A fake mustache

The kids, Jess and I are currently in the midst of making a family film. It's full of intrigue and entertainment, and only 4 minutes long. We do this once a year to share our film at a family film festival and watch what everyone else comes up with. This year, for my costume I donned a magic marker mustache.

After a day of filming, I cleaned off the 'stache but after scrubbing quite a bit, there was some residual ink. "I'll scrub it hard in the shower tomorrow morning," I thought. It had been a long day and I was tired. The next day, I showered, and went about my business.  Out to breakfast with family.  A stop at Target. Dropping a meal off at a friend's. And finished it off with the customary bath for the kids. While they were playing in the bubbles, I noticed that the residual mustache was very residual but still there! It kinda looked like a very faint hint of a preteen boy mustache. What was I to do? Nothing but laugh and scrub that thing off like crazy no matter how red my skin got or how tired I was. And a very important lesson I learned: when getting ready in the morning, look at yourself in the mirror CLOSELY. 


"Discover Science Here"

Lately, Oliver is really into Rube Goldberg machines. In fact, that's what he wants for Christmas. We'll see what Santa can do... Hmmm. He's also into making signs and likes looking through the magnifying glass. The other day he put the magnifier on top of a cup to look closely at it's liquid contents. Then he wrote this sign:

Gotta love it. 


Gluten free brownies

These are way better than the muffins I posted a while back. I found the recipe online (link forthcoming) and then added chocolate chips to it. "Yummmmm-eeee!" as Ansel would say.

1/2 cup coconut flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp salt
4 eggs
3/4 cup honey
2 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

1. Mix coconut flour, cocoa powder, and salt. 
2. Mix eggs, vanilla, honey, and melted butter.
3. Mix dry and wet ingredients. Stir with a whisk to get desired consistency.  
4. Mix in chocolate chips. 
5. Pour in a foil- or parchment paper-lined 8x8 baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees F for 20-28 minutes. Check with toothpick to see if done. 


Christmas DIY glass ornament

Very cool result with little effort. I'll be making a few more of these in different variations this year. 


Gluten free, can it be?

For the last six months I have not had three consecutive days without a headache. I've suffered headaches before, but these are different, nauseating, and very sadly consistent. I've tried all sorts of things ranging from doctor visits to physical therapy plus peppermint oil and exercise. Headaches are puzzles that can be difficult to solve, and my case is definitely one of them.

Now last month, I had 11 days without having to take painkiller. Six of those days were headache free while the others were only slight headache days. It was amazing. I thought maybe I had kicked it. 

Then they came back. I tried to think of what I had done those 11 days that would have helped my headaches. It just so happens that during those days I didn't eat much due to the fear of catching a stomach bug Ollie had. Was it not eating sugar? Gluten? Dairy? 

My guess is as good as anyone's, so I am running a series of experiments to see if going off of anything helps. This week is gluten. And it is surprisingly hard to do. I mean I love doughnuts for pete's sake! But it would be well worth it if it cured my headache issue. 

All this explanation to say, I used coconut flour to make some blueberry muffins today. Amazingly good. Not the same. But still good. 


Happy Thanksgiving

Yesterday Oliver came home with a paper Native American hat and a paper vest. We decided to choose an Indian-like name for him, Gliding Eagle. He proceeded to tell me about the pilgrims, the Mayflower, Plymouth Rock, and how the Natives helped the new arrivals survive those hard times. We talked about that historic feast and the things the people back then we're thankful for. Then we started to ask each other what we were thankful for. He first said corn and then meat and I noticed he was still acting as Gliding Eagle. But once we went further, we got to naming lots of things and, again, I realized how important gratitude is. And how much I love this time of year. 


bp's science: reading fiction makes you more empathetic

I recently read an interesting short article about why fiction readers tend to me more empathetic.  Makes me want to read more fiction.  Or read more, period.

