Sunday, October 30, 2011

Pumpkin Potpourri

We had so many comments on our car decorations (above) at the ward 'Trunk-or-Treat', that I figured I might as well show the pumpkins off a bit on the blog this year. Carving a pumpkin is probably my favorite part of Halloween, so we try to put in as much effort as possible. This year was the best yet.

Sadly, our boys weren't as interested in carving this year. Jordan cut two tiny eyes out of one and let Mommy do the rest. Carter picked a pattern and then made me carve all of it. Davis shouted in frustration that the pumpkin wouldn't fit in his mouth.

TLC and I have been using stencils to create pumpkins since we were hitched, but our selection was usually limited to whatever we could find at the grocery store. This year we used ZombiePumpkins, and a world of options was opened. I chose Edgar Allan Poe, because I love his works and he's just darn creepy on a pumpkin! It's probably the most detailed carving I've ever done, but it still only took about 90 minutes, and it's well worth the result, methinks.

For 2003, Cynthia carved the name of our newborn, Jordan, into the mouth of a pumpkin. For the sake of equal parental treatment, all three boys have had a pumpkin like this. (Not that they care at this age...) The lid is always intentionally placed on incorrectly to give a scarecrow-ish appearance. Funny how family traditions spontaneously occur.

This is TLC's creation. I wasn't sold on the idea of an owl, but man...this bird looks menacing when lit up! This stencil is also from ZombiePumpkins. It almost makes me sick that she can make such perfect tips and edges.

This is the pumpkin that Carter picked out and then had me carve. Not gonna lie, I kinda phoned this one in. Doesn't quite have the same amount of polish as the other pumpkins. But it's still pretty cool.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Reason I'm a Bad Father, #58

Yesterday I received an interesting phone call:
  • Peter: Hello?
  • Dan: Hey, it's Dan! What are you doing?
  • Peter: Oh, just cleaning. You?
  • Dan: I'm driving home from a Halloween party. Hey, would it be alright if I come over and scare your kids? I'm dressed as a zombie.
  • Peter: I think they'll survive. (giggles)
  • Dan: Ok, I'll be over in a few minutes!
 A good father might have said no. Or would have given the boys an advance notice. Me? I grabbed my camera...

Sunday, October 9, 2011


Look at that handsome, confident kid. I have a seriously good boy in Jordan. He was baptized and confirmed yesterday, and I couldn't be more proud of him.

The whole meeting was very sweet and filled with the spirit. Jordan summed up the whole experience in his journal by saying "This was the best day ever."

We told Jordan he could choose anywhere he wanted to go for dinner, so naturally he chose Subway. Hmm...I kind of thought a restaurant would be better. We were able to talk him up to Denny's because of their pancakes, and I figured that was the best he'd agree on. While there, we presented him with a beautiful set of green scriptures. He has been anxiously pouring through them today. So cute.

I have baptized somewhere around 30 people, but yesterday was just completely different. Almost surreal. I was nervous, excited, worried, surprised that he could already be eight, etc. While getting changed into our white baptismal clothes, I just kept thinking about how small Jordan used to be.

It was one of those times were you realize how far your kids have come and how many people shape them into who they are. So to all of you out there that have helped Jordan become the awesome kid he is today, thank you.

Jordan's 8th Birthday

Turning 8 is a BIG deal. A birthday party, joining cub scouts, being baptized, etc. It has very much felt like a coming-of-age story for Jordan the past few weeks. The festivities kicked off with Jordan's birthday party. We ate pizza, played kickball, threw water balloons, let the kids play with Nerf guns and light sabers, etc. But I'm sure the kids will only remember one thing...


Seriously, what is it about pinatas that kids love so much? Our pinata experience was, sadly, quite short. The pinata was fastened on a nail. After just two hits, the nail failed and the pinata fell on the ground. Jordan, seizing the moment, raised the bat above his head in a rage and whacked the snot out of the pinata while it was on the ground...and then it was no more. Oops. I can still picture the moment in slow motion... "Noooooo!!! Squish!"

After taking out the candy, I hoisted up the head and let the rest of the kids take whacks at it, and they still had fun hitting it. Even without candy.

Lamb's Thriftway makes delicious birthday cakes, in case you're wondering. The chocolate raspberry cake we had was decadent. I tried to light all of the candles at least four times on that cake, but Jordan kept blowing them out before I had a chance. Hope he still gets his wish. Happy birthday, Jordan!

Yaquina Head

This is the last post of our summer vacation - I promise! Maybe it's just me, but it seems like our summer was just too full this year. The last little destination I wanted to write about was the Yaquina Head lighthouse in Newport, OR.

We actually went to the lighthouse twice during the summer, and still don't have a good picture (camera problems the first trip, low visibility the second trip - plenty of pics at Wikipedia, if you're interested). It's a wonderful 160-year-old lighthouse dropping off to cliffs on three sides. Very picturesque, but I'm glad I never had to live there!

One of the locations on the tour was the oil room, which stores 400 gallons of oil. The oil used to be carried up the stairs in two gallons pitchers like the one Jordan is holding above. The pitcher is weighted to show how much that much oil would weigh...Jordan's reaction is real (I think it's 30 pounds).

The last part of the tour was climbing up the spiral staircase. For a minute or two, it felt like I was in Hitchcock's Vertigo. The boys climbed it with ease and proudly displayed their "I climbed Yaquina Head Lighthouse" buttons. I'm sure the view would be great from the top...but I only saw fog. Boo.

One of the most interesting parts about the lighthouse is that there are large rocks just a few hundred feet out in the ocean that are completely filled with thousands of birds. We saw puffins, pelicans, penguins, etc. The largest rock is called Migration Rock.

Unfortunately, this picture doesn't come close to showing how many birds there were. Apparently there was an unprecedented decline in the bird population just two days before we went to the lighthouse for the second time. It was such a dramatic and unforeseen change, that there were observers from the local University while we were there. There is still one way to tell how many birds are USUALLY there - let's just say that the rock is not natively white.

First Day of School

Another year at McKay Elementary. Jordan and Carter started class on 9/6 and, for the first time, they are in the same school. It's surprising how different it is to get two kids to school in the morning instead of just one. The boys are slightly more cooperative, but there's twice as much to do and Mommy is usually busy feeding a third boy. We still haven't quite figured out the school lunches routine, but I think we're getting closer.

Jordan is now a second-grader. I think he missed school this summer, partly from boredom and partly because we made him do schoolwork during the summer anyway. He has a great teacher this year and she seems rather impressed with Jordan - he always seems to come home with a 'Wonderwolf' which is an instant recognition paper the teachers can give out.

Carter is a Kindergartner! I wish I could show you how excited he was to start riding the bus for the first time. He'd watch the bus roll up the street and start breathing faster because of the anticipation. Carter also has a large display of Wonderwolf papers strewn on our fridge. As I was writing this post, he was sounding out some of the words - he never did that before Kindergarten started. How exciting to see his progress!