Monday, July 28, 2008

Here we are in Washington!

Well, we made it to my parents' house Saturday afternoon. And we've been having lots of fun since then! The boys just absolutely love playing outside - there's so much to do! Katy loves playing outside too, but isn't allowed to without a grown up, which causes her much frustration. She wants to just be like the big boys. It's hard being the youngest!

Yesterday was Danny's talk in church. I also played a piano solo arrangement of "We'll Bring the World His Truth." I've just always imagined playing it for my only brother's Mission Farewell, and even though they don't do official farewells anymore, I still got to play it. I didn't do a fabulous job, but not too terrible.

Well, the only thing I have pictures of so far with the camera I feel confident uploading here is our trip to the library this morning. There was a music program by Tickle Toon Typhoon, which sounded really exciting! I was a little startled by the bum-off-the-street appearance, but it was pretty entertaining.

Katy got bored after a half hour or so, and started getting naughty. She sure can be a handful!
And I made David go sit with the other kids after a while...guess how he feels about that!
But he got into it after a few minutes! Ryan went right into the middle where I couldn't get a good picture of him, so that's why he's missing. He WAS there, just not in these pictures.

Katy wants to's her blogging

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Saturday, July 26, 2008

Driving is hard on Rachel...

Friday, July 25, 2008

Space Shuttle Launch

This is a space shuttle launch as viewed by an observer in a comercial airliner. Air Canada actually....I think it is pretty freaking cool.

In order for the space suttle to reach orbit if must attain a velocity of at least 7 miles per second, which is just over 25,000 miles per, that is not a mistype. Not only that, but the Shuttle weighs 165,000 pounds, the external tank weighs 78,000 pounds and its two solid rocket boosters weigh 185,000 pounds. All of that is before fuel is added.

EACH (there are 2) of the solid rocket boosters hold 1.1 million pounds of fuel. The external tank holds 143,000 gallons of liquid oxygen (1,359,000 pounds) and 383,000 gallons of liquid hydrogen (226,000 pounds). After all is said and done, the total weight at liftoff is about 4.4 MILLION pounds, that has to reach a speed of 25,000 miles per hour. What a world.

(Hi, Rachel here. Dan didn't have sound at work when he posted this, and didn't know that there is a swear word. So, just be warned...the sound adds nothing, it's just a guy being amazed, so turn it off while watching this movie.)

here is a more...up close and personal view.


I know alot of people, wonder as to why this is important. Why spend the money, why risk life for it? My initial answer to that is "because it is freaking awesome" but that just doesn't seem to hold any weight.

Let me quote what NASA itself has to say about that very topic.

"Technology transfer, the practice of moving inventions and processes from one field of human endeavor into another, is at the core of NASA's existence. Starting in 1915, NASA's predecessor, NACA, was given a Congressional mandate to "...supervise and direct the scientific study of the problems of flight, with a view to their practical solution, and to determine the problems which should be experimentally attacked, and to discuss their solution and their application to practical questions" (Public Law 63-271). NACA's discoveries and inventions were made available to airplane builders and to the public. When NASA was founded in 1958, the practice continued.

Devices and techniques from the Space Age continue to make our lives better. Some NASA programs that were great contributions to the betterment of life on Earth have been spun off from NASA, but continue under new management. Many satellites are operated by private enterprises, especially communications satellites. Weather satellites are run by NOAA, and many remote sensing satellites, like Landsat, are shared by NASA and the Department of the Interior."

Not good enough? are some examples of things that came about becasue of NASA's research.

Hubble Telescope - NASA created and implimented the Hubble Space Telescope ( had some initial issue, but it now works perfectly). First off, Hubble has helped us learn more about the universe than any previous telescope...for decades it has provided tools that never existed previously. One intersting spin off of the Hubble is what is call the CCD (Charge Coupled Device) chip. "What is that?!" you say? Every digital camera in the world (and actually...everything that takes digital images) uses a CCD. So, you can thank NASA and the space program for your digital cameras. NASA also did something else special with the CCD. They made Mammograms possible. Every woman who has been saved because of a mammogram can thank NASA for her life.

