Thursday, November 27, 2008


Since last Friday, I have been the beneficiary of some much needed work-life balance. As a result of said balance, I am attempting to deepen my "blogging skills" (Not to be confused with computer hacking skills or other such Napoleonic achievements).

Anyway, this first video was taken shortly after Halloween and documents my sadistic amusement at the expense of my child's innocence.

This next one is from back in October and documents Jacob's second day on a two wheeler. We sort of borrowed a play from Suzy's brother John and converted the bike you see here to a "Like-a-Like-a-bike" by removing the pedals. After about a week of tooling around without pedals, Suzy slapped them back on and Jacob was rolling in a few tries. He has since moved from this ridiculously small bike to a 16" bike. We never had to do the hold the seat, chase the kid routine.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Election 2008

Well, my children were very excited to see Barack Obama win the election tonight. They had both decided several weeks ago that they were going to 'vote' for Obama. Here is an excerpt of the conversation when I asked Jacob why he wanted Obama to be the next president:

"Why do you want Obama to win? What do you know about him that makes you think he will be a good president?"
"I like the way he looks."
"You like the way he looks?"
"I like his hair and his skin color. He looks good."

So Jacob was an Obama supporter based on physical appearance but apparently he talked about it at kindergarten (on the playground, I think) and would ask me almost everyday if I had decided who I was going to vote for. Last Friday he was very worried because I only had a few days left and I HAD to decide soon.

Ryan would flip-flop. He started out being an Obama supporter because he thought Obama's first name was "the Rock" and how cool would it be to have a president named "the Rock Obama". However, being the little brother that he is, in recent days he started professing loyalty to John McCain just to disagree with his older brother. Like many, seeing the excitement and energy of election night, Ryan wanted to be part of the action and is once again a blue child.

To give them credit, Jacob and Ryan tried to follow the campaign as much as their attention spans would allow. They would watch parts of the debates with John and whenever they saw pictures of either candidate in the newspaper they would get very excited.

I wish I had a good picture to post for this but I will just put a few random ones up: the kids with Grandpa Y; the boys in the garage putting on a show (after seeing the Blue's Clue's movie where they put on a show), and two pictures from a field trip to the pumpkin patch that John chaperoned for Jacob's class.

Alison's blessing

Alison was blessed on October 12. It was a beautiful day and we were lucky to have both of John's brothers and their families come as well as my parents and Arnold and 'Nise. Alison did well and was only a little fussy during the blessing. Ryan, on the other hand, was a different story. He was so excited to have his cousins at church that he basically lost control. I was pleading with him to stop talking so I could hear some of the prayer. Here are a few pictures of the day.

Friday, October 10, 2008

The best boys ever!

Our boys really enjoyed General Conference last weekend.  They especially loved watching the Tabernacle choir and trying to find the one man with a mustache.  They called it "Let's find the mustache!"  When they got bored with that game, they decide to play "Let's find the bald boys".  There were a lot more of those than mustaches.  If conference was just singing, they would have no problem watching 8 hours of it.   
Another great conference moment was when one of our boys passed by the TV just in time to hear a speaker quote a scripture that had the word "naked" in it.  Quietly, he began to laugh and said "naked (chuckle chuckle) he said naked."  The best part was, my boy was not saying that for anyone else, just for his own enjoyment.
Big J is the star student this week at school and everyone had to draw a picture of him today.  He told me that his favorite picture was from Katherine because she drew her and him playing and he really liked how she drew and colored her dress.  He said it was really nice.  He then told me that he asked her to be his very best girlfriend (to differentiate from his best friend that is a boy).  I think she took it a bit different and told him that she would rather just be "friends".

Monday, September 22, 2008

The tale of two binkies

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Okay, not really but I had to start that way. So, I saw my sister's blog with her little guy and his binky and thought I would share how we got the binkies away from R-guy. It is a sad tale and not our proudest moment as parents. Maybe it can help someone out there...