And while we're on the subject of reading, I recently finished 12 Years a Slave.  The book is surreal; the intensity and horribleness of it, shocking.  The author, Solomon Northrup, was a strong man who faced brutal adversity with great character, perseverance, patience, and kindness  He was also a superb writer who created a narrative with explanations that helped me more clearly understand things from history that I hadn't previously.  I would recommend this read in a heartbeat.  This part of history is very saddening and sickening, but the resilience of the people and the strength they gave one another is truly something else.


and growing

Ansel is growing and developing at laser-like speed. His hair is growing really fast too, and it makes him look older. This morning I got out some long sleeved onesies labeled 18-24 months. "These will be too big," I thought to myself. The child is 22 months old but for some reason that fact has not been fully comprehended by myself. I said this with Ollie, and I'll say it again with Ansel, it is very neat to watch a child at this stage. It is amazing what a 22 month old picks up. Below are a few tidbits of life with Ansel:

- he carries a little bear around and it seems that his pacifier must accompany it. So when asking for these items he says, "bear, pass". These items mean a lot to him. The other day he was going down the stairs with bear/pass and  Oliver's snow boots on and proceeded to fall down. I was shocked and rushed to see if he was okay. All he was concerned about was "bear, pass" which he found and was completely fine thereafter. Forget about the falling down a few stairs part. 
- when we read a book about the circus and we get to the part about strong men he flexes his muscles and says, "strong men!" In his lowest voice. 
- he loves high pushes on the swing. I gave him one heck of a push at the park the other day and one of the parents there said, "wow, he sure knows how to hold on tight!" This Ansel lives extreme. 


ok go fans...big time

Look at these faces. These are the totally focused, nothing-can-bother-me looks the boys give when they are watching an ok go music video. They are entranced. Their cousins introduced them to this and if you haven't seen the latest, I'm here to introduce it to you.


Pear bread pudding

As I've admitted on this blog many times before, I have a problem baking things. I mean to say, I have a problem enjoying baking things and so sometimes, for no apparent reason, I whip something up.  With the day's getting cooler and daylight savings making our nights darker even earlier, I've gone into baking mode. Nothing is more welcoming than a warm oven and the sweet smell of cinnamon or pumpkin, or chocolate chips. Or in today's case: pear bread pudding.  I love bread pudding, however, it must be homemade.


Pancake art

This is too good not to share.  The amazing stuff begins at 1:06. 


A happy Halloween to you!

This past week we went to a pumpkin carving contest. There sure we're some winners out there. Turns out Jess and I took away the "nice try, failed attempt" award. Can you guess which one is is ours?


Leaf faces

Meet leaf characters: GG, Geirld, Ben, Clark, and Suzie.  Their respective ages can be seen on the bottom of each leaf.  

Ollie made these the other day. I love that imagination of his.



While growing up, milk accompanied my breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  Our family drank a lot of milk.  My dad (who did most of the grocery shopping) would go to the grocery store and buy six gallons of the stuff, filling the top shelf of the refrigerator to capacity. It would take us a a bit more than a week to finish that off.  Did I mention I grew up in a large family?

We usually always had milk (see volume purchased on a regular basis above), but when we ran out, it was a food emergency.  We didn't have food emergencies much at our house.  There was always something to eat.  But if the milk ran out, what were we to do?  "Can you go to the store and buy more milk?" my mother would request a special trip be made.  My dad enjoyed his time in the evenings home from work and rarely interrupted that relaxation time with things to do (except fix cars, repair appliances, mow the lawn - see large family comment above), but he always hurried to the store when we were out of milk.  Hardly a second went by without the stuff.  And if I were hungry right before bedtime my mom would reply, "You can always have some milk."

I am who I am today partially due to milk.  And now my own little family drinks milk like no tomorrow.  Oliver and Ansel both down the stuff.  I drown my cereal in it.  Jess likes it too on cereal; and he eats a lot of cereal.  So whenever we run out of milk, we have a similar emergency.  But I don't like running to the store all that much, and I'm a bit more selfish, so I make my kids drink water with their breakfast.  Jess has toast.  I make frosting with water (not good), and if the kids are hungry before bed, it's water.  However, if more than a day goes by without the stuff it's rough.  So I get to the store and buy two gallons, which we will finish within a bit more than a week.


Dino land

This weekend we ventured southeast to Vernal and Dinosaurland. The kids were in heaven (having cousins around helped). I was taken back to my childhood days of visiting these places. Jess remembers doing it too. It's crazy to think that this activity has come full circle. Me with my kids going to a place I so closely relate to as myself being a kid. How's that for eloquence?

There is amazement and wonder to seeing fossils lodged in the earth as opposed to put together and on display in a museum. Wow!


What about instagram?

I've done it.  I have joined instagram.  It's not facebook, but it is instagram.  Some of my friends would say this is progress.  I would say that's probably true.

