Thursday, December 11, 2008

'Member how Thanksgiving was two weeks ago?

This was my first ever Thanksgiving where I was the boss and it was fun! I sort of expected to ruin at least one thing, but everything turned out, so I was really THANKFUL. Thank you especially to Barbara for all your Thanksgiving tips, to Jonathan for making a dynamite pie crust, to Marita for making the delish gravy, rolls and 2 pies....okay, so I know it doesn't sound like I actually did anything at all, but I promise I did. :) I just had good help. That's what a good boss does, right? It was also great to have Mom and Dad Wright as well as Mandy come visit us. Caleb LOVED having all the attention.

That's a good looking family!

That's a good lookin' spread!

That's a good lookin' bird!

And a good lookin' chef!

Thanks for coming! We loved having family come to see us. It meant a lot that you'd cram yourselves into our tiny little apartment just to share some time together. Love you!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

More coming soon...

I just downloaded all the pictures from Thanksgiving to the present, so more fascinating, adorable posts are coming soon. Until then--Christmas cards and more pressing, so if you haven't already sent me your snail mail address, you're going to want to do that. I have comment moderation on my blog, so you can put it right into a comment and I'll not post it, or you can e-mail me...either way. Send in your addies soon so I can get you our card. Love ya!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Famous


Friday. Yikes. Friday, I woke up early so I could drop off Caleb and be in line at the Colosseum at Caesar's Palace by 7:30 to cash in on my standby tickets to see the Ellen DeGeneres show being filmed there on Friday afternoon. I was all ready to go. Dressed, looking cute---even did my hair people---BEFORE 7am!!! I had Caleb's things packed and ready to go, just needed to grab my wallet and move out. Wait, just gotta find my wallet. I know I had it yesterday. Let's see, where did I put that wallet? Is it in the car? Is it in my bags? FRANTIC. Is it in the dryer? The oven? Crisper? Under the bed? In the bathtub? When you have a toddler and something missing, that something can be ANYWHERE!!! But, after two hours of frantically searching and tearing up our apartment, the wallet was still very much missing and I did not know what to do. Keshia had been waiting in the standby line ALL MORNING (bless her) waiting for me to come so I could redeem the tickets...but if I didn't have an ID, I couldn't prove that I was the one who had ordered them. After about 2.5 hours of searching, something like 4 unanswered phone calls to Jonathan (he was working and had his phone off)and yes, a few tears, I finally decided that there was nothing I could do about the lost wallet, so I'd at least try to make the most of the rest of my day. Which meant I still needed ID to redeem my tickets. So, not having a driver's license, I started looking for my passport. I haven't needed my passport since our graduation cruise in May 2006, so it's been a while. A new search was on. I found Jonathan's passport, my international immunization record, money I had in China, a moneybelt...but no passport. Time was running out and I felt pretty defeated. Keshia called and said they were passing out tickets, so if I couldn't come right about NOW, she'd probably just better head home. But I still had no ID. Oh well. Life goes on. Just add on one more thing to this wretched day...but WAIT! Keshia called back about 5 minutes later with the news that her "schmoozer" mother-in-law had finnagled our tickets even without my ID, so, did I still want to come? Let's do it! Klisa drove so I wouldn't be illegal and we dropped off the Bug and headed to Caesar's Palace. We waited in line for about 4 more hours (nothing compared to the people who had been there since 3:30am) and were pretty sure we'd get tickets, but we had no idea we'd have some of the best in the house! We ended up sitting exactly in the center on the second row after the aisle. AMAZING seats! The energy was way up! Now, let me add a little explanation. I like Ellen's show. She's funny and she has a fun show and it's the first non-news, non-soap opera, non-judge show on all day. Since I don't watch the latter 2 at all, it's a nice change. I'm not a huge fan of her politics or her lifestyle, but as an entertainer, I think she does a good job. The show was a blast! They quizzed the audience on how to be an audience, practiced screaming and clapping, edited in activities that happened out of order, etc. etc. It was so much fun! The best was about 45 minutes after we entered the theater, we got to dance with Ellen and I am going to be FAMOUS! :) Ellen got RIGHT IN FRONT OF US when she was dancing, so believe it people, I am going to be on TV! Look for me in the purple shirt right behind Ellen about halfway through her dancing at the beginning of the show after the monologue. So fun! And then!!! Later when we were dancing during a commercial break, Ellen's little MC helper man threw me an Ellen shirt! I'll post pictures when I have time to take them and download them. So, it really turned my day around. I can't change the wallet, but at least I had a fun afternoon. Klisa drove us home (Caleb and me) and within a half hour I had a knock on the door. A neighbor I'd never met before HAD FOUND MY WALLET AND WANTED TO DELIVER IT TO ME PERSONALLY! This wallet had cash in it for groceries (quite a bit for Thanksgiving groceries) and every single item was exactly where I'd left them. I cried and hugged this beautiful person for returning my wallet. SO yes, there are good people left in the world. Without any other reason than because it was the right thing to do, this woman returned my wallet and saved me a lot of money, time, hassle and headache. Bless her. I have a lot to be thankful for!!!!!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

