Sunday, December 12, 2010

Christmas Star

Alvin, Miles, and I went to our ward Christmas dinner Saturday night, and we really enjoyed ourselves. Miles ran around the chairs and tables with the other little kids, and we only lost him twice. The second time he appeared on stage during the serious Christmas program. He stood there while the audience chuckled and while I waited for Alvin to appear and grab him. Unfortunately, Alvin was in the halls looking for Miles. I had to make my way through the audience, jump up on the stage, and chase him down.

After the program, many ward members complimented Miles on his star performance and said it was the best part of the program. The ward clerk said it was the best Christmas program in years, thanks to Miles. What a debut for our little boy!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


Alvin taught a lovely Family Home Evening lesson last night on family prayer. Miles has a select vocabulary, but Alvin helped him to say the closing prayer anyway. Here’s a snippet. Note Alvin’s attempt to include words Miles can say.

Alvin: Help us . . .
Miles: Uh.
Alvin: to eat apples.
Miles: Uh. (He must not have been in the mood to say apple. Now Alvin's going to try a word he knows Miles loves.)
Alvin: Help us . . .
Miles: Uh.
Alvin: to play the iPod.
Miles: A-men!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


Today Alvin asked Miles to bring him a tissue to wipe his nose. Miles looked at him thoughtfully, ran to his room, then ran back, carrying . . . his shoes. He was pretty sure he had gotten it right, so he looked slightly perplexed when Alvin and I laughed. Tissue. Shoe. That's pretty close.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Dear Oma and Papa

Since this is your first winter in St. George, you must be missing the snow. We had our first "sticking storm" last night - at least 6 inches. If you turn up your air conditioner and hold some ice while you look at these pictures, you might not feel so far away. We went for a chilly walk this morning, and Miles wanted us to brush off every white spec that stuck to his snow suit or boots. He warmed up to it a little when he saw Daddy making snowballs and throwing them at the speed limit sign. He even helped brush some snow off a truck in the parking lot.
He is excited to come see you this week!
Love, Laura
P.S. I sang in church today with Madeline. We sang a duet medley of "Let Zion in Her Beauty Rise" and "Joseph Smith's First Prayer." It went well.

Annual Moab Trip

Alvin has a couple of treasured friends from college who work for the parks in Moab. They have both married, and, coincidentally, both decided to expand their families this year. Clay and Leslie had a baby boy in September, and Brian and Angela (below) are having a girl any day now. We couldn't resist a visit. And we couldn't resist sharing our wealth of childbirth and parenting advice. Thanks for being such enthusiastic listeners, B&A.
Moab's signature red rock
A few lingering fall colors
Stretching our legs in Arches National Park after the long drive

I'd like to thank Apple for making this most recent trip to Moab not only possible but enjoyable. I'd also like to thank all the writers of puzzle, train, and storybook apps for their invaluable contribution. Miles generally does not like to be confined to his carseat, especially not for a 3 1/2 hour drive. However, with his I-pod touch in his chubby little fingers, he sat quietly exploring games for hours. He's quite adept for a one-year-old. Maybe after a little more practice (on the upcoming drive to St. George, for instance), he can teach Oma how to use her I-pad.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

A couple old crows

Who could refuse an invitation to let loose with some creativity and dress up as something fantastical? I found a homemade scarecrow costume in Miles' size at a consignment sale, and I couldn't resist buying it.

But thinking of complementary costumes for Alvin and me was tricky. Luckily, my friend had this great idea - we could be crows. She even pointed me to directions for making an elegant crow costume. I read them, and I started getting this tingly, excited, crafty feeling. It reminded me of when I was younger (like middle-school age) and went to the library to find origami or knitting books.

So I headed to the craft store, strapped Miles to my back, and resurrected the pacifer. (I had a feeling Miles might not appreciate being tied out of reach from all the interesting things he might have touched.) A bag full of black feathers, felt, and fabric later, I left the store. I followed Martha Stewart's directions for my costume, then, since my right brain was all warmed up, I winged it (hee, hee) for Alvin's costume. Although I have to give credit to Martha for the crow/raven eyes on his hat, which are hard to see in the picture.

We won the "Most likely to fly away to Neverland" award at Alvin's family Halloween party.