Here are the reasons why:
1) To keep in touch with people who want to keep in touch
2) To keep a photo journal and make a book of photos with captions
3) instagram is like unto the "picture a day" idea I undertook in 2000 and it plays towards my interests (May I just say that back in 2000 when I was taking a photo a day, people were kind of annoyed at times.  I would say that attitude toward picture taking has changed for the most part.  Interesting.)
4) the app DAYS is not really supported anymore, seeing as the creators are on to bigger and better things

And so it begins.  ASH.DORE is the name, instagram is about to be my game.  Yeah, that was pretty lame.  Wow.


Homemade apple butter

Ever since I was a kid I've loved apple butter. While I think it's a ten, others in my little family rate it a seven or much below. But I can't get enough. I tried my hand at making my own this year. Six apples and two pears later, I had one jar full of the stuff. Very easy and so delicious. 


To watch the rain

Ansel pulled this chair up the window to watch the rain.

The sun did not shine. 
It was too wet to play. 
So we sat in the house
all that cold, cold, wet day. 
- from The Cat in the Hat


Smart phone, is it time?

Last night I dreamt that Jess got me the iPhone6, set it out on the downstairs counter, and I found it much to my surprise.

I woke up immediately following the dream but kind of forgot it (you know how that is when you wake up), but felt this very real excitement in my woken up state.  Then I remembered that in the dream I was living with a smart phone.

What is my subconscious trying to tell me?


This boy loves to "swhing"

We spend lots of minutes, nearly hours on the swing each day.  He loves to close his eyes, smile, and say "happy."


on maintenance

This past month, I've spent a lot of time on home maintenance.  I've unclogged roof gutters, plastered window frames, cleaned the old hot tub, painted touch-ups, fertilized the lawn (and have I mentioned weeding?).  I admit that I (sometimes) get a kick out of these projects and feel a sense of accomplishment.  However, yesterday evening, Jess and I spent two hours replacing the the inner workings of a toilet.  After we finished I said, "If this thing leaks after we've done this, I'm going to swear."  We laughed, it was not possible.  We had followed the directions meticulously and replaced the whole thing, except the porcelain.  Turns out, it was possible and it started leaking again. However, I did not swear, but I was ticked.  I went to bed and dreamed of leaking toilets and failing at fixing them.  I woke up to thinking about the toilet.  It must be fixed!  I have got one last thing to try, and if that doesn't work, we are getting a new toilet!

A lot of life seems like maintenance.  You've got to maintain your material possessions  You've got to maintain your physical health.  You've got to maintain your relationships.  You've got to maintain your spiritual health.  You've got to maintain your mental acuity.  I've found it really is a balancing act and at times you've got to make sure you've got your priorities straight.  Sometimes I may have a leaky toilet scenario in any number of these areas, and the best I can do is try to improve.  Complacency can have damaging effects (including a high water bill!), so even a small move in the right direction is progress.

And now, back to thinking about how I am going to try to finish fixing that toilet.  Arghh!


Any food with the word "dump" in it is unfortunate

Is it just me or does the name "dump cake" discourage you from ever wanting to try a dump cake no matter how good it looks?


faux-thermal imaging

Second simple good: the joys of iPad photo booth.  These little boys (and their mom) cannot get enough.  Ansel absolutely loves this picture.  He laughs every time he sees it.


It's time to celebrate the good

Let's lighten the mood, eh?  I need a little less deep thinking and some more good celebrating.  So that's what I'm gonna do.  First simple good:

Pumpkin chocolate chip bread - the signal, to me, of fall.  And it's always fun to rework the recipe so that it's still good but healthy too, like add apple sauce, cut the sugar in half, and add flax flour.  My little family and some of Oliver's friends have nearly finished two loaves in two days.  


Perspective and vulnerability

It is alarming how quickly my perspective on life, what's most important to me, what I'm concerned about changes.  Like a fierce wind, switching this way and that, my priorities are whipped around constantly and it's exhausting.

Deep down, I know what is most important, my foundation is sure, but then I get caught up in the everyday.  It seems to have a pull on me that I don't like.  I want to be even-keeled.  I don't want things to knock me this way and that.  I want to improve because I want to be a better person.

Lately, situations have happened and controlling my reaction to them has been more work than what I would have expected.  I thought I was tough and had it together, and in someone ways I do.  But I need to be more together, more secure, more focused on the good instead of surface issues.  I want to have the wisdom, the perspective, the concern of a 60 year old. 