About 6 months ago, R-guy had just turned 3 so we decided it was time to get rid of the binkies. After age 2 years, binkies are only for the bed and are a powerful parent ally by making bedtime or naptime desirable events. However, after 3 years of age, we (as parents pretending to know what we are
doing) decided that it was time to say goodbye. We choose to use the same plan that had worked well for big J: the goodbye binky party and binky fairy bribe. I was nervous about doing it for Jacob because it is deceptive (but so is Santa Claus, the Easter bunny, and the tooth fairy) but it seemed to work OK, so we tried it again. The plan goes like this: You tell your child that it is time for the binky fairy to come and get the binkies (you can add that the binky fairy gives them to new babies, if they ask). The binky fairy will come and take the binkies and leave a present, whatever you want - within reason. When the child decides they are ok with that, you pretend to call the binky fairy to schedule the pick-up, let the fairy know the wish list, and set a date. Then, you have a goodbye binky party on the scheduled night: make decorations, order pizza, make cupcakes, invite relatives, and give the child lots of attention. After the party, the 3 year old is supposed to take the binkies, put them in a special box, and put them on the porch for the binky fairy to get them. Then in the morning, presents are waiting to help erase the sadness of the binkies leaving.

Everything was going well at the goodbye binky party until it was time to put the binkies in the box and say goodbye. The R-guy even had two binkies to say goodbye to: one for the mouth and one to rub on his cheek so maybe that made it twice as hard. Whatever it was, he started to freak out, running around the house, hitting me, crying uncontrollably, hiding under things. Some of this is captured on film (see below). We finally calmed him down and got him - on his own - to put the binkies in the box and put it outside. As parents, we were feeling HORRIBLE. I wanted to cry but knew we had to follow through. That night, as we put the R-guy to bed, John said "We love you" and the little guy replied "I love my binkies". It was a sad moment. He was able to go to sleep without them, which surprised me. The next morning the fairy presents (we had to get him 2, one for each binky) helped the sadness a bit but he was sad for many days. Even yesterday, R-guy told John that he still missed his binkies. I keep hoping this memory will fade away and we won't have to hear for years about how we scarred him for life by taking away his binkies.

The pictures below document some of the night. It is still sad for me and R-guy to look at the pictures. I am not sure I would call the plan a success. The binkies are gone, but the pain...

Having fun with aunt and uncle - starting to look a little worried.

Hiding with the binkies

After much wailing and gnashing of teeth (literally), he puts the binkies in the magic box for the fairy to come and get them.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Our pathetic blog

Our sad little blog has not had any posts for over a month and I will tell you exactly who is to blame for this: the computer. Now, don't think I am trying to push the blame off to someone else and not take responsibility for my actions - it really is the computer's fault! Seriously, this computer is old (at least 10 years) and so very SLOW. So slow you want to choke the mouse. But anyway, it has been an exciting month. Some highlights:

* Alison turned 1 month and 11 1/2 pounds and is nearing 2 months and 12? 13? pounds
* Summer soccer and t-ball ended
* We overcame our end-of-the-Olympics pains. The boys love to pretend they are Michael Phelps whenever we go swimming.
* Aunt Katy came for a visit and took the boys on several fun trips
* Grandma and Grandpa Young came down to visit Alison
* We took a last day of summer vacation trip to the Oakland Zoo
* Jacob started kindergarten!
* Ryan started preschool!
* I became officially un-disabled (according to the State of California) after giving birth
* I became a homework helper
* We took a family ferry ride to SF and visited some tourist spots with the kids (I think their favorite part was seeing "the bush man" at Fisherman's wharf. Most of you know what I am talking about - the guy disguised as a plant who scares people for money. Jacob was scared of him at first but for days after, that was all they could both talk about.
* Alison slept for 7 hours straight one night!!
* Our summer garden came to end except for some tomatoes on the blossom rot damaged plants and a second crop from our cantaloupe, banana squash, and pumpkin plants. We just need a few more weeks of warm weather for the second crop to fully ripen.

Here are some selected photos from the last month.