'Cause Wakin' Up is Hard to Do






Caleb puts off more heat than the sun at noonday when he sleeps. He woke up the other day from an apparently fitful nap. Note the size of his drool/sweat spot and the ensuing bedhead and chagrin....Poor little thing...

Belly Buttons


The Nature vs. Nurture Debate

Nature wins. Caleb is all boy. He is boy 100% through and through---from running so fast he trips himself up, biffs it and gets up smiling, to wanting to throw rocks and dig in the mud, to finally, loving buses and trucks with all his might. I did not teach Caleb to love trucks. I did not teach him to spot buses from a half mile away. This little boy KNOWS it is his boy-ly duty to LOVE buses and trucks! So, at the park the other day, Caleb's wildest dreams came true. A TRUCK drove into the parking lot PLAYING MUSIC! Can you imagine Caleb's delight that his two favorite things in all the world drove right into the park in which he was already playing? I didn't want the kid's head to explode by informing him that not only did this truck play music (Caleb's FAVORITE!!), but it also doles out ice cream and popsicles! Caleb had his first visit by the ice cream truck and he couldn't have been more thrilled about it. Get a load of his enthusiasm! Just wait until he figures out there's ice cream inside!

Note: His distraction in this video is explained by the fact that this park is located near a freeway and schools so he can see trucks and cars and the occasional school bus pass by. What more could a little boy want?

Finding happiness in ordinary things...

For those of you who are not aware, up until recently, on a very regular basis, walking up our street is a man whom Jonathan and I have simply dubbed, "the happy guy." I can't say that this name is necessarily descriptive of his nature and temperment, rather, he makes us happy every time we see him. I have no pictures of the happy guy, but he walks on the sidewalk down the street dribbling not one, but two basketballs---through his legs, behind his back, in different rhythms. Why does he does this? No idea. How long has he been doing this? Couldn't tell you, but thank you, happy guy, for bringing a little joy into the afternoon errand outings. And since I left you bare on pictures of the happy guy, here's our little guy (on halloween) who would make anyone happy. Imagine you can see the matching sideburns too.


Monday, October 27, 2008

Crossing Guards

Thank you, Brittany, for reminding me...

Every morning, Caleb and I go on some kind of walk. This is for exercise for me, but also so I can take Caleb some place a little more interesting than the 3x5 foot "patio" that also houses my bike and our BBQ. We'll have a backyard someday, but in the meantime, we go to parks. Anyway, in order to get around to our various locales, on some days we meet up to 4 school crossing guards. Two of these three I find particularly adorable. My favorite is the old man who packs in his own camping chair to hang out in while he's not helping youngsters safely cross. He has some kind of southern drawl accent and asks me, "Do you need help getting across, ma'am?" from said camping chair that is sitting in the shade probably a good 30 feet from the corner. I don't even mind so much the two in the middle who seem like they're not always sure what to say when I wish them a good morning. I don't blame them for this...they're used to kids who aren't always very polite. It's the last---and the closest to where we live that unreasonably gets under my skin. She also has a lawn chair, but is sprightly and hops up out of it while I'm still 20 feet from the curb. Now, let's also recall that I haven't been in elementary school in what? 13 years? I'm a full grown-up person with a kid of her own, yet somehow, this aged woman is supposed to have better reflexes in a car vs. pedestrian situation? Does she really believe that my garguantan red stroller is a little too subtle for your average mom driving kids to school and she must compensate with her neon yellow vest and hat? Is she afraid I'll forget to look both ways? Now, I know what you're thinking, "she's just doing her job. She's just trying to make sure everyone is safe". Well, the old timer in the other camping chair I completely adore. He's looking out for me, but doesn't expect that I am incapable of safely crossing the street. Is it wrong of me to be annoyed? I feel like a five-year-old. Maybe she feels like she shouldn't be getting paid without putting in her best effort. Maybe she's just trying to put in an honest day's work. So, my completely adult solution? I take the side roads and avoid the intersection altogether. :)

Friday, October 10, 2008

On a More Serious Note...

