Tag Archives: Joseph

The Man in the Ditch

Ice on the windshield

On our way down the hill to swim lessons one morning, we watched a car skid off the road. The streets were slick with autumn rain and the driver of the SUV veered right into a ditch. I felt I had to stop and help since I saw it happen directly in front of me so I pulled over to see if anyone was hurt. Colin and I had traded vehicles that day so Maddie, Jake, and Joey were all sitting side-by-side in the backseat of his grey Camry waiting patiently for me to return.

I walked up to the car and knocked gently on the window to ask if the driver was alright. Yes, he said, he was fine. His ego was bruised more than anything else. The ditch was fairly deep so that the driver’s side was almost perpendicular to the ground. There was no getting out that side. No doubt about it, he was going to need a tow truck. I told him I would call the police and ask for their assistance. They informed me that they’d send a tow truck to pull him out. The driver seemed to really appreciate the time I took to lend him a hand. I wished him luck and the kids and I drove off to class.

Jake and Joey asked endlessly if the tow truck had come to rescue the man in the ditch. By the time we finished at the pool and headed back up the hill he was already gone. They were thrilled to see that help had arrived and could not wait to tell Dad about their adventure.

That night at bedtime Colin posed his usual question to the little boys about what he should sing to them as he tucked them in for the evening. “Wonderful World” and “Row, Row, Row Your Boat or Semi-truck or Monkey or [fill in the blank]” are always a hit, but this night they had a different topic in mind.

“Sing about how the man went into the ditch!” Jake and Joe exclaimed.

Colin did not hesitate even for one second. He launched into the first of many impromptu renditions on this theme.

Camp songs, folk, pop, and indie versions, Mexican baladas, dubstep, all performed with fervor and aplomb. The boys ask for it every night and every night he delivers.

They all have the same basic lyrics. Rhyming is optional. Try making one up yourself using this easy formula:

There was a man who slid off the road. He went off into the ditch. We stopped in the gray car to help him. I asked if he was okay. He wasn’t hurt. The tow truck came and pulled him out of the ditch. He was fine.

The other night Colin rattled off a list of song styles from which the boys could pick. You guessed it. They chose opera. Look out, Plácido Domingo!

And on this Christmas day, I got to live out a dream come true. I sang an operatic duet with Colin. I must admit, we were quite good until I got to laughing so hard that I cut out on my soprano part.

I hope they continue to ask him every night for “The Ditch Song.” Colin is up for the challenge. Only please don’t request the country western version. You’ve gotta draw the line somewhere.

Wii Golf Pros

Jared and Laura graciously let us borrow their Wii gaming system when I came home from visiting them. Having it “on loan only” has been a great way for us to play without committing to video games becoming a part of our lives.

However, that doesn’t mean our kids haven’t flocked to this particular entertainment medium like white on rice.

Jake's turn

In fact they can’t get enough. Especially Maddie. Almost every day she asks if she can play Golf.

Maddie's turn

But before you agree that practicing virtually is okay because it prepares you for real life play, think again. Maddie has her own flair for the sport. Not only does she have a backhand serve suited more to tennis but her main goal in playing is to have her golf ball land in the sand trap. As in she aims for it. Or the water. Whenever her ball falls in she yells, “kerSPLOOSH!” If the ball reaches her intended destination she shrieks with joy, ” I DID IT!” We are, of course, quite proud of her accomplishments, blazing new paths in the world of golf. She also enjoys coaching, if you’re interested.

Maddie coaches Joey

Jake and Joey don’t have the same drive (ba dum bum) to reach any goals, in particular, but they sure love to play. They are (mostly) really good at waiting and taking turns. It’s easier since they know to wait until they see their little avatars, one dressed in blue (Jake) and the other green (Joe).

Jake's avatar

Good old video games. A colossal waste of time that never gets old.

I foresee many tears when our loaner system heads back to its original owners.

Monster Hunters

While I was gone on my trip to Boston, and Colin was left to fend for himself with four little squirrely kids, he decided to distract them with creative play. Necessity is the mother of invention, they say, and the need to placate active little bodies led to the creation of a new game: Monster Hunters. Little hunters seek out the terrible, ferocious Daddy Monster, wherever he may be hiding. Here are the rules, in case you want to play:

1. Seekers find a safe “base” and count to 10 while the “monster” hides in a distant location.

Safe at the base

2. Brave seekers venture out slowly to hunt the monster, sometimes in packs, sometimes solo.

Brave seekers

Monster Hunter - Page 003

3. Once the monster is located he barges out of hiding and chases down the little seekers as they squeal in delight terror.