ENRICHED BABY FOOD - A microalgae-based, vegetable-like oil called Formulaid developed from NASA-sponsored research on long duration space travel, contains two essential fatty acids found in human milk but not in most baby formulas, believed to be important for infants' mental and visual development.

WATER PURIFICATION SYSTEM - NASA-developed municipal-size water treatment system for developing nations, called the Regenerable Biocide Delivery Unit, uses iodine rather than chlorine to kill bacteria.

SCRATCH-RESISTANT LENSES - A modified version of a dual ion beam bonding process developed by NASA involves coating the lenses with a film of diamond-like carbon that not only provides scratch resistance, but also decreases surface friction, reducing water spots.

SOLAR ENERGY - NASA-pioneered photovoltaic power system for spacecraft applications was applied to programs to expand terrestrial applications as a viable alternative energy source in areas where no conventional power source exists.

LASER ANGIOPLASTY - Laser angioplasty with a "cool" type of laser, caller an excimer laser, does not damage blood vessel walls and offers precise non-surgical cleanings of clogged arteries with extraordinary precision and fewer complications than in balloon angioplasty.

MEDICAL GAS ANALYZER - Astronaut-monitoring technology used to develop system to monitor operating rooms for analysis of anesthetic gasses and measurement of oxygen, carbon dioxide, and nitrogen concentrations to assure proper breathing environment for surgery patients.

FIREMAN'S AIR TANKS - Lighter-weight firefighter's air tanks have been developed. New back-pack system weighs only 20 lbs. for 30 minute air supply, 13 lbs. less than conventional firefighting tanks. They are pressurized at 4,500 psia (twice current tanks). A warning device tells the fireman when he or she is running out of air.

This is a small protion of things that exist ONLY becasue NASA exists. Is that good enough?

Thursday, July 24, 2008

What kind of mother yells at her son...

...for not being able to ride a broken bike?!? Holy cow, I feel TERRIBLE!

Those of you that frequent our blog have seen me complain a lot about David not riding his bike fast enough while I jog. He usually ends up walking his bike by halfway through or so, which often made me yell at him. I was so frustrated and angry that I had to worry about that when I was also trying to jog (something I haven't done in 7 years) while pushing a regular double stroller (not one meant for jogging) and holding Molly's leash! I was really thinking that David was a total wimp for not being able to ride for even a mile without whining. And I've been stressing about needing to buy a double jogging stroller, since if David can't ride the whole way, clearly Ryan can't either.

Last week Ryan got a new bike for his birthday, which was the exact same model as David's, just brand new (David's was a $5 garage sale purchase). A few days later we went for a walk while both boys rode their bikes, and David struggled more than Ryan! I still thought David must be a major wimp.

Then Dan noticed that his tires were really flat. And we started wondering if the bike might just not work quite right. I have had to put the chain back on a couple times, after all.

So Monday morning I took the kids for a walk, with both boys riding their bikes. They were way faster than me! But, even with the newly inflated tires, Ryan was still going strong at the end, and David had to walk his bike.

Then Tuesday was my jogging day, so I had Ryan sit in the stroller again, and let David ride Ryan's bike. When I jog, we always go the same way down a long, straight sidewalk, so I can let David go ahead of me as much as he wants. David passed me on his way back a couple minutes before I even made it to the corner, and I didn't see him again the whole time! I got home and the bike was parked nicely in the garage, and David had gone inside to play!

So yesterday we found David a nice, new 18" bike (the boys had both been riding 16", and David looked a little cramped) at Walmart for $55. That's a lot more than I usually throw around on non-essentials, but he clearly needed a new bike!