Happy Birthday!

October 18th. Alvin is a wonderful guy. He keeps me from being too serious and anti-social. He keeps Miles from being deprived of sugar. We love him, especially his red hair! Feliz cumpleanos!
Miles was tickled that I wanted him to push the candles in the cake.
Alvin fell in love with this picture, "Venice Stackables," when he saw it for sale at a farmer's market. He kept talking about buying it, so I finally got it for his birthday. I love it, too. See more by the same artist here.

Toddler dictionary

Miles isn't quite as advanced as Ella (also 20 months old), who can sing the ABCs and give an intelligible rendition of nearly every object in her sight, but he is finally emerging from his non-verbal toddlerhood. That is exciting for us.

Miles says the following words:
I-paw (This is his greeting to Alvin when he gets home from work: "Hi fun parent who lets me use the I-pod!")
wawa (water)
gah-gah (tiger)
boppydah (we don't know what it means, but love how it rolls off our tongues when we repeat it)
nana (banana)
g'bah (granola bar)
mon! (C'mon)
Dada (Miles lays in bed repeating this, and Alvin has a hard time resisting
Ammer (Aunt Amber)
Aanh (depending on the context and the direction his finger is pointing, this could mean "I want to watch Thomas the Tank Engine," "I want some Halloween candy," or "I want to nurse.")

Miles is the most compliant when we say the following words:
Do you want to cook?
Do you want to take a bath?
Do you want to go for a bike ride?

Miles is the least compliant when we say the following words:
Let's go brush your teeth.
You can't play with the camera right now.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

10 Years Later . . .

Friday night was my ten-year high school reunion. In the days leading up to it, I thought, “What will I tell people about myself? What are some of the most noteworthy things I have done or that have happened since we attended Bingham High together?” I started making a list in my mind, and I realized that some of the most important things in my life happened during those ten years following high school graduation:

I went to college at BYU and majored in mathematics.
I lived in France and Alaska.
I went on a mission to New Jersey and learned Spanish.
dad died from cancer.
My mother remarried, and I became part of a step-family.
I married Alvin.
I became an
I gave birth to a
baby boy.

Alvin says this is evidence that I graduated from being a nerd. (By the way, I was never a nerd.) Alvin also says that 10 years have been good to me, particularly in my hairstyle. (He never liked the pictures from my senior year at BHS featuring my super-short pixie cut.)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Anderson Cabin Swing

They really should make people sign a waiver before they ride this thing.

Reasons why September is my favorite time of year to go to Alvin's family cabin in Fairview Canyon:

1. It's not too hot.

2. There are no other people there, so you can have your own room and not worry if your baby cries in the middle of the night.

3. The water hasn't been turned off yet for the season, so you don't have to use the outhouse.

4. It's still too early for snow, so you can still drive right up to the front door. In the winter, you park on the road, snowshoe 1/2 mile while dragging your sleeping bags and gear on a sled, then dig out the front door.

5. Look at those autumn leaves!

Oh, the cleverness of me

Pirate Party

Don't you love the skulls? We kept the box of decorations in our living room before the party, and Miles would gingerly pull open the flap, take a gander at the pirate skull, and say in a low voice, "Ohhh!"
The party even featured some palm reading from an experienced gypsy. Thanks, Julie.

The beauties . . .

And the wastrels.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Arrr, ye scalawags!

The 19th of September be International Talk Like a Pirate Day. Don't be hesitatin' to check out this here glossary to brush up on yer pirate lingo. And here be some clues to lead ye mateys to the plunder we pillaged! (Pirate party summons by Madeline. Ain't she a beauty?)

Hoist the warning of pillage to come.
The sight of me will make land-lubbers run!

Fill ye tankards here, ye dogs.
And don’t be wishing it were GROG.

For vittles and drink, here we’ll gather . . .
Unless to the yardarm or keelhaul you’d rather!

Hang from my lumber the rigging and sails;
I’ll keep you from those fearsome whales.

Beauties and wenches will enter one door.
Mateys and wastrels, the other, fer sure!

It’s dark and dank, like the sty of a pig.
This foul storage is worse than the BRIG!

We ship out to sea at a future date.
Your order will come to a box by the gate.