The two youngest

Gramps & Grandma S and Aunt Katy

The family at "the bench"*

Beautiful day in SF

Grandpa Y and the kids

Jacob and his homework helper

* John's eagle scout project at a regional park in SJ. It is about an hour hike uphill to get there. For some reason, we decided to go on the Saturday Katy was in town. It was a super hot day and Alison was just a few weeks (like 2) old. Amazingly enough, the boys hiked the whole way and we did not have to carry them at all but it did help to have Katy there. It was a fun afternoon.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Trash talking at Tiny Tots soccer

Ryan has been going to parent/kid soccer classes for the last several months, and I believe this is his second or third session. He is one of the older kids in the class and by now knows all the games the coach uses. When we enrolled him this time for the same class, we were concerned he would be bored, but the coach likes him and said he was a little young for the next class. Our concerns were justified as the following story from last Saturday will attest.

The coach had a miniature soccer field set up and the game was dribbling red light green light from one end line to the other. Ryan is somewhat of a spoiler because the coach can only get at most one red light in before Ryan is at the opposite end of the field. So after a couple trips back and forth and a lot of waiting for everyone else, Ryan says to me, “Everybody in this class are doofuses.” I’m sure at least a few parents heard him so I’m in full on damage control. I come back with, “Ryan that is not a nice word we don’t call people that.” Then he says, “Everybody in this class are butts.” “Do you want to go sit in the car and soccer will be over for the day?” Ryan, “No. Yes. Everybody are booties (meaning butts). No, I don’t want to go to the car.”

I don’t think we do anything to cause our children to behave and say some of the things they do, but man everybody looks down at you when your kid does something like that. My kids are also especially fond of informing people that they have fat tummies.

Oh the joys...

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Some pictures of Alison (aka Ki-Ki)

Here are a few pictures of Alison that we took on Sunday. I decided to give her a bath and then put on the dress and then I figured we should take pictures. This was all at a time when we should have been making/having dinner, but sometimes you just have to take pictures of the baby. I tried to get Jacob and Ryan to put on nice shirts so that they could be in a nice picture with Alison but only Jacob complied. Ryan, in his 3 year old way, said that he did not feel like changing his shirt for the picture. Hence, the orange shirt.

Jacob, Alison, and Ryan in the backyard. The boys called her "ki-ki" before she was born and while we were very clear that it would not be her name, even John and I are having a hard time not calling her Ki-ki, the kik-ster, kik-meister, kiks, etc. I think the nickname will stay around for awhile.

Alison getting a little tired of the photo shoot.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Alison Lorena Young

This is a test. We found out all our pictures of Alison's birth were 4000 X 3000 (pixels?) and about 2.5MB per photo. It has taken us awhile to find on our computer the functionality to shrink these images.
If this post works we will post more.

Here she is.

Here are the monkey men doing what they do.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Nearing the finish line...