Today was jogging day again, and both boys rode their shiny new bikes. And David had absolutely no problems again! Ryan fell over a couple times and scraped his knee, but still rode the whole way. And I've discovered that Molly will stay close by me even when she's not on a leash, so I let her be free (I bring one in case she gets naughty). That was easily the most stress free jog I've been on! Yay!

So the morals of the story:
1. Bikes aren't necessarily a good thing to purchase second hand.
2. Don't assume the worst - look for less negative possibilities first.
3. When your child says something is too hard, maybe they aren't being wimpy, maybe it really is.

I feel really bad that I had such negative feelings about David when it was really the bike that was the problem. He doesn't seem to mind, though...and he's thrilled with his new bike! I was going to take a picture of the boys on their bikes (blogs are always better with pictures), but both were off and doing other things by the time I was home!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Girls are smarter than boys

That is my conclusion. Either that or our 1 girl just happens to be advancing faster than our 2 boys. It's mostly in the communication area that I see it. She says quite a few cute little words, and often manages to communicate her wants. Usually that revolves around food (not just the tantrum over Lucky Charms this morning, like a few minutes ago she showed me that she wanted some pretzels) and drink (she often points up to the cupboard where her sippy cups are kept).

Then a little while ago I started getting a whiff of what Katy was doing under the kitchen table. I didn't grab her immediately, on the chance that she was not finished. Less than a minute later she said "da" and grabbed at her diaper. She wanted her stinky diaper changed! I don't think either of the boys cared until they were at least 3. Seriously, Ryan wouldn't even notice when he had accidents in underwear, let alone in a diaper!

I guess it's a silly thing to be excited about, but it's just one more little sign that my baby girl is growing up. Not only did she recognize that she needed a diaper change, she told me. So big!

Oh, and while I've been writing this, Katy got into the under the sink area that is supposed to be locked. I went and locked it, and said "Katy, do you want to play with your toys? Where are your toys?" She said something - most of her words are variations on "da," with the a having lots of different sounds - that sounded like she might be trying to say "park," and walked to the front door. I said "Oh, you want to play at the park?" She said "Yes!" I told her "No, we're not going to the park." She started crying, and went to the shoe basket to get me my shoes. So smart!

I think Katy wants some Lucky Charms, what do you think?

What a little fit that little girl just threw! Good grief!

For breakfast I gave her a few pieces of banana & some Kix. Hey, doesn't that sound yummy? Sounds good to me! Katy wanted nothing to do with it! She really doesn't like fruit, but I've been trying to give her some with every meal anyways to help her get over that. And I figured Kix is sweet enough without being sugary. Not sweet enough for Katy, apparently! She just sat there not eating.

Then I poured some Lucky Charms for the boys, and all hell broke loose. I guess she recognizes the box! She sat there crying for probably 10 minutes before I finally just got her down. She's not going to starve just missing one meal. So then she continued to wander around crying! And she found the extra box David brought in ("so when we run out we can just open the next one"), and REALLY started crying!

And all this over some cereal. I guess Katy isn't allowed to have sugary cereal at all if she's going to think she should always get it. She's 13 months old for goodness sake! Why does she think she gets what she wants?

Friday, July 18, 2008


Wednesday, July 16, 2008


Happy Birthday to Ryan!

Well, today is Ryan's big day! He's four years old now! Let's take a look back at how he's grown...
Okay, so he's 1 day old here. For some reason the only pictures we have of the day he was born are the screaming, immediately out of the mommy pics. So this is from the next day. He's a pretty cute little guy!
Here's Ryan's first birthday. Man, this kid knows how to make a MESS! Even now, it seems like he manages to get his face, arms, table, clothes, etc. dirty every time he eats. Looking at this, we should have known what was coming!
Two year old Ryan, not a clue as to what's going on.
Three year old Ryan was very into tools...look how proud he is of his tool belt!
And now, my big four year old Rynan. We went for a walk this morning, and it was the first time he got to ride his new birthday bike (other than around Walmart). He did great! In fact, he did better than David (either there's something wrong with his bike, or that kid is a wimp...). I can't believe how grown up Ryan is getting! He's about 1/8 of an inch shorter than David was 2.5 months after turning 4 (the first date we have on the growth chart), so he is most likely taller than David was at this age. What a big, cute, sweet, wonderful guy!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Happy 100th Post to Us!