I feel like my main problem may be selfishness.  This seems strange to me since I am a mom and nearly every moment is spent giving to others.  But the point is, I guess, I am doing it all without complete love because I am caught up in way too many other lame things.  

Plus, the other day I was asked what I do to relax.  I couldn't think of an answer. I rarely relax.  I know this is not uncommon, but I find I need to physically and mentally.  Study? Art? Exercise? Music?  Probably a bit of all of the above.

Overall, I need to remember I'm rich with goodness all around me.  There is love filling my cup and it's full. The problem is, I'm only sipping from it. 

Look, I am rich. Ollie made this cash today, along with a 1,000,000 cent coin.



Am I the only person out there who can't seem to master the art of coupons?  Don't get me wrong, I have tried. I've wanted to be a coupon lady, saving money is in my nature, but I always come up short. 

"This coupon is expired."

"You have to buy five of these rather than four to get the 75 cents off."

"Oh, sorry, you've got to get the 18.5 oz size to get the discount."

"This coupon only works on Wednesdays during the fifth week of the month." 


A while back, I decided to bag the coupon saving and rely on in-store deals.  Same thing happened.  I'd try to buy five boxes of cereal in order to get a $5 dollar gift card; except, it never seemed to work out that way.  I could never buy the right combination of cereal to get five bucks.

Is saving some cents really that difficult?  Is everyone getting fooled into buying things that they think will save them money, when really, in the long run, they have spent more than they would have otherwise?  Or am I just not able to hack it?  Probably, hopefully (for my sake), it's a little bit of both.


into September

Ahh, September.  A wonderful month all around.  I had the best Gala apple yesterday.  That apple pretty much sums up what I like about September: fresh, crisp, clean.  I've begun a clean start on bettering my posture.  Yep, that's right.  I've recently learned that I've got some weak muscles and some stressful tendencies that are causing me some guff, so here's to strengthening.

In other news, Ollie's first day of school went well and he loves it.  And just today, Oliver told me he likes Kindergarten just as much as the beach.  Wow!  

And Ansel has started talking lots.  His words not only include mama, dada, and ah-ee (Ollie), but also fishes, pushes (the boy loves the swing), car, nose, eyes, ears, yesch, and no.  One can tell he's loving his newfound communication tool.  

And finally, hikes.  We've been on some beauties lately.  Nothing matches the freedom the outdoors provides to children, to anyone!


Here we go

Ollie's off to school today.  He and I weren't ready to say good bye to the stay-home-and-play (-and-I-know-everything-you-are-doing-thank-heavens) phase. But he's had some good pep talks from his dad and me, and we talked more as we walked up to the school, and sure enough, he mustered up the courage and went in.  He's going to do great!  As he marched into that school, I gathered the courage to adios the old phase and move onto the go-to-school-then-come-home-and-play phase.  And even though it's hard, it sounds good too.

Say cheerio to our summer schedule (thanks to big O for writing this up):

Say hello to our school year:


Stream okay or not?

We've had a lot of good water time this summer.  Pools, oceans, even streams at parks.  Ansel walked right into a stream at a local park recently.  I let him do it. Then Ollie joined.  They played in the semi-stagnant water and afterward we took baths. I think that was one of the best days they've had this summer.  The freedom and newness for them was invigorating.  What do you guys think of streams at parks? Yesterday I didn't let them do it because I did not want to take them to the bath right after.  Am I over thinking this or under thinking this? Are streams too germ-ridden? I am torn. What do you think?


On weeding

This summer has involved lots of weed pulling. In the garden, in the gravel path, in the driveway cracks; weeds are pulled on a regular basis.  Friends of mine in the neighborhood have commented that they see me outside a lot, doing yard work. Pulling weeds has become automatic now. So much so that when I go running/walking in the morning I take note of most weeds I see and weigh how difficult this or that weed may be to pull and what kind of root it may have.  The other day I caught myself in a thought conversation with a seller of a price-reduced house with several weeds, "You know, give yourself a half an hour and you could pull most of these out without any trouble. Plus, the soil is wet making the task much easier." I had successfully solved the seller's weed problem (and thus his not being able to sell the house) that morning...in my head.