John is probably going to pass out when he sees that I actually posted on our family blog.  I know he started it so I would write but that just hasn't seemed to happen.  I haven't been that motivated since I broke our digital camera and felt it would be lame to post without pictures. But, I guess written documentation still has its merits so, I thought I would post a few random thoughts about the end stage of pregnancy.  Due date is Saturday, 7/26, but what does that really mean?  It means the end is near but near is such a relative term after being pregnant for 9 months.  It could be tonight or next week or even (gasp!) August.  For some reason, if this baby decides to come in August, that just seems like such a psychological blow for me even though it is less than a week after my due date.  The changing of the month makes it seem very far away. 
I have been feeling good the last few weeks and have not had the feeling that I am so big that I can't even get any bigger - a common feeling at the end of my last pregnancy.  I love the comments people make to me and have people telling me (on the same day):  "wow, were you this big on the last one?  I don't remember you being this big" or "you look ready to pop" as well as others saying "you look great" and "I can't believe you are almost due".  I have decide the second group of people are liars but I do appreciate them. 
I have been trying to go the gym twice a week to walk on the treadmill and while no one makes comments to me, the lady at the front desk tells John "I feel so sorry for your wife".  So, I guess I do look like a big cow on the treadmill.  Going to the gym has been difficult since the heat wave we had here a week or so ago which made my feet swell up like sausages. Seriously.  I had never had pregnancy swelling before and it was fairly disgusting.  I still could manage to get my running shoes on but barely had enough lace left to tie a knot.
This weekend we (read "I") spent a lot of time nesting.  I cleaned, did laundry, put away baby clothes, thought about writing thank you cards from my baby shower, and put up the fancy pack-n-play with bassinet addition in our room.  John actually did that and moved the bed over a few inches so I can squeeze between the bed and the pack-n-play.  I think I would be ok now if the baby did come.  For me it is always "don't come, don't come, don't come. Ok, you can come. Anytime. Ready. Please come soon. Are you listening to me?"  Last week I finished a few other remaining items on my list:  pedicure and eyebrows.  I mean, you never look good in the delivery room but at least I will know that my toenails are painted and my eyebrows are well maintained.  It will help. 
I have a secret wish that the next time I go to the MD she will say "Oh my, you are a dilated to a X (number greater than 3) and need to go to the hospital now".  It happened to my sisters but has yet to happen to me.  I just get "Oh, you are still at a 3 like you were the last 3 weeks" and "I can't believe you are still around" and the "do you want to be induced?"  Luckily, my doctor does not seem to think that you need to wait until 41 or even 40 weeks to be induced.  She offered to do it last week but I told her I wasn't ready.  Unfortunately, I see the nurse practioner this week and I think she is a little less carefree in the induction offers. 
We will keep you posted with any news over the next few weeks (I will try to not be too graphic in the descriptions  - maybe this post was already too graphic.  John hates most words associated with delivery and I think even "dilate" may be too much for him). 

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

This one is dedicated to all the new mothers.

So tonight during Family Home Evening the following conversation occurred:

Suzy: "When the baby comes there are going to be some changes at home."

Ryan: "Like I get to color the big James (the train) coloring book."

Suzy: "Yes, but you only get to color the James coloring book when I'm feeding the baby."

Jacob (yelling because that seems to be his only volume setting nowadays): "YOU MEAN WHEN YOU'RE MILKING HER?"

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Recent entertaining quotes from the boys

Ryan & the calenator

Ryan beating repeatedly on a calculator: “This calenator isn’t giving the Os (meaning zeros). It’s broken. It’s not giving the Os.  Oh, there go the Os (after hitting the decimal point).  That’s like a hundred Os.”

Daddy:  “Really?  Why don’t you count them and see if there are a hundred?”

Ryan: “One, two, three, four, five, six, seven. SEVEN Os!  That’s almost a HUNDRED!!”

Jacob & the alligator swimsuit

Jacob as I walk in the door after work: “Dad, guess what? I got new swimming shorts today and they have alligators on them!”

Daddy: “That’s awesome! I saw them hanging in the garage.”

Jacob: “Yeah and they’re cool, they have a sunscreen in them in case the sun gets in my pants!” (I believe this is in reference to the inner liner typical in most swimsuits for males)

Friday, June 20, 2008

Momentous day in the lives of cube dwellers

Suzy thinks I’m a little crazy for enjoying this guy’s videos as much as I do. The best I can say is there is a joy/hope that comes across from his videos. Below is his latest which was released earlier today.

After his first one he admitted the popularity and effect his videos have had with people was purely by accident. It was originally intended as a goofy travel log that he and his family would watch. He continues however to make videos that for me (and apparently a great deal of other people) are true to that innocent/honest joy of the first.

I guess sometimes I feel I am consuming my life sitting in a box staring at meaningless stuff on a computer screen. This guy gives me a few minutes of sitting in the box staring at stuff on the screen that makes me realize I shouldn’t waste my life sitting in the box. I just wish the path that this guy took out of his box were big enough for all of us.

Anyway time to get back to my pursuit of nirvana in Microsoft Excel.

Enjoy the video. (It's much better in high quality directly on Youtube

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Ryan video by proxy

Due to the lack of a digital camera we were unable to capture Ryan’s sense of style this morning.

Here is a video from youtube that gives you the idea. Unlike this kid, however, Ryan thought it was hilarious.