Before we started a blog I thought it was a dorky, teenagerish thing to do. But 4.5 months & 100 posts later, I am proud to say that I love having a blog! It's a great way to share the happenings of our life with my far away family (Dan's doesn't check it for some reason...must not be cool enough yet...) and friends. It's an easy way to record our family history - much better than trying to remember to write in a journal or something. And it's a nice way for me to brag, vent, etc. when there are no other adults in sight!

And maybe most importantly, it's a fun place post pictures of my kids! Here are some of the latest!

Katy got a wagon for her birthday, and the kids love it!

Katy especially climbs in it every chance she gets!

I sent David to get dressed, and he came out like this, with his Book of Mormon under his arm. He sat down and read the title, then kind of flipped through the pages. What a proud mommy I was!

And sweet little Rynan, turning 4 tomorrow. We picked out this bike for Grandma & Grandpa Smith to give him, and he was so excited! I let him ride it out to the car, then told him to stop so I could take a picture to send to Grandma. He immediately did this! After I took it he said "Did you like it?" I told him that I did. He said "That means I love her." Sweet little guy!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Our latest project!

As usual, I have a good excuse for not blogging much lately. I've been working hard! We decided to tear up our backyard and start over. Seriously. It used to look really good, but a combination of grubs & sprinklers that didn't quite cover everything really killed it. There was no coming back. So, rather than try and sell our house (we already gave in and signed with an agent, btw...) with a nasty backyard, we're redoing it!

This is what our backyard looked like in September of 2006. Nice, soft, green grass. Too bad it didn't last...

I forgot to take a "before" picture, but I was able to find some pictures that included our yucky grass in them. These were all taken in May & June of this year. This is not a very nice backyard anymore!

This was a project that we did a couple weeks ago. We decided it was so much easier to just do wood chips. Now we don't have to try and get the sprinklers to hit that area, and I never have to mow around it again. And the boys say that we turned the backyard into a park, so they love it!

So, last weekend we rented a rototiller and dug up the entire backyard. We let it sit for a week to let the sod pieces dry up. And here's what we spent most of Saturday working on, and what I have worked on all morning. I raked the sod pieces out, smoothed it out, and used a lawn roller on it. It was really hard work!

Now I just have to go unload a cubic yard of topsoil and take it back there...wish me luck!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Satan has possessed the children...

...but it's not just a regular's much sneakier. At this moment Katy is napping, and David & Ryan are quietly watching TV downstairs. And the dog is quietly sleeping under the table, for that matter. It is totally quiet up here, and I have lots of cleaning I'd like to do (mostly folding laundry & doing dishes, so relatively Sabbath appropriate). It is an extremely rare combination that all 3 children & the dog are leaving me along simultaneously, and I actually feel like doing more chores.

Why is that evil? Church starts in 4 minutes. Oh, vile tempter! Making my children be good so that I want to skip church!

Instead I will now call the boys up, and wake up poor Katy, so I can go and try to make them sit quietly for a long time. One o'clock church was much better when I was a teenager.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Thank Goodness for Baby Einstein!

It wasn't long ago (about a month or two) that Katy showed absolutely zero interest in the television. It was really hard to get anything (like, taking a shower) done when she'd only sit in her high chair for a few minutes at a time! Well, I finally found some Baby Einstein animal movies that capture her attention. She absolutely loves animals, so watching a movie of animals doing their thing really makes her happy. It's been so nice! There are so many things that are hard to do while Katy is wandering around (emptying & loading the dishwasher, folding the laundry, cleaning the bathroom, etc.), it is wonderful to have a way to keep her occupied so I can get them done.