I am fairly confident that the only people reading our blog know how we feel about this topic, but if not, I never want it to be said of me that I didn't make my stand. "Marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and...the family is central to the Creator's plan for the eternal destiny of His children." --The Family: A Proclamation to the World

Right now, I'm wishing I could somehow still claim Californian citizenship so that I could vote YES on Prop 8.

There are many reasons why marriage between a man and a woman needs to be protected, some of which I will elaborate on, but the fundamental reason why marriage should be between a man and a woman only is because that is how God, our Eternal Father in Heaven, has defined it. Through His eternal plan of happiness, He makes everything in life possible--therefore--He sets the conditions. If there were no other reason to keep marriage between a man and a woman, this alone would be enough. The Lord spoke to Moses and asked Moses to pass the word along to all the children of Israel that, "Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination." (Leviticus 18:22). Likewise He said, "If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination..." (Leviticus 20:13). Our word today, sodomy, means "the homosexual proclivities of the men of the city in Gen 19:1-11. Copulation with a member of the same sex." (Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, 10th edition) It is the clear, then, the practices going on in Sodom, and the Lord's response to these actions is found in the book of Genesis 19:24-25,

"Then the Lord rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven;
And he overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground."

I don't mention this account to suggest these calamities are sure to befall us if we do not protect marriage. That is His decision to make. I offer this example to illustrate that at the very least, the Lord feels strongly about this topic and to honor Him, I want to do what I can to help uphold His laws. Some will say that because a person is born with inclinations toward homosexuality, they are justified in acting on it. Again, the Bible teaches us this is a false teaching: "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it" (1 Corinthians 10:13). The inclinations or temptations may be there, but temptation to sin never justifies the sin.

In my opinion, because it is the Lord's will that marriage is between a man and a woman is the most important reason why to protect marriage. However, other factors are applicable.

For a full exposition of the following, please see this link regarding the "End of Marriage in Scandinavia."

Scandinavian countries such as Norway, Denmark, Sweden, etc. have tried the gay marriage "experiment" and the results are alarming. These countries legalized gay marriage and accepted gay unions throughout the 1990's. In parallel fashion, each country's marriage rates have sharply declined. For instance, in Norway, out-of-wedlock births between 1990 and 2000 increased from 39%-50%. By 2004, 60% of first born children were born to unwed parents. The acceptance of gay marriage brought about the separation of marriage and parenthood. Essentially, it taught that individuals could be married without being parents. Therefore, they can also be parents without being married.

No-fault divorces, beginning in the 1970's, taught that marriage was for the purpose of happiness of the individual and not for the greater good and happiness of the family as a whole. It was taught that a happy divorce is better than an unhappy marriage, while statistically, this is not the case. "The research identified happy and unhappy spouses, culled from a national database. Of the unhappy partners who divorced, about half were happy five years later. But unhappy spouses who stuck it out often did better. About two-thirds were happy five years later." See USA Today article This selfishness in marriage skyrocketted divorce rates. In a homosexual marriage, the union is categorically about the happiness of the couple, not the success of the family because intrinsically, a biological family is not possible. Studies also show that children are happier and psychologically healthier when raised by both biological parents (an impossibility in homosexual couples)(Judith S. Wallerstein, "The Long-Term Effects of Divorce on Children: A Review," Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry 30, no. 3 (May 1991): 358-9). See Catholic site on marriage

Homosexual marriage is a big hit against marriage altogether. In those Scandinavian countries where it has been legal for 10-20 years, marriage rates are dropping. The rates of children born out-of-wedlock are on the rise. The disintegration of the family including trends toward individuality over family is climbing. It isn't about being fair or unfair to individuals, it's about being responsible to our children and protecting them from the crumbling effects of the disintegration oft he family.

In my opinion, wanting to protect marriage between a man and a woman has very little to do with homosexuals. There are some who would claim it is homophobia to deny this "right." It's not. Homosexuals, as all children of God, should be treated with love, gentleness and respect. Tolerating and even loving them as people does not mean condoning and embracing their behavior. Rather than "live and let live", we have a responsibility to family, to commitment, and to God to see that marriage is protected. Please, if you are able to vote in California, vote yes on Proposition 8 and protect marriage and family.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Drowsy Caleb

For any of you who know Caleb, you must know what an active little boy he is. This kid could beat the Energizer Bunny in a distance race, for sure. Well, recently I tried to convince him he needed a nap and he would have none of it, so instead, I figured he must just need a snack. This is the result:

Sorry about the shaky camera. I was laughing so hard I couldn't keep still!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Welcome to Exotic and Exciting PRIMM, NEVADA!

