Friday, May 30, 2014


I'm not quite sure why, but it was more difficult and took more paperwork to get my 5-year-old into kindergarten than it took me to get into college. Sheesh, and I'm not joking. But he's in--thank heavens friends, he's in. He was on the wait list and then he was not, and after spending an hour yesterday in the office filling out so dang many papers and giving them every piece of ID I own he is officially a student. He just couldn't get over the awesomeness of it all, and I couldn't get over how big he looks standing outside his new school. Or maybe how small he looks--I can't decide!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Memorial Day

We continued our Memorial Day Celebration on Monday by heading to Staten Island to tour the rest of the Navy ships docked for Fleet Week. Once James found out that he'd be able to step foot on the USS Cole he was sold. This Destroyer was bombed in Yemen in October 2000 and is considered one of the precursors for September 11th and the war on terrorism. We felt honored to be there and tour this ship which boasts such rich history and a spirit of determination.

There were some BIG guns on this Destroyer. The one pictured right above shoots 70 pound bullets--which is basically my boys put together (plus some). There are also 90 missiles aboard the craft and a whole lot of other weapons, including the 50 caliber machine gun that has been used since WWII (because as our tour leader said, we don't mess with perfection!) I was again reminded how grateful I am for our military.

It was one of those days where my boys just loved the heck out of each other and were the best of friends. I LOVE those kind of days. My favorite conversation was when Everett said he was going to be in the Navy someday and asked T if he'd join as well. Unfortunately for Ev, Talmage said, "No, sorry. I can't join the Navy because I'm going to work at Trader Joe's when I grow up so I can organize things!" It was hilarious! Eventually Ever told us he'd have to talk to Uncle Chase about going with him, which sounded like a very sensible plan. I didn't have the heart to tell Ever that the Navy won't accept people with heart disease such as his. Blah for the lameness of that disease.

The boys were star-struck with all of the sailors, especially once they got sailor hats of their own. They wanted to look like Pepa and I'm pretty sure they made all of our military family proud! Even with the ship tours, the Veterans BBQ, dancing to live music and eating ice cream, the best part of the day was running into the Moncur family on the Staten Island Ferry on our way home. I LOVE seeing old friends, especially randomly in this big old city!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Fleet Week and Jones Beach Airshow

It's Fleet Week here in NYC, and a city swarming with sailors makes things feel so much like a little southern town: so many restaurants offering free meals for military, so many "yes ma'am's" from those uniformed friends, and so many times that I almost snuck one of those nice-mannered young bucks back home to teach my boys some manners. I could get used to "yes ma'am" around here!

We tried to get in as much Fleet Week goodness as we could, including eating lunch on the pier of the Intrepid Aircraft Carrier and touring a Navy Destroyer and U.S. Coast Guard Ship. I knew my boys would like it, but I guess I didn't realize that they would LOVE it. Over and over again Talmage would say, "Mom, this really is the best day of my whole life! Thank you so much!" And if that wasn't enough to put a tear in my eye, the ship was full of sweet Veterans who marveled at the interest my boys had in everything and kept saying, "That is why we did what we did. It was for them." Yep--and then the tears were of the waterfall persuasion. James and I both have a rich military lineage and I love spending Memorial Day weekend thinking of them and all others who have served our country, and teaching my boys about their sacrifices for our freedom. In fact, Everett marched right up to a Navy Captain (of his own doing, might I add) outside of Trader Joe's and said, "Thank you fo pwotecting ouw countwy!" Memorial Day weekend for the win!

 No doubt one of their favorite parts was holding all of the huge guns on display. The ones above are fake, but most of them were real--and HUGE. I have to admit, we're not a super "play with guns" family so when my babies were picking up 30 pound sniper rifles I got just a tad bit nervous. But they were in heaven and it was educational--I hope!

Everyone was so nice. I'm pretty convinced that they only let the nicest sailors be spokesmen on the ship (locking the others away in the mess hall presumably) and they let us touch everything. And you better believe I was right there with them climbing on huge tanks and trucks and having a blast.

No big deal--just Talmage climbing on top of a tank. And smiling bigger than ever!

My boys playing the ultimate game of dress-up (with me behind the camera shocked that they could keep those heavy helmets on their heads!)

While on the flight deck we were introduced to this gorgeous lady--a 3-month-old Osprey. It's a helicopter-airplane fusion that is just remarkable. They let us sit inside and buckle up (too bad they didn't take us for a spin) and the crazy fun thing is that we saw one of these flying at the Airshow the next day.

The next day (Saturday) we went to the Jones Beach Airshow. We almost didn't make the two-hour trek (walk, subway, railroad, bus, walk) because it was storming all night and James was a little under the weather, but we decided to just do it and I'm certainly glad we did.

It was a gorgeous day at the beach. Soft winds and sunshine created the perfect beachy atmosphere and we left feeling sun-kissed but certainly not burned (with the exception of Chase's nose that is!) This picture is most definitely my favorite of the week. I'm glad my boys can rest on the shoulders of these great men!

The Golden Knight parachute team and the Osprey, just waving hi to us onlookers at the beach.

Why hello Ever Knight, make yourself at home! By all means, hug your DD, suck your thumb and watch those airplanes with your cool shades on.

My sweet baby boy and the American flag celebrating Memorial Day. With a killer airshow. On the beach no less. Life is good.

