmas list for Santa. After completing his, we asked him to help us make Waimea's Christmas list. My favorites from his list for Waimea are : 1) magic balls, 2) Waimea candy, and 3) another hot air balloon. We then decided that for more kicks and giggles we'd have him do ours. Topping Evan's list was: 1) pants for daddy's dollhouses and 2) minivan toys. And on mine were the letters "E", "O", and "S", which he drew himself. Whatever than means.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

ER visit #4

In Spencer's short 3 1/2 years, he has been to the ER 4 times. One for digestive problems just after birth. two for stitches, and now for breathing problems because of croup. We're hoping this trend stops soon! In my 29 years of life I'm not sure I've ever been.

Croup is evil. Spencer gets it at least once a year, and I keep hoping he'll grow out of it. But thanks to our ER visit, croup has become manageable. In the past we've dealt with croup by taking turns through the night between hot showers and walks outside, hanging on a prayer that his breathing would return to normal, that he'd be able to sleep, and that we wouldn't have to go to the ER. Those were very long, very stressful nights with no sleep. But Thursday night the croup came on too fast and progressed too fast. Within two hours of his first cough we were in the ER---he couldn't sleep, he couldn't breathe, he could barely talk, he was scared, and Evan and I were terrified. The cool air on the drive to the ER helped a bit, but not enough. In the ER, they gave him a steroid shot and it did the trick. We went home a few hours later and he slep the rest of the night uninterupted. Hallelujah!! And then yesterday we got a prescription for Prednisolone from his doctor (the same steroids as the shot but in oral form) to use whenever his croup gets bad in the future. No more bad croup nights for us!!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Mystery solved

For the last few months Spencer has been saying something to the effect of "Got beef" (or ground beef, or ground beets, or grind beets) over and over again while laughing. We couldn't figure out why he thought this was so funny or where he even got it from. But the mystery has finally been solved! Yesterday while watching the previews on one of his Blue's Clues videos, I heard him say it again and then bust out laughing. So I came to investigate. Apparently when he hears Charlie Brown say, "Good grief," he thinks its "ground beef" (or got beets, or grit beef, or grout bees). Who'd have thought?

Friday, November 7, 2008

Reaching for sunbeams

I can't help wondering what's going on in her little head right now.


I realize that Halloween is old news by now, but I've got to post pictures of my kids. They are just too cute. Spencer's Robin Hood costume turned out a lot cuter than I had hoped. (Or maybe he's just so cute that anything looks cute on him!)

Thanks to Pappa for carving his bow and arrows . He used to make them for us as kids when we went camping. I tried to make them but just couldn't do it right. Guess I don't have the touch.

And here's our little stinker. This was Spencer's costume for two years. We've definitely gotten our use out of this one.
I wish I had a picture of her standing in the costume. It was so funny when Spencer wore it and walked in it--the tail would wag back and forth. I was kind if hoping Waimea would be walking by now to relive that experience.
And yes, Evan and I are dorks--we dressed up, too. We thought it'd be fun--and it was! We were a Robin Hood family with our woodland pet skunk.
(Not a very flattering picture of Evan and I, but it's the best one we've got).

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Adam and Eve at the Zoo

Because of Spencer's short attention span, we have to keep our family home evening lessons brief. So for the last little while we've been taking pictures from the Gospel Picture Art Kit and telling the stories that are depicted. We usually tell a new story and then review the others (that's Spencer's favorite part). We've reviewed them so many times that for the last few weeks Spencer has been the one retelling the stories to us, but with his own little twist. Last night he picked up this picture of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden and said, "This is Adam and Eve at the Zoo."

Friday, October 17, 2008

Face Desitin

Here's a picture of Spencer putting on what he calls "Face Desitin." Chapstick is the more common name for it.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Guess who's 1!

Happy Birthday, Waimea!

I am Elizabeth Bennet!

Take the Quiz here!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Ten for Tuesday

Shelley, this one is for you. Here's my 10 for Tuesday. It's my top 10 remodeling things we've learned in the past year or so.

10. Count on living in dust. You can clean the rest of your house all you want, but if you're remodeling anywhere, dust will find its way out and onto everything. Expect it.

9. No matter how much you attempt to improve a room (ie: paint, crown moulding, new furniture, artwork, etc) it will still look ghetto if your carpet or flooring is horrible. Anyone who has seen our lovely gold carpet and 80's parquet floor understands what I'm saying.