Monster Hunter - Page 004 Monster Hunter - Page 005 Monster chases

4. Repeat the process about 20 times over.

Being Renny

Being Nenny

One day, the boys decided to climb into Warren’s bed, slip under the covers, and declare that they are Renny. Nenny, as the pronounce it.

We tucked them in as they giggled and proceeded to ask them about their day… Did they have fun at school? Did they ride their bicycle? Did they go play in the forest? All activities Big Brother Nenny does every day.

It’s adorable to hear them shout, “I be Nenny! I be Nenny!” as they make themselves comfortable. Even Maddie gets into the act sometimes.

Maddie pretends to sleep

I have to admit, if they’re going to emulate any big kid, I’m glad it’s their wonderful oldest brother.

Silly Renny

Indoor Activities

I know I vowed to stay current on this blog, so please ignore the fact that I have yet to post about Christmas, Colin’s birthday, or Valentine’s Day.

Instead, I give you images of my kids. I hope that makes up for the 3 month loss.

Warren has been on mid-winter break this week. And despite the amazingly mild season, with more sunny days, and less precipitation than I feared, today was cold, wet, and dreary. So what better time than now to try some Pinterest ideas for indoor play?

Behold the “Ninja training course” that lasted all of about 2 minutes once Jake and Joe came upstairs.

Spy training

Warren designed and taped it up using string he then recycled into a number of different macabre props.


Then I thought I’d take advantage of the great light that (thankfully) comes through even on cloudy days and take some portrait shots. But for every sweet (albeit blurry) picture I’d get…



I’d get about twenty more like this…




At least they were having fun.


All Hallow’s Eve

Captured Moments by Crystal

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays of the year. You can tell by my past posts that I love any excuse to decorate and dress up in something creative.

Life might be hectic right now and we may be in transition, but that didn’t stop us from celebrating right. We put out our favorite decorations:

Played our spooky music playlist:

Everything from “The Nightmare Before Christmas” to several “Harry Potter Soundtrack” pieces from the various movies to a true gem that I found called “Classical Music from the Dark” (49 songs for $2.39 and all without words, as not to get too burned out since we listened to them all day long, over and over again). “Turn on the Halloween songs, please!” was the first thing out of Maddie’s mouth each morning. The kids could not get enough of Thriller, which you can see here, if you want to invest the time:

Little Zombies Dance to Thriller from Jeannie @ Live. Laugh. Learn on Vimeo.

We carved pumpkins picked at a local farm (though my heart ached for our Avila Valley Barn and sunny weather):

No real candles to place inside this year since they’re packed away in some box somewhere between our bedroom and the rented storage unit.

And, of course, there were the costumes:

There is no way we could top the two-headed monster costume Jake and Joey wore last year, but we gave it a shot. Jake was a UPS delivery guy and Joey his little package.

We upped the ante by creating a UPS truck that Colin and I were both supposed to wear but couldn’t because someone had to shepherd the boys around. I ended up being the lone “driver” for the evening. Colin conceived of, designed, and created the truck himself. It turned out even better than the picture shows. Nice work, Colin!

Warren and Maddie had their own gigs as an army guy and Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz, respectively. They’ve never been on board with the family theme idea. All costumes were well-received.

We attended our church’s Trunk or Treat, with games and plenty of treats inside the cultural hall, and trick or treating out in the pouring rain among the cars. Warren went for it, Colin manned our car’s trunk, but I chickened out with the Maddie, Jake, and Joe. I kept them indoors and tried to convince them that eating the two mini chocolates they got before I herded them back inside was the height of the experience. I’m sure I’ll get used to events being soggy but this year was too soon.

On the actual Halloween day we took it easy since a) it was still raining hard and b) the kids were wiped out from returning home so late the night before. We went to the city-sponsored indoor trick or treating event at the town hall. Did they get as much loot as they would have hitting the streets? Probably not. But we were done in an hour and completely dry so don’t judge.

It was another great year of fun traditions. I love this silly, pointless holiday.

Happy Halloween, everyone! Enjoy pilfering your child(ren)’s candy!

Jake & Joey are Two!

Joey & Jake on the go

Jake (pictured in dark blue) and Joey (in light blue) turned two this September. This is the only picture I could find from the day where they were both (almost) looking forward and smiling and not completely blurry. They are on the go. Two two-year-olds! Wow. These boys are busy but also the most darling, funny, cuddly little guys you’ll ever meet.