Doesn't this just say it all?
For our third anniversary, Jonathan and I left the little dude with Grandma Wright and went to action-packed Primm, NV. I know, I'm goofing on it, but we actually had a really great time. It was an excellent deal because we were expected to gamble and drink and spend all kinds of money on debauchery, but instead we had a lovely time on the roller coasters inside of
Buffalo Bill's,
shopping at the Primm factory outlets (J. Crew capris for $9!!),
going OUT to see a MOVIE (as in a theater...not pausing to feed/clean/
bathe or put Caleb to bed),
watching the Olympics, and
eating baked potatoes, rice pilaf, roast beef and
raviolis on the same plate for dinner at the Buffet.
We had a ball!

It kind of has that Riverboat look...like the gambling boat in the movie Maverick.

Glamor shots by Deb.


Jonathan's "I-am-a-Greek-Statue" pose

Jonathan's senior photo. :)
Becca's "I-won-a-millionaire-dollars-playing-penny-slots" shot

Three years and still in love...
After Primm, on our way to pick up the little Man, we went to the temple an endowment session and sealings. It was on our actual anniversary, so it was fun to see Jonathan's face in the "eternity mirrors" again. Three years ago, I knew from others telling me that I would love Jonathan more and more and more as the years went by, but I can say now from experience that I didn't hardly know what love was the day I got married. Jonathan is so forgiving, and he loves me even when I'm not too fond of myself. He has bunked in the hospital room with me when I had to stay overnight and he didn't. He has stayed up with me when I couldn't sleep. He has calmed my fears. He has understood me when I don't know what to say. He has prayed with me, cried with me, worked with me, served with me and most of all, laughed with me. He is my very best friend in the world. He knows me completely and loves me anyway. When he was in the hospital and things weren't looking too good, he lived for me and for our son. I am so thankful to Heavenly Father for blessing me with Jonathan. He is the answer to so many of my prayers. I've gotten sappy again, haven't I? :) Well, I just love him and three years hasn't been nearly enough!





Monday, August 25, 2008

It's tem-PE, not TEM-pe.

We started in Phoenix where we got to see my brother Paul and his wife Carly. Paul and Carly got married the same afternoon in the same temple sealing room that Jonathan and I were married. Paul and I have been siblings since he was a little over 2 and have been friends since an East coast trip just after I turned 13, so it was good to see them again. My parents were also out to visit Paul and Carly, so it was a mini little Southwestern reunion for a third of the Aylworth clan.

Let's begin with the car ride. Jonathan and I have discovered how to use Caleb's love of music to our advantage. Before we headed on a 5 hour one-way trip with Caleb we purchased 4 CD's totalling over 160 songs just for toddlers. Did you know there were so many little songs? Oh, I know all about sailors going to see, what you do with a "silly" sailor, monkeys jumpin' on the bed and many other little wonders. After all, 5 hours of toddler tunes beats the banshee shrieking right behind me anyday. So, off we go! Here is Mr. Joe Cool himself taking a break in Wickenburg...


The escape artist.

"Let me down, Dad!!"

Then, other than historic and glorious Arcosanti (please detect my sarcasm as all it really was was a hippie compound about 2 hours north of Phoenix), Skittles Bowling was my favorite family activity of the trip. I learned this little gem of an activity on, I'm pretty sure, my very first BYU date. Thank you, Chris Miller. The rules of skittles bowling are simple. For each color skittle you pre-determine the method of bowling assigned to it. In our case, if I drew a purple skittle, I needed to spin around 5 times before letting the 10 pounder fly. We gave purple this designation after my dear mother assured me that purple was the most rare of skittles colors. Statistically speaking, our bag of skittles was, therefore, an extreme outlier as about one in three skittles pulled was a purple. Needless to say, I with my iron stomach was the only one who did not feel queasy at the end of our interlude at the lanes, but we had a memorable, even if dizzy time.



This is Jonathan bowling backwards as required by his skittle choice.



And this is my Daddy. Bless him. He is a man of his word. He drew a skittle that indicated he needed to bowl with his eyes closed. Look how tightly *scrinched* his eyes are!



And this is my Mama sportin' excellent form.




I regret to inform that the rate of motion of Carly's hair precludes us from seeing her face...But it looks like she dropped the bowling ball on her foot...



This is my bro Paul going for the backwards "granny." A popular favorite in this Skittles Bowling event.I can't be certain, but this may be my victory dance with Caleb after bowling a strike...probably left handed. I have to agree with my cousin David in this matter... If it takes no training and if you can just go ahead and do it with your non-dominant hand, bowling really cannot qualify as a sport. I think I got a higher score skittles bowling than when I normally bowl.