And now I've discovered another thing I can do while she's watching her shows. I can feed her! She is very opinionated about what she'll eat. She won't eat any fruit, doesn't like most crackers...the only things I can always get her to eat are pretzels, cheetos, and string cheese. Those things are okay (especially the cheese) in moderation, but they do not make a healthy diet by themselves. And this is pretty gross, but last week I learned how slow her system was moving thanks to her lack of fiber - it was more than 40 hours from the time we had corn for dinner to the time she deposited it in her diaper. Poor baby! Well, this morning she ate a pretty big serving of applesauce! She was watching her show, and nicely opening her mouth for me to feed her - something that only happens a couple times a week lately. Yay! Am I setting her up for a lifetime of mindless eating in front of the television? Or am I just doing what I have to do to make sure my daughter eats a healthy diet? I suppose I shouldn't just turn on the telly for every meal, but at least I have a trick up my sleeve now.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

This is really just a test to see if my new phone can up
oad to the blog. I hope so.

This message was sent using the Picture and Video Messaging service from Verizon Wireless!

To learn how you can snap pictures and capture videos with your wireless phone visit

To play video messages sent to email, QuickTime� 6.5 or higher is required. Visit to download the free player or upgrade your existing QuickTime� Player. Note: During the download process when asked to choose an installation type (Minimum, Recommended or Custom), select Minimum for faster download.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Losing my mind...

So you know that cliche of an old lady looking for her glasses, and they're on her head or around her neck? I just did the mommy equivalent. I just looked at the high chair and noticed that Katy wasn't there anymore. I momentarily started panicking. Did she fall out? Did she manage to climb down safely? Where did she go? What is she getting into? WHERE IS MY BABY?

I was holding her.

I've gotten so used to having her on my right hip that I totally didn't even notice she was there, and thought I'd lost her. Nice.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Progress on the Home Selling Front

After all that drama about our neighbors selling their house, our enthusiasm died out and we've done absolutely nothing. We've seen a couple different families stop by to see their house, and kicked ourselves for not at least having a sign out. So I'm working on getting our home selling blog up and running. I still have work to do, but here it is in its current state.

Yes, it's probably a little rude to use one so similar to theirs (, but we really couldn't come up with anything else. We tried lots that were already taken (things like "home4sale" and "BuyThisHouse"), and wanted something simple & somewhat memorable. So that's what we're ending up with.

Anyhow, I very much welcome any and all comments. I'm aware that I still need more pictures, it just takes a while to prepare some of these rooms for their portrait...

Tuesday, July 1, 2008


I can't believe I am doing this stupid thing:

5 things I was doing 10 years ago:
1. Just graduated from High school.
2. Preparing to start at BYU.
3. Slept in.
4. I'm sure I ate sometimes...
5. Your mom.

5 things on my to do list:
1. Finish the stupid freaking downstairs bathroom (tile and a crapper...all it needs to be done)
2. Fix the backyard that somehow fell apart on me.
3. Find a way for Katy to stop causing herself near-mortal injury.
4. Get my car windshield fixed, and get my car registered afterwards.
5. Your mom.

5 favorite snacks/food:
1. My Cookies (home made, please)
2. Rachel's omlettes
3. My cream puffs
4. My cheese cake
5. Salad (and your mom)

5 things I would do if I was a billionaire:
1. Pay off every thing...forever
2. Best. House. Ever.
3. Maid/Butler/Sidekick
4. Probably actually be able to save some of it.
5. your mom

5 bad habits:
1. Being fat
2. Leaving clothes around so poor Rachel has to pick them up.
3. Soda
4. Your mom
5. Not going to bed on time

5 places I have lived:
1. My mom
2. Glendora, CA (18+ years)
3. Brigham Young University (1+ years)
4. Santiago, Chile (2 years)
5. Eagle Mountin Utah (4 years)

5 people I tag:
1. Your Mom
2. Rachel

I've never tagged anyone else. happy?! I did it!