We had a quiet celebration at Pine Lake Park, one of the most beautiful lakes in the area. Grilled salmon with honey-lime marinade, watermelon, salad, chips, and cake. Simple and delicious.

Train birthday cake

The cake makes me laugh. It’s certainly not anything to write home about as far as looks go. This is supposed to be a train going around green hills. I was going for ease since we were still unpacking and we already had the cake molds, but adding all the candies made the assembly kind of time consuming. The kids seemed to like it, so I’ll call it a success.

Jake’s current favorites include: brushing his teeth, singing songs, spotting the Seattle temple from the freeway, making sound effects, bananas, dancing, playing with toy cars, pears, saying “Mo!” instead of the “No!” (the “n” sound eludes him), trucks, and pretending all baskets and larger containers are boats to sit in. He is determined and stubborn but also quick to charm and flash a smile.

Joey’s current favorites include: soccer balls or bouncy balls, or any balls for that matter, brushing his teeth, singing, bananas, dancing, dribbling soccer balls, pears, shutting doors, jumping (especially in bed), spotting the temple, also saying “Mo!”, frozen peas, playing Legos, and the garbage truck. He loves to be silly and is always willing to help.

Both boys are sweet and mellow, despite their extreme curiosity and penchant for adventure. They are buddies and enjoy making each other laugh. Only recently have they started tussling over toys, “bear-cubbing” as my friend Kaitlin used to call it. But mostly, they are delightful and we love watching them change and grow into big boys.

Joe and Jake, we love you so much! How blessed we are to have TWO little boys at the same time.

Mischief Managed

When Jake and Joe came to our family, people gasped at the idea of caring for two babies at the same time. TWINS! They could hardly comprehend how I could manage. Strangers would stop us on the street to say how darling they were but, oh my, how difficult it must be. I’d smile and say it was fine. And it was. Having two babies, though admittedly extra work, is not that hard.

Twin toddlers, on the other hand, is an entirely different story.

At 21 months and fully mobile, they get into absolutely, completely, and totally everything. Let me repeat that, in case I wasn’t clear: E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G! There are not enough font manipulations to emphasize this message. Blinking lights could not express how widespread their mischief can be. With rabid curiosity and little fear, there is not much stopping them. Ain’t no mountain high enough to keep these boys from getting to anything.

If you leave them alone for 30 seconds they can: grab the cup you left on the dining table, and dump its remaining contents… take the pencil from the table top and begin drawing on the wall… yank the entire plastic container of apples from Costco down from the counter… pull out close to 20 cds and open their cases… run halfway down the driveway… dig through the garbage can and eat it’s contents… Sometimes, they can do them all, one right after the other! No cord, electronic device, candle (unlit, of course), or exposed food is safe.

This is in stark contrast to my older two. Warren, most likely because he was the first, was as cautious as you could get. We didn’t even put child locks on the cabinets since he never explored them. Even Maddie’s curiosity and sneakiness has been no match for the two J’s.

They are working me.

I have no doubt they are in cahoots. And why not since they have a built-in buddy to encourage and assist the other. Perfect partners in crime. Besides recent examples during my showers, I have photographic evidence of this fact.

Pirate Booty all over the floor after pulling the (not so empty) bag out of the garbage can.

Climbing on the dining table.

Climbing on the coffee table.

Climbing on the LEGO table.

Digging in the potting soil. (Thanks for capturing this one, Tami.)

Trying to climb out of their high chairs.

And the most frightening of all, learning to turn the doorknob.

But we’ve made some adjustments to try and curb their destruction. Turning the coffee table upside down. Putting the buckles on their high chairs. Sealing off the kitchen with baby gates. Extra child doorknob covers on the front and garage doors.

That should hold them for about a week…

It’s a good thing they are so adorable and so easygoing in every other way.


What I Found When I Came Out of the Shower No. 4

The Conga? The Love Train?

Whatever you call it, it was cute and safe and non-destructive.

Note: Though not staged, this is false advertising since Colin was home at the time (he’s the photographer here) and no actual risk was involved in me hopping in the shower.

What I Found When I Came Out of the Shower No. 3

Jake and Joey are into everything these days. EVERYTHING. But I still need to shower before noon so I have to take the risk. All dangerous things locked up, I feel it’s mostly safe to hop in as quickly as possible (which is a big deal for this gal who loves to take long showers).

This morning the boys took the entire contents of the bottom drawer

and put them all in the sink.

If only they were able to reverse this process with the dishes completely clean.