Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Walking in a Halloween Wonderland

Utah has a special tradition. The Weather-Makers get together and decree the first annual snowfall arrive sometime around Halloween.

We prepared earlier this week by playing in an almost freezing rain...

... and then by romping at a park, moments before the snow flurries came down. The wind made our expedition quite uncomfortable, but Bridgette and the dogs still managed to have some fun.

Since we had a Halloween function this evening, it seemed only appropriate to wake up to snow!

The view from our deck:

Note the pumpkin on our doorstep and the late October apples still in our tree:

The view across the street (gorgeous of the mountain once the clouds fully cleared):

But the best part was playing Halloween dress-up! Bridgette went as a girl who was too young to remember she didn't like snow last year.

By afternoon the snow in the valley had all melted, so Bridgette changed costumes and went to the evening's festivities dressed as the Supergirl we know and love.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Opinions Wanted Please

OK, so we snagged on an unfortunate delay (ouch) and will not be moving until next Saturday, October 30th. As such, my computer is still plugged in. Bwahahahaha!

Which of these two photos do you think we should display as a part of our Festival of Trees entry?

We (marginally) prefer the second photo shown here, but the catch is that the top option could be displayed as an 8x10 whereas the bottom one can only be displayed in a smaller 5x7 size.

Do tell. Consider this a semi-sorta-formal poll.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

To Tide the Grandmas, et al.

We are moving Saturday, and life is hectic.

Here is a video to tide you over until... whenever.

Jeff took these videos with his iPhone and only recently compiled them. They're from various ages/stages:

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Two Vignettes


When I was a little girl, my Mom would sometimes "eat my face" before bedtime. Along with lullabyes, it was possibly my favorite part of getting tucked in. (Oh let's face it. I still love it. And I still love to be sung to.)

Essentially, she would stroke a small part of my face, gently, as though she could rub it off into her fingers. Then she would pretend to eat it.

"I'm gonna eat your ear!" Stroke. Stroke. "Mmm... tasty."

It's both relaxing and entertaining.

While in South Carolina, I saw one of my older distant relatives pretend to eat the face of my adorable little nephew, James. It reminded me that eating baby faces must be a family legacy and that I should not overlook it with Bridgette.

In the past, Bridgette hasn't allowed me to touch her. She's not a cuddler. No tenderly rubbing her back. In therapy, when all the other mothers were massaging their child's legs or arms, it was a lucky day if I could fake it by offering her hand-lotion first. And even then, I was only allowed to touch her hands. And we all know she won't let me brush her hair.

But a few nights ago I tried eating her face, and she got the biggest kick out of it!

The next night, with each of my bites she would also reach up, stroke her own nose (or chin or cheek or whatever), and then pretend to eat it, with a (I kid you not), "Nom. Nom. Nom."

The NEXT night, after I ate her face, she ate mine.

Then last night when I put her in her crib and as I left the room, I saw her gently stroking her teddy bear's face before taking pretend nibbles from her fingers.



I've been told that when my older brother was two-years-old, he took a black crayon and wrote O-I-L wherever he could, on the walls, etc. I wasn't born, but I have no reason to doubt the anecdote.


Not only are they some of the easiest letters for little hands to manipulate, but he spelled a word. Not only did he spell a word, he spelled a special word -- the reason we grew up where we did. We are children of the oil industry, my father being an exploration geologist.

Bridgette is now two-and-one-quarter-years-old. She recognizes each letter of the English alphabet and has started drawing them as she is able. Her favorite letters are currently I, C, & S. She is left-handed, and I guess those strokes are the easiest for her.

So today I was amused to find her drawing ICS, ICS, ICS, all over the driveway in chalk.


Well, ICS is an emergency management term and is the acronym for a crucial industry standard.

ICS = Incident Command System

In fact, the very first FEMA on-line course that all first responders, emergency planners, hospital staff, etc., around the entire country are supposed to study is "IS-100.a: Introduction to the Incident Command System." It's the most basic training for the field, and I require my students to complete it by the second week of class.

OIL for my brother because of his father.

ICS for my daughter because of her mother.