8. Always use backerboard when tiling on floors that flex even just a little bit (ie: plywood subfloors). If you don't, the grout will crack and start chipping away.

7. Bathtubs are not worth replacing. Just reglaze them if the color is wrong.

6. Renovate rooms first that mean the most to you or you spend the most amount of time in. If you don't you may never get to them.

5. Air compressors become your best friend when replacing or adding mouldings. Definitely worth the money! On a similar note, primed MDF mouldings are much easier to use than primed pine. They are much more flexible, and the end result looks the same.

4. Use prehung doors vs the slab doors. The prehung doors seem more complicated, but the fit is guaranteed. And then you don't have to deal with the frustration of aligning the slab door properly.

3. You really need a garage when doing any type of remodeling. Otherwise you will live with tools strewn all over the house, paint cans piled everywhere, bathtubs in you living room for weeks, and an extra stove in the corner of your kitchen for months.

2. With kids you cannot set or keep a schedule. You can't even count on working at a certain time on a certain day. They somehow know you need that time and won't let you have it.

1. No project is easy, simple, or small. Complications will ALWAYS arise. Which is why we're thankful to live across the street from a Home Depot that is open until 10 PM.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Philly Zoo

Last Friday we went to the Philadelphia Zoo. Thanks to Rebecca for inviting us and getting us in free! Here are some pictures documenting our trip:

Next time you see Spencer, ask him what his favorite animal at the zoo was. He'll say, "the deers".

There were no deer at this zoo.

He's thinking of the Thompson Park Zoo, not really a "zoo" but rather a fenced off area in a park that has deer, a few rabbits, a goat, and a couple of odd animals like a potbellied pig and an emu. We went there last fall with Evan's parents. Apparently it made quite the impact. So we went again on Sunday morning before Conference so that Spencer could feed carrots to the deer. (Although it appears as if we're feeding Spencer in the picture).
And here's my little peanut:

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Smarty Pants

So earlier today Evan said to Spencer, "Spencer, I need a hug." Spencer replied, "I don't give hugs on Sundays."

And minutes ago I was summoned up to Spencer's room where he and Evan were reading stories. Spencer then proceeded to point out letters in the book they were reading and said, "b-o-x- ...that's spells 'box'."

He's only 3. That kid is going to be smarter than me by the time he's 8. Maybe even earlier.

Friday, September 26, 2008


We ordered Chinese takeout for dinner tonight. My favorite part of eating Chinese is reading the fortune in the fortune cookie. Here are ours from tonight:

Evan's: "In the near future, you will discover how fortunate you are." Lame

Mine: "Don't be pushed by your problems. Be led by your dreams." I wish.

Spencer's (the best one I've heard yet): "Digital circuits are made from analog parts." ???!!?

Monday, September 22, 2008

A model in the making

I don't want to steal Rebecca's thunder with these pictures of Cody, but I can't wait any longer to post them. I think they're hilarious. He's definitely a natural!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Almost three months later...

...and still all Spencer talks about is Finland and "Pappa's cabin." We went camping at the Delaware Water Gap this last weekend with the Pearsons, and as Spencer was standing near the river, he asked his daddy which way Pappa's cabin was and how to get there. Evan explained that it was too far away, that they'd have to get a boat and go down the river to the ocean, cross the ocean, go up a canal to the lake and then try to find the cabin. "Do you really want to do all that?," Evan asked. Spencer replied with a very emphatic "yes." He spoke so much about Pappa's cabin during our stay that Cody said the morning we left, "I want to go to Pappa's cabin, too." And while driving to one of our hikes the day before Cody reportedly pointed to some random home and said, "There's Pappa's cabin."

In addition to that, Spencer still digs "poop holes" and "trenches" in our front planting area on a daily basis. ("Poop holes" referring to the means by which we had to dispose of the contents of the outhouse buckets, and "trenches" referring to our spending a good part of our afternoons digging a trench to run electrical wires from a neighboring cabin to ours). That kid just can't let Finland go.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