The trusty plank is destined for
This funeral pire . . . or the shore!

Land ho! Ye scalawags, steer clear of these,
Or our ship will be dashed, and you’ll fall to yer knees.

(The internet, though fair she be, was sorely lackin' in clues to me treasure. So I took me ink, and jotted these down. Perhaps yer brains will be tellin' ye what they mean.)

Saturday, September 11, 2010

First Flight

That's me hanging from that paraglider! I went last Tuesday on a tandem flight, and it was amazing! We launched at the Point of the Mountain North Flight Park. Everyone there was totally chill - it must have been the evening sun, gentle breeze, and great view of the Salt Lake valley. My instructor had just flown from Ferguson Canyon to the Point! I had no idea paragliders could go that far.

We strapped our harnesses on, spread out the glider in the grass, walked forward to pull the wing in the air, and then we were off the ground. The idea is to glide around, feel the wind, and when you fly through an updraft, start turning to stay in it, and slowly spiral upwards. We gained nearly 1200 feet. Intriguing.

It was so relaxing just floating through the air, seeing the houses and cars and mountain far below in that evening sun. The best part of the 45 minute flight was our descent - we did some "wing overs" where you swing side to side, and then you start spiraling downward.

Alvin was so kind to watch Miles (and me) from the flight park below. He's already done a tandem flight, so he didn't feel like he was missing too much. Miles had a ball at the park - the chill attitude must have been catching. Maybe he was as entranced as I was at the big, vibrant gliders inflating in the breeze.

I would definitely recommend paragliding - or even just go hang out at the flight park and watch the paragliders set up and take off.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Summer Fun

We love summer! Too bad there's only 3 weeks left. Here are a few photos from some of our summer activities.
The cabin in Fairview Canyon is always a lot of fun.

Laura and Miles on the cabin swing. Laura went off the platform for the first time and loved it. She's scared of heights but you would'nt know it by looking at her...she's even going paragliding in a couple of days.

Miles LOVES throwing rocks in water and would do it all day if we let him.

Miles doin' a little slack-lining...gotta start 'em young right?

Snowbird in the summertime.

Had to include some geology right?

We saw a nature-style documentary on babies the other day and I've decided that Miles thrives best in a habitat with plentiful rocks, water, and sticks.
He looks innocent...but don't let him fool you.

Miles' best photo yet.

Stuart flying my kite from the top of Notch Peak.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Pioneer Day!

Alvin and I ran in the Deseret News 10k yesterday. 43:49 and 48:17. The downhill course made for a fast, energizing race, and during the last mile, I waved at my cousins who were camped along the parade route. I'm not sure if they recognized me.

Alvin trained by running twice during the week before the race, and resting a lot. :) If I had been smart about my training, I would have increased my weekly running mileage to include some 6-milers starting a month ago. Unfortunately, we just decided to race a week ago. Consequently, my legs HURT today.

But it was so fun to race, we are thinking of doing the Skyline 10k. We'll be at the Anderson cabin down the street for a reunion, so it will be perfect.

We finished the day with a barbecue at Alvin's sister's house. I swallowed a quip for not bringing any meat with some delicious black bean-jicama-jalapeno salad. The evening shade and damp cool grass were elixir to my race- and summer-weary body. Plus it was so fun to watch Miles explore all his cousins' toys: swingset, trampoline, battery-driven jeep, sandbox, tetherball. He loved them all and was so absorbed that I could relax, eat, and enjoy some adult conversation.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Daniel Dean and Mom

My grandpa passed away a few weeks ago. I'm glad my grandpa was such a great man. I am especially glad that he brought my mom into this world. My mom is surely one of the greatest people on earth!My grandpa flew the Grumann TBF Torpedo Bomber for the U.S. Navy. He received his wings in July 1945 just as Japan announced its unconditional surrender. I'm glad the war ended when it did or this blog or me or this poorly diagrammed sentence may never have existed...
My mom and her parents. I never met my grandmother...she died of cancer in her 40's. However, my mom has told great things about her. Grandpa went on to graduate with a Master's Degree from Cornell and work in labor relations and management.

Mom, Aunt Sally...sweet car

Nice catch mom! Who knew mom could fish?