It's not on purpose, but she's channeling something special.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

All Creatures, Part IV, The Last

Part IV: Lion King, Off-Broadway

About once a year, Heidi and I plan a big surprise date for our husbands -- wherein "big" means we actually purchase tickets in advance. Usually we pick something specifically for them: the Colin & Brad improv show (two of the stars from Whose Line Is It Anyway), the Harlem Globetrotters, etc.

This year we picked an event based more on our preferences than theirs. But hey! We fed them first!

Remember my comment on All Creature, Part II, about Jeff's big mouth? He's a quiet guy, so I mean that quite literally. Don't worry, I asked if I could post this, and he doesn't mind one bit.

So, if he were a movie star, I think he'd be cast as an orc.

"We ain't had nothin' but maggoty bread for three stinkin' days!"

Heidi and Jeremy prefer to mug classically... a debonair couple.

The proof is in the pudding -- a line I have never understood, but in this case it's not even applicable. The proof is in my hand, a Lion King playbill, reflective in its chance to shine.

Photos are not allowed during the show, so copying Heidi's blog idea, here are some heisted Internet images. The costuming was imaginative and impressive.

The lions' heads extended and retracted according to the mood of the moment (and no doubt a small pneumatic actuator.)

Rafiki was my favorite singer. She was outstanding. Please note another costuming example in the background.

Simba & Nala -- I think these were the two actors who actually headlined in our production.

My favorite costumes were in the African Savannah scene of which I could not find a photo. The dancers wore plats of grass on their heads and swayed and danced like grasslands in the wind.

I liked the gigantic elephant.

I also really liked one of the new songs, introduced in Act II and sung by Nala -- a song that must be very closely guarded in its "newness" since I can find almost the whole soundtrack on You Tube except for her song.

And my very, very favorite part of the show was watching the percussionists, spotlighted near the stage whenever they played.

Click here for: Pudding Proof, Explained

And if you made it this far:

All Creatures, Part III

Part III: Courage Reins

Bridgette has been riding horses since last April. Usually she enjoys it very much. Shifting to adjust to the horse's gait is supposed to help non-walkers move their hips in a way that mimics human ambulation. Although we can't pinpoint how much her recent mobility can be attributed to the therapy she's received at Courage Reins, we are quite certain it hasn't hurt.

Our new hurdle is speech. Bridgette's cognition is good and her receptive language skills are excellent, but she's still really struggling with speech. She rarely says two syllable words and has difficulty stringing more than one words together appropriately. Hippotherapy is supposed to help with that too, learning to give commands to the horses.

The first two photos were taken the week she turned 2 years old. The third photo and the video were taken in August. The rest were taken two weeks ago, on September 21.

The Shetland, Max, is the hardest to ride because he is so bouncy and his back is so narrow.

Hella, the Norwegian Fjord Horse, is a gentle ride -- sometimes far too gentle for a rider with a posture as sturdy as Bridgette's. My preference is for her to ride the full-sized quarter horses, but riding order is decided on arrival time and natural rotations with the other kids, so we rarely get to choose.

Helmet wearing is hit and miss. On some days she doesn't care an iota, on other days she eventually concedes, and on yet others helmets are right out.

In fact, last week not only did she refuse to wear a helmet, but for the first time, she refused to ride. They put her over the saddle on her tummy, like a sack of potatoes, head hanging over one side of the saddle, feet over the other. She finally sat up but would only ride backwards, facing the horse's tail. She cried the whole time. It was hard to watch.

If that continues, I will pull her out of lessons. Hopefully it was a one-time occurrence.

The floor used to be a spongy rubber material, but they recently changed it to dirt. It kicks up like crazy, choking us all. Even my camera was coughing.

Once riding lessons are over, the real fun begins. We get to feed the horses, pick up rocks, and generally play in the parking lot.


Can you see the "almost run" in this shot?

So, in the last post about the zoo, I mentioned Bridgette's fascination with poop. It's understandable, given how thoroughly her life has revolved around it. She found some horse poop in the parking lot, and it was hard to drag her away from it. She insisted (I have no idea why) on covering it in dirt.

Guess what! Yep. An airplane.

Filthy & rehydrating... slyly.