THE List has begun

Topping our list of things we won't ever do again is replacing bathtubs. We thought it would take about a week to replace the bathtub in our second bath upstairs. But three weeks, two replacement drains, and endless numbers of copper fittings later the bathtub is finally in place. I don't think we'll ever be replacing bathtubs again. Two is enough for us to know that they are not worth the time, money, effort, frustration, etc. Next time we're faced with an ugly bath we'll spend the couple hundred dollars to have it refaced or pay a pro to replace it for us. No more soldering copper pipes, no more trying to fit a 5 foot bathtub into a 5'1" space while trying not to break the drain, the tub, and our toes. No more getting it in place only to realize that the support stud is too high, the bathtub is nowhere near level, and thus needs to be taken out and redone. And no more living with a bathtub in the middle of my living room for three weeks. We are done with bathtubs....... For now, anyway.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Hello, Worms

Spencer is going to be a gardener. Not because of the plants, but because it allows him to did up earth in search of worms. Earlier this Spring we went and bought $100 worth of plants and flowers and spent the next few afternoons planting them. His favorite part was unearthing the worms. He had a hard time understanding where they disappeared to after he would put them back on the ground. The explanation he liked best was that they were going back into the ground to find a new home. Ever since then he has been begging to buy more flowers and plant them. Today we finally did. And we found 4 worms. Each time we found one he would pick it up, put it really close to his face and say, "Hello, worm." Then he'd put it back on the ground and say, "Go find your new home." It was really cute.

Another funny Spencer-ism. Tonight at dinner we caught ourselves saying many times, "Spencer, you need to eat your chicken before you can have any more lettuce."

Here he is in his "race car."

Friday, September 12, 2008

Happy Birthday, Evan!

Happy 28th!

Monday, September 8, 2008

My dad's book

I just found out from my father that his book, Stretching Anatomy,, has sold over 90,000 copies in the last year and half. Way to go, Dad!

I also found out from him that the area in Finland where he is from (and where we spent a month this past June) reported no "hellepaivas" this summer (see my posting from Sept 4 to read what a "hellepaiva" is). No wonder I love Finland so much. I wish we could report something like that here! (For a more detailed--and humorous--report of our Finland adventures, read my brother's blog--you can find the link to his to the right under "Erik Kokkonen").

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Another "Hellepaiva"

In Finland they have a term reserved for days like today: "Hellepaiva." Hell day. Yep, anytime the temperature reaches 25 degrees celsius or above--that's 77 degrees fahrenheit--they call it a hell day because it's just too hot. And we've had too many. How did I ever survive Texas? If it weren't for the cheap standard of living, Texas would be about as close to hell as you could get.

Maybe that's a bit harsh.

Friday, August 29, 2008

It's my birthday!!

My "magical" birthday. I'm 29 on the 29th!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Waimea has taken a sudden interest in cameras. Now that I think about it, not just cameras, but EVERYTHING. I have to keep her pacifier in her mouth to keep everything else out. And she throws mini tantrums when I don't let her have her way. It's great.

Spencer's new favorite hobby is helping mommy paint. It's a good thing we have a lot of closets that still need painting. Why is he always painting in his underwear? Good question.

He is also my vegetable-loving boy. He'd eat vegetables as a main course if he could. We have to make him eat the rest of his dinner before we can put vegetables in front of him. Weird kid. :)

23-year old beer bottle

We removed the bathtub in the upstairs bathroom and found a beer bottle tucked underneath, fully intact. No wonder the contruction on our home is so shoddy. But at least we didn't find too much mold this time around, just rust. Sadly, I did not capture the beer bottle in time before Evan threw it out.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Katri's Painting Tip #72

If you like a paint color but don't want to pay the price, snatch a paint chip and take it to Lowe's or Home Depot (or any other "discount" hardware store). They can try and match it. If you don't like the way their computer matches it, ask them to manually tweak it. If you still don't like it, don't buy it. I've had paint chips matched MANY times, and there's only been once that I didn't like the match. I have Restoration Hardware colors throughout my house, but have never spent more than $25 per gallon. And Valspar (Lowe's brand) is just as good as Benjamore Moore and Sherwin Williams.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

I don't think anyone is reading my blog

...That's probably because I haven't told anyone about it yet. Maybe I will today.

Anyway, here's one of our current projects--Spencer's bathroom. Look how ugly it was before:

This is what it looks like now...

Here's Spencer working on another project--revamping and organizing our closets. And yes (believe it or not) I actually gave in and let him paint.

This is what happens when Lowe's has a buy-one-get-one-free sale on closetmaid wire shelving. What you see is (12) 12-foot lengths of wire shelving stacked and stored on our stair landing. Without a garage we have to get creative with our storage.

And here are my two cute kids.