The Cirque of the Towers

Here are a few pictures from the land northward. Which reminds me . . . has anyone ever seen the movie Lost in the Barrens? It's a definite classic. Anyway back to the pics, my brother Stuart and I headed north for Independence Day weekend. We hiked to the Cirque of the Towers in the Wind River Range, then headed to the Tetons, Yellowstone, and on to Island Park for a little fishing. We stopped by Angela and Brian's place in Teton National Park. It was great to catch up . . . and Brian even made some tasty quesadillas. Life is good!

This first picture is the view from Brian and Angela's yard . . . not bad (it's Teewinot).

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Toddler Tabling

Or would you call it "chairing?"

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Moved in and back to our hiking escapades

Ferguson Canyon - our new favorite trail.
After assembling a new kitchen table and waiting a month for a couch to arrive, we finally feel more settled in our new place in Cottonwood Heights. The move was a great opportunity to unpack and use some 3-year-old wedding gifts, read and try some decorating advice from Alvin's sister's blog, and let Miles graduate to sleeping in his own bedroom.
Things I love about our new home:

  • a ward with lots of young families like us
  • proximity to Big Cottonwood Canyon (I stuff Miles in the backpack and go hiking a couple mornings a week)
  • we don't have to do yardwork! But we smile and wave at the grounds crew everyday when they drive around in their golf carts.
  • the Cottonwood Heights Recreation Center. It has 5 swimming pools and a couple acceptable yoga instructors. I don't think anyone can compare to the yoga instructor at our old gym; she was unsurpassably amazing.

Things Miles loves about this area:

  • ~ climbing in parked golf carts
  • ~ pointing at robins on the lawn and in trees
  • ~ parks with swings
  • ~ a neighbor who is only 30 minutes younger than him (but she can already touch her nose, eyes, and mouth and give kisses)

Things Alvin loves about this area:
  • the beautiful mansions in nearby neighborhoods
  • the freeway entrance is 2 minutes away, so his work is 10 minutes closer
  • a new friend who shares his last name and hair color
  • the plethora of pinecones on our sidewalks, which are useful for throwing at the basketball hoop, which greatly amuses Miles

P.S. We also recently hiked Notch Peak near Delta, Utah, heard Peter Breiholt perform at the Brigham Young park, and went to Ashley Ross's wedding. My highschool friend is now Mrs. Jason Eldredge.

Miles with cousins Mallory, Avery, and Sophia (aren't her natural ringlets precious?)

Miles in his element

Little Cottonwood Creek Floods

The Little Cottonwood creek reached record highs this spring due to a cool, rainy May and a couple hot days in June. It flooded several houses and parks in Murray and took out a trail bridge in Little Cottonwood canyon. We spent Family Night checking out the raging, chocolatey water.

Imagine the "thunk, thunk, thunk" of huge granite boulders clonking into each other beneath the watery torrent above. I held Miles' hand very tightly while we walked along the trail.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

We're moving!

As you may know, we have been living in my mother's house with my sisters, Amber and Jeni. Three weeks ago my mom emailed us and said, "Clean up the house because I'm having a realtor come to take pictures tomorrow." She has been known to give sudden, dramatic announcements. Two weeks later, after a dozen showings (for each one I had to tidy up the house, collect myself and Miles, and leave the grounds for an hour), two buyers made offers, my mom accepted, and the deal will close April 27.

Now I have inserted the following into my already-busy daily routine: apartment hunting, throwing away old papers, packing, slating items for DI, and trying to talk Alvin out of saving the items slated for DI. Fortunately, as of yesterday, I can cross off apartment hunting from my list. We found a lovely 2-bedroom near Big Cottonwood Canyon. We're excited to move because we can ditch my sister's pets, Alvin's commute to work will be quick, we will be minutes away from hiking trailheads, and the Whole Foods store is within walking distance.

But what should I do with our big piano?

Saturday, March 27, 2010

This is what Miles does at Oma & Papa's house

Who taught him to rock out like this? It's a mystery.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Do I fit?

Miles likes to explore spaces, especially spaces that are about his size. When he climbs into a new place, like a yellow box or magazine rack or the shelf in our bed headboard, he examines how snugly his legs fit inside, then turns to his audience with a big "Look at me!" grin.