When we moved into our house we had a neighbor who mentioned she loved winter specifically for the fact that she no longer had to do yard work. I was kind of surprised, but I got where she was coming from.  I still like months with yard work however. It is therapeutic for me.  And though it is constant, there is a reward at the end which makes it all worth it.


A pick me up

I've made a goal to pick up less, which seems like a travesty, but in this case, a needed travesty.  I remember being a teen and going to some of my older sibling's family homes.  They'd have toys strewn about and I was kind of surprised at the mess (the house was clean, but the house not picked up). I realize now why: they had toddlers.  I kept our apartment in DC fairly organized and straight, picking up every toy or book mess quickly (folding the laundry is another story).  But now that we live in a bigger space and Oliver and Ansel do several activities a day (one of which is taking all books off the bookshelf - I'm looking at you Ansel), I can't keep up with it.  Well, the truth is, I can keep up with it, but that is what I would be doing all day and that is what I have been doing until now. I need a break.  And so I leave the pickup for the evening.  And if some blocks are still out at 9pm, I let it go and I don't think about it again.  Until the next evening, when I feel I should pick it up.  But then again, I've heard any statement that begins with "should" is not healthy, so maybe I should let that go too.  Whoops, there I go again.


Double digits

We recently celebrated our ten year anniversary by visiting a recommended 9th & 9th restaurant, taking a nice walk in that neighborhood to enjoy the architecture (who doesn't like a big porch?), and talking about our kidlets. In some ways ten years seems like a lot and in other ways it doesn't seem like all that much at all.  I look forward to more of the same.


Book Review: I Feel Bad About My Neck

I recently picked up Nora Ephron's humorous book, I Feel Bad About My Neck.  It seems that Nora didn't take herself too seriously and her style was easy going.  I like a good laugh and this book did the trick.  While I believe her intended audience was older women, it still was quite entertaining.  And I felt young, which is never a bad thing.  The chapters I liked the most discussed parenthood verses parenting, New York real estate, and missing favorite foods that have been lost to a closed bakery/cafe/restaurant.  This brought me to think of some of the foods I yearn for every now and again but are gone.

When Macaroni Grill was new to the scene, my family went every now and again.  We liked the place, a lot.  And since my mom had pretty much given the kibosh to Olive Garden (during one visit, it took twenty minutes to seat us when there were more than ten tables available - which I have since learned was no fault of the restaurant itself but the time of day and number of staff on the premises - but I digress), Macaroni Grill was our new spot.  Plus, that focaccia bread was way better than any bread stick.  I always ordered a dish that I loved there, the chicken calzone.  The dipping sauces made the dish: one was a balsamic vinegar reduction and the other, a caesar dressing-like aioli.  I lived for the dipping sauces, savored each bite, used up every bit of both.  And then one day, I got my plate and the balsamic reduction sauce was missing.  I kindly informed the waiter of the mistake when he informed me that they no longer served the calzone, or any dish for that matter, with that specific sauce.  Later came the blow that the calzone was no longer on the menu.  But, as luck would have it, I could still special order my favorite dish even if it did only come with the caesar sauce.  And then finally, the restaurant decided to no longer serve it.  And then I put the kibosh on Macaroni Grill.

Still, the most memorable food I miss on a regular basis is the ZCMI chocolate chocolate doughnut.  This delicious dessert was the pinnacle of the cake doughnut world for me.  I savored every bite and was known to spend my own 54 cents + tax on one, which was pretty much a miracle seeing as I held tight to my money and hardly spent a dime.  This doughnut was large and plump, with hardly a hole in the middle, topped with light brown, made-with-butter frosting that wasn't too chocolatey and thus allowed for the flavor of the cake doughnut to meld well with, instead of be taken over by, the frosting.  It was kept refrigerated inside a glass case at the little side bakery attached to the department store, and served a bit cold then slowly warmed as you enjoyed it bite by bite.  We'd make special trips to get one.  Then one day we went to get a doughnut and the bakery had been turned into a knick-knack shop.  We had hardly a warning!  The sweet bakery lady was gone.  Loaves of sourdough and cracked wheat were replaced with games you'd never heard of and super-soaker water guns.  The pastry glass case had stopped refrigeration and now held magnetic curiosities and swinging pendulums.  Our doughnuts ceased to exist.  Then ZCMI got bought out and part of my childhood was whisked away with it.  I tried to find the doughnut downtown at a bakery possibly owned by the same people who did the original doughnut, but I was never successful.  Since then, I've had several chocolate chocolate doughnuts, wishing, hoping that another bakery could get close to what I've enjoyed before.  But no luck.  And so I stick with the yeast-risen doughnuts and enjoy them a lot.  But the cake doughnut is up against all odds, a grand contender, a doughnut I miss and pine for especially on overcast, fall days.

