Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Thank You Thanksgiving

It's so fun to see the kids experiencing and learning about our holiday traditions. And with both grandmas living here and the Vancouver Mays in town, we had plenty of family fun time to engage in those traditions. During Thanksgiving prep night at Grandma Baker's house (an annual tradition of stuffing bread chopping), Emerson and Stella discovered The Lion King for the first time. Of course Emerson couldn't get enough of Scar and Stella tried to keep pace with her ferocious roars.
Our Thanksgiving was a gut-busting division between the Baker and May households, with excellent food at both. It's so nice to enjoy all of the traditional Thanksgiving food and Grandpa Baker's annual Thanksgiving program. We're so lucky to have so much family close by (and decent metabolisms that can cope with the culinary consequences).
Tad had his first days off work since our Disneyland trip last February, so we hit up all of the essential kid fun locations with the cousins: Hogle Zoo, the Aquarium, Temple Square Christmas lights, Trax trains, and randomly the Southtown Mall carousel. And despite the abundance of Thanksgiving food, we managed to squeeze in trips to most of our favorite restaurants as well. We hereby declare it a successful family visit! Thanks to all of our family, especially Ethan for being the ultimately patient older cousin and Uncle Tim for being the pied piper of children!
In non-holiday-related news, Tad tried his first felony case this past month. He acted as second chair, but was fortunate to both give the opening statement and examine two witnesses. It was a fairly complicated case due to the nature of the charges, so Tad felt a little nervous about the opening statement. As it turns out, he had no need to be; the jury returned a guilty verdict in only twenty minutes (less time than it takes to read the jury instructions). In addition, Tad has received compliments from multiple judges and fellow prosecutors on his performance and we feel truly blessed that he enjoys his job almost every day.
Stella continues to blossom. She has more of a risk-taking element to her personality than Emerson did at this stage (e.g. she sits on the stairs and leans forward to make us think she's about to fall). Her verbal skills truly amaze us; she can say Emerson's name perfectly, combine several words ("I want a hat") with ease and identify all major shapes. But the only shows she'll watch for more than ten seconds are Wallace and Gromit shows.
Emerson is such a gift to us. He and Tad are reading Harry Potter together and he's now counting down the days to Christmas. He totally idolizes his cousin, Ethan, and is enjoying learning more about numbers at home. His newest cute-ism comes each night when he insists on having Mom come in his room and repeatedly kiss and hug him until one of them cries for mercy.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Happy Halloween

How many opportunities did you have to go trick-or-treating when you were a kid? Sure, we had the parade and hubbub at school, but other than that there was just plain old neighborhood trick-or-treating. With how many fun Halloween events Emerson and Stella attended, I'm surprised their costumes are still in tact.

First, of course we carved pumpkins. It's so exciting that Emerson is old enough to really understand and participate in these little rituals. We even toasted pumpkin seeds, which he and Stella gobbled up like candy. But of course the favorite part was lighting the candles in the pumpkins.

Next, we attended Mom and Reed's ward party at the Durham Ranch. It's really become a fun family tradition and we're so impressed with the generosity of the Durham family who hosts it. Then we attended our ward's party, which was really fun. Families, the Primary, the Nursery, etc. take over rooms in the ward building, decorate them, and hand out candy and prizes to the kids as they trick-or-treat all over the building.

Then we actually braved Boo at the Zoo with our friends, the Schipaanboords. It was really fun and not nearly as crowded as the first time we went, thanks to Jamie's good sense in getting us to meet there early. The animals were active, the kids were excited, the company was exceptional, and a good time was had by all.

Emerson's preschool had a great Halloween shindig on the big day. Emerson paraded all around in his costume, collected obscene amounts of candy from preschool parents, and literally stuffed his face with tootsie rolls (for some reason this year's candy obsession -- who ever thought a human would cry when receiving a Snickers bar and discovering it was not a tootsie roll?). That afternoon, we trick-or-treated at Tad's office and once again the candy accumulation was obscene. Emerson's policy of eating the candy upon receipt made it difficult for him to express his heartfelt thanks to the generous people at Tad's office.

And last night, we again felt truly lucky to live in our neighborhood as we ventured out for the real trick-or-treating experience. There were so many people out and so many friendly faces at the doors on which we knocked. Tad and Emerson even went for extra treats after Stella and I headed home. Emerson preferred to say, "Happy Halloween" rather than "thank you," so we also hope that all of you had the fun Halloween season we did.