We hope our next camera will be able to withstand exposure to children.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Warning: graphic descriptions of violence and suffering!

Two nights ago, as we usually do, Suzy and I were reading in bed after a long day. Then one of those seemingly innocent actions that you don’t even think about when you do it but regret once you’ve done it happened.

I put my hand on my wife’s 7+ months pregnant stomach.

Shortly after my act of stupidity, the obvious reaction occurred; the baby kicked/punched/elbowed/whatevered my hand in a blatant communication of, “Hey, just exactly who/what do you think you are?... gettin’ all up in my grill like this!”

I flipped out. I mean my heebies were in full-on jeebie. Somehow I had forgotten how (...searching in vain for a non-derogatory adjective...) "different/interesting" that feels.

In my defense, I tell myself that everyone has at least one or sometimes several things that give them the willies. By willies I mean to say an involuntary response where you run/roll around in circles flailing anything that can be flailed in a vain attempt to scratch the itchy insides of your joints and alleviate the mental and emotional cringing.

Anyone who has seen me near the hideously frozen plastic of an otter pop knows the willies of which I speak.

So my wife, who as we are aware is a veteran of, shall we say, “the more significant physical realities of pregnancy”, is staring at me through all this with a look of love, respect and admiration for my sensitivity.

Actually it was more of a, “You have GOT to be kidding me” look.

Grasping for a way to help her understand the fullest extent of my sceeved-out-ed-ness, I should have told her that while she has been developing a connection to this baby and everything it does for the last 7 months, the baby and I really don't start connecting until it starts to forgive me for not being mommy. Until then it's more of a mutual recognition of the other's existence.

Instead of this nonsense or any other seemingly thoughtful response, my brain could only come up with:


So I’ve talked with my attorney and we’re hoping that after a two month suspension and a $50 fine the MAN association will give me my man card back. I’ll be needing it right about then to withstand the tortures of the delivery room.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

My energies have been balanced

For the past few years Suzy has been hosting a small yoga class in our garage for a group of ladies from church. Recently, I thought it would be good to have a very basic yoga video for me to use to stretch and increase my deteriorating flexibility.

So this morning Suzy decided that instead of going to the gym she would break out the video. She delayed getting up and made enough noise that I lost all hope of going back to sleep so…I decided today was the day for my first foray into the world of yoga.

What a freaky, earthy, granola, female dominated world it is. (If the world of yoga really isn’t that way, at least the world of yoga videos in North America seems to be.)

While focusing on “relaxing the inner edges of my eye sockets” and trying to figure out where my “sacrum” was, I strived to “meet each pose with integrity” and remember the most beneficial poses to use “during my menstrual cycle.” Needless to say, I found some of the video difficult to relate to. The rest of the video I just found difficult. The lady looked easily 20 years older than me but conservatively a thousand percent more flexible. I have to say, if you can get past all the foofy hippie garbage, yoga will kick you in your be-hind.

About halfway through the video, the boys woke up and decided to join in. So there we were, two bouncy little boys, a 7 month pregnant mom and a 37 year old bag of dried up ligaments, tendons and muscles attempting to contort ourselves all over the floor. Let's just say that posing with "integrity" requires a sacrifice of dignity.

You’re welcome for the visual.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Inaugural restart post

So here is the first test of our new blog. I have fiddled with creating a family blog off and on over the years, but we recently put Bardsleyland and the John and Dakin Family Journal on our Yahoo homepage and have felt closer to these families as a result. Over the last few weeks every time Jacob or Ryan does or says something adorable I have said to Suzy, “See that was a blog moment!” I guess I have to give her a little jumpstart. We’ll see if this thing has legs or not.

So last night driving home from Grandma and Grandpa Stovall’s house we were talking with the boys about today’s (Monday’s) activities. As usual Jacob was excited to go to preschool and out of the blue he said, “I’m not going to play with the girls in my class; They’re kinda princess-ish. I like playing with the boys better. They’re more Transformer-ish and dinosaur-ish.”

So that is a great example of what I have been calling blog moments, and it has the honor of being the first one captured.