The morning we left each one of us unwittingly put on the same shirt as everyone else. Curious. Quality bed-head, no?
Then we headed off to the splash park that Caleb LOVED. It was hard even getting pictures of him because he was running around so animatedly. It was just the right amount of wet to cool off without being unsafe for a toddler...except when mom steps in. Okay, now I'm already aware I'm the worst mom in the universe as a result of the following picture, so please, no hate comments in the blog. But since I have the picture, you might as well enjoy it...and know that brave Caleb is doing just fine.
Yup. This is exactly what it looks like. Jonathan took him to the top, and me, only thinking I could get a sweet action shot of the kid on this fun water slide, sort of forgot about catching the toddler on the way down. Well, I was right about the sweet action shot at least...and Caleb only skipped once or twice on spongy splash park floor.
He's not so sure about going down this time. I can't imagine why. :) I promise I put down the camera and caught him after this shot.

More trips coming soon...

Monday, August 18, 2008

Rockin' Out

For Caleb's birthday, Gramma and Grandpa Aylworth got him this rocking horse. He's really just starting to get big enough to use it. You can tell by the look on his face how he feels about it.



video

This video is only a few seconds long, but my favorite part is right at the end (our camera ran out of memory so it's kind of cut off). Look at our rodeo-in' little cowboy!

Messin' Around

So I've been feeling bad for Caleb having to be inside in the hot hot Vegas summers. He gets bored out of his mind and there are just only so many things I can think of him to do, so I get bored too. I went on a couple of websites to find some ideas and I came across finger painting. Realizing I was in for a real mess, I decided to get some good footage of the event. The site suggested that with young toddlers you should home make the finger paint out of pudding with some food coloring in it so that when (inevitably) the kid puts it into his mouth, it's okay because hey, it's just pudding. That worked for about a minute. Caleb happily finger painted with his one little finger and it looked a lot like this:

As you can see he already has a little green on his mouth, but most of it is on the page.
Then he tried it.
Again.
And again.
And again. And he wondered why would anyone waste this stuff on paper! Just put it right in your mouth!

That's when he decided to go straight for the mother lode. When I wouldn't let him just eat straight from the bowl, he responded something like this:

My favorite picture. The whininess is so evident. I decided after this to go big or go home and let him play with the pudding.

One happy little boy.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

SHARK REEF

We decided that it's a little embarrassing that we've lived in Vegas for over 2 years now and hardly done any Vegas-y things, so recently we did the "Big Shot" on the top of the Stratosphere and last weekend we took Caleb and went to the Shark Reef Aquarium at the Mandalay Bay Resort Casino. We were glad Caleb actually seemed to enjoy it because usually he's just unimpressed, but he seemed to like looking at the fish and sharks.
"Are you kidding me, Dad? This crown looks ridiculous!"
"MOM! Don't take pictures! Dad put this stupid crown on me!!"

Stupid crowns? Count us in.

This is a golden alligator...or crocodile...

Ladies and gentlemen...the Komodo Dragon. But he doesn't spew fire. He should be called, "The surprisingly large Komodo Lizard"


The weird thing about this fish is that it totally looked like your run-of-the-mill living room aquarium fish...only about 100 times bigger...
This guy was moving pretty fast so we didn't get the best shots of him. I think he was in a Shark version of the Indy 500 because he just kept circling the tank at top speeds.
Not as disconcerting as you might imagine a shark swimming directly over your head would be. Maybe it was the 8 inches of probably bullet proof glass in between us that made the difference...

Sharks showing off.

This one is funny because it's like, "This sweet suburban family had no idea what was awaiting them behind the coral as they paused in their day's festivities for photos."


Caleb actually seemed to care sometimes that there were things behind the glass. This might seem funny, but most of the time he is just as interested in the toilet plunger as the kitty who hangs out under the stairs in our building as the plant in the corner of our room. He seemed to pick up that this place was different.


They removed the stingers...so they say...and allowed us to touch the stingrays as long as we only touched them with one finger at a time. Imagine what a dolphin feels like---kinda rubbery/kinda slippery and you have a stingray. Except for that I touched this dude right on his spine and was sure he was going to get ticked off and lash at me like a giant scorpion...P.S...I'm a wuss.

Sea Turtles! They were trying to hide, but I got this one shot that I'm pretty sure it of two turtles. Sorry, Matt. Better luck next time.


Me and my buddy.