And then there was this one time when Uncle Chase turned Talmage into a merman. That lasted at least five seconds!

It seems almost ungrateful to pick a favorite, but come on, the Blue Angels were performing, how could they not top the chart? I felt like I was watching Top Gun in person and I was giddier than can be (and also ridiculously scared when one snuck up behind us). Airplane pictures can never do anything justice, but gosh it was amazing! SUPER amazing. Overall it was a fabulous day!

So...I'm trying to soften the blow of this sad airport departure picture by adding this picture of Chase stuffing his face with a Carnegie Deli pastrami sandwich. For the record, he loved the sandwich. And also for the record, I bawled like a baby watching him walk through security and out of my view. So...let's focus on him loving the sandwich...and hope he comes back to visit soon!

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Uncle Chase hits the Big Apple

My baby brother just got home from his mission and we were lucky enough to steal him away to NYC for a whole week! I can't even begin to describe how much my boys love this Uncle Chase of theirs, or how amazed I was by his patience with their constant wants and needs for his attention. They hung on him all week long, and I mean literally HUNG on him! We filled every last second of his time here and went adventuring all over the city {hopefully he wasn't expecting a restful visit because he definitely didn't get one!} One thing's for sure, we had a blast and I know these memories will live forever in the beautiful minds of his adoring nephews.

Before I do an annoying little travelog of our week (except the weekend--I'll do that in a different post) I want to remember some of the very most special parts of our visit. All the fun was fun, you know, but what I was more impressed with were the moments I caught my baby brother teaching my babies about Jesus and the gospel and about so many other righteous things. Like in church when Talmage and Chase were passing notes back and forth and I later caught a peak of their note which went something like this:

Chase: Do you know why we take the sacrament?
T: Because He died for our sins.
Chase: So who should we think about?
T: Jesus. He loves us.

And have mercy, my heart was full, especially when I saw them continue their conversation through reverent whispers. Then there was Monday night when we were home late so I told the boys to grab their scriptures for a condensed Family Home Evening...but then Chase offered to teach us all a lesson for FHE and wow, my boys were enthralled with everything he said. Days later they were still talking about Uncle Chase's lesson on baptism. He read them scriptures, he taught them hand signs for the 10 commandments, he told them funny stories from his mission and generally, he was just an awesome example of a good man. I don't have any pictures of these moments, but I always want to remember how great they were. He's a good guy in so many ways, that Uncle Chase. I am so proud of my baby brother!

And now, onto the travelog:

 The Natural History Museum and Shake Shack. The most memorable moment of dinner was when Chase squeezed his portabella burger and the cheese squirted ALL OVER James! It was hilarious!

 This was pretty much how our nights were spent...oh the joys of an itty bitty apartment! Yes, that is all three of us cuddled up on our bed together ;) Chase had his own bed for sleeping, but we shared a bed for nightly movies!

 Passionfruit bubble drinks in Chinatown, Rice to Riches rice pudding in SoHo. We also had lunch with James at our favorite Chinese dive and it tasted just like Taiwan. Chase loved the Chinese food, but I'd be shocked if he ever ordered another bubble tea of his own free will ;)

 We took the Staten Island Ferry and as always we were in love with the view of our city and the beautiful Statue of Liberty. Unfortunately the most memorable part of this trip was Ever's epic fit on the subway down to South Ferry. He screamed and shrieked and made a massive scene for a good 20 minutes, and poor Chase not only had to witness it but had to help me control him. Gosh Ev, you and three better get along better than you and two have!

 Three gentleman and a lady.

 Gray's Papaya for hot dogs and juice (pina colada for me, papaya for Chase, grape for the boys). Oh yeah, and those are Chase's new coral pants and I'm rather obsessed with them! No wonder he kept getting hit on in the streets of New York!
 Uncle Chase and Ever Knight making faces for the camera.

 Chase shopping at the Times Square H&M. He got new swim trunks and those awesome coral pants, and looking at this picture he should've bought that hat too--how great does he look!

 Chocolate exhibit at the David Zwirner Gallery in Chelsea. Not only could we eat endless amounts of Columbian chocolate, but we also had a meaningful and interesting discussion about the definition of art. Like those flats covered in boxes of chocolate above that are sold for $50,000 (but become worthless if any of the plastic rips), do you think that's really art?

 And a couple of subway shots for good measure! Next up: our Memorial Day celebrations.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

My little yogi

There we were, finishing up our rainy playgroup at the church, when out of the corner of his eye Everett caught sight of some women laying out their mats for a good yoga session. Hooked, I tell ya. That Everett took one look at the whole ordeal and he started begging me to let him stretch along. Luckily someone had an extra mat, so he sat with the ladies and I fully expected him to give this yoga-thing a good five minutes before starting to rough-house with some of the other little boys on the sidelines. But 50 minutes later, I was still watching that little yogi of mine follow all the directions with as much precision as a two-year-old can muster. I was snapping pictures and whispering praise and sometimes, when the "tricks" were really tricky, he'd say, "Mom, come help me wif dis one." It was just almost too much for this mama's heart.

 Yes, this is totally real and ridiculously adorable.

Sorry friends for posting a picture of your rears, but seriously, how adorable is that little Ever stretching along with the ladies? About halfway through the workout he said, "Mom, I can do my yoga much better wif no pants on." Clearly!