Do you have a special food you miss?  Nora Ephron's was cabbage strudel and she ended up, after years of searching, finding the very food she had gone without all that time.


My annual post on August

August already?!  Again, I find myself at the beginning of August amazed at how the summer has sped along.  It has gone at a good solid pace, we've enjoyed (and continue to enjoy) it, but I am surprised when I count the weekends left. So here's to snow cones, farmers markets, bare feet, swimsuits, relaxing in the shade, and taking in those evening sunsets.  We welcome you for another month (at least).

Ollie takes a stroll in the summer sun at the San Juan Capistrano mission


Just wonderful

Don't you just love when life presents you with those purely wonderful tidbits of time?


bp's science: recalling facts

I recently read an article about the game show Jeopardy.  It is right there behind Wheel of Fortune as one of the longest running game shows ever.  The article mentioned that people enjoy it today almost as much as they did in the past, but the novelty of recalling facts is losing its coolness.  Because we can Google anything we want at pretty much any time we want, having the skill of remembering tidbits is no longer required or valued as highly.

Is this a good thing? Or a bad thing? Or does this even matter?  I certainly have not put any facts to long term memory recently.  I have memorized about eleven telephone numbers, but more than half of them I learned before age 15 and some are obsolete now.  The sharpness of our brains depends upon our working it.  We learn more vocabulary by reading. We become better problem solvers by routinely thinking creatively.  We hone our ability to recall things when we put our memory to the test often.  With so much info at our fingertips are we really smarter?  Or is Googling making us dumber?  I cannot say that I have read anywhere that this deluge of facts is making us less smart, but I have to wonder how it does affect our brains.

No science here, just questions. But isn't that where science begins?  Okay, enough with my philosophical questions.  I'd better get to memorizing a quote or verse of scripture or maybe even a poem from Shel Silverstein's Where the Sidewalk Ends.


at seventeen months

Ansel is an adventurer, he can run fast, and he loves to brush his 12 (soon to be 13) teeth.  His favorite books are On Market Street by Anita and Arnold Lobel and Circus Numbers by Rodney PeppĂ©.  He loves a good tune and dances like a pro.  He likes to sing "Lollipop." He kicks the soccer ball and bounces the basketball. He gets excited about all technology items that begin with an "i."  And he very much enjoys being around people.  Friends, I present to you toddler Ansel.


Making sense of it all, part iv

Bah, I typed up a science post for this week.  It was almost done and then, bam, iPad out of battery power. It turned off and nothing was saved. Darn. I didn't have the energy to type it all up again, so no bp's science for this week. I'll try again next week :)

But this post is about a much cooler thing, Oliver.  He is such a fun kid. And a ham.

The other day he was swinging on the play set so very high and said, "Mom, I'm using all my allergy!"  He meant "energy."

He likes to make up words and give them meanings.  The latest: imbince, which is to make someone fall without them knowing what's coming.

The other day I taught him the art of drawing on magazine faces.  He took to it quite quickly and made a mustachioed man playing golf.

Oliver always asks how long it will be until we go to our planned event for the day.  Whether I reply 10 minutes or two hours he always says, "That's not very long."  Patient boy.

And just to add, Oliver got up before me (Jess was up and showering) one morning and did this.

It's his version of the phonetic alphabet.  My favorite: aich for H.


Birthdays and birthday cards

We've celebrated two birthdays over here that need mention.  Happy birthday to Ollie (for whom I have no photos since misplacing my camera) and Jess. Two top notch people, guaranteed!  And look at this drive-way birthday card (that Oliver made with Grandma). Part of it reads, "HB:J!" which translated is, "Happy Birthday: Jess!" Little does Oliver know he is already hip to text-like talk, although he came up with it entirely by himself.

On another note, Jess and I recently discussed text acronyms and phrases that we know and some we haven't a clue. We also discussed shortened words like awks, cray cray, and totes. And before I make any sarcastic comments, I guess I should withhold judgment because, as a teen, I shortened words all over the place.


Summer storms

Make for fun times.

And beautiful views.