Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day

We had a picnic today to enjoy the beautiful weather and the time off. Pete's parents were out of town over this weekend so we came to house/dog sit. Since they live in the land of houses (not rowhomes) with grass and trees and yards (shocking, I know) we had some of the people from our ward come out to enjoy the outdoors with us.

Jacques and little Marshall play-- Marshall thought Jacques was pretty dang funny.

Charlton was loving the fudge pop-- it kinda put him in a trance.

The guys got into a pretty hardcore game of Bocce ball. Intense. I know.

I also wanted to take the time to say thank you for all those who should be remembered today. The meaning of Memorial Day gets lost somewhere along the way, as we pull out our barbeques and lawn furniture, we forget that we are celebrating this great country, and the people who sacrificed their lives so that we can spend our days barbeque-ing relatively carefree. So thank you to the friends and families who gave up loved ones so that I can live in this great country.

As cheesy as it might sound, I really am proud to be an American, and I am proud of the Americans who serve their country. I also know that things here are not perfect, but I am grateful that people gave their lives so that we might pursue perfection.


My little sister Katie came in second in the Maryland State Track and Field Meet last week. The meet was in Baltimore, so Caleb and I made the two hour drive down to see Katie-- she did a great job!

The best part though, was seeing how everyone around Katie seemed to have the same great opinion of her. I sat next to the parents of a girl who was also competing in pole vault. Since their daughter went to a high school near Katie's, they were familiar with her and had followed her throughout her seasons (Katie just started vaulting in her junior year). The first thing they said to me is what a great girl Katie is and how their daughter, who was a sophmore, really looked up to her. I personally think Katie is the most fabulous thing on Earth (ask Pete) but it was nice to see how other people, even those competing with her, saw what an incredible person she is.

And that's just the way Katie operates. When she didn't clear the last height, she looked a little sad (maybe more than a little). I would have just sat on the mat and cried. But not Katie. Katie graciously went over to the other girl to congratulate her on her first place finish. She was totally bummed that she didn't make the height she was hoping for-- but that's what makes her so heroic to me-- Katie is absolutely, completely human. She gets mad, angry, sad, excited, you name it, she feels it. But she rises above it. She's still kind and considerate and genuinely happy for you, even if it means she's missing out on something. Katie has figured out how to be happy for other people, even if she can't be happy for herself.

We're happy for you, Katie. I'm so proud of all she has accomplished. She's going to graduate here in a few days, with HIGHER than a 4.0 GPA. She placed first in the state in indoor track and just finished second for outdoor track-- and that's after starting half way through high school. I could go on and on and on about Katie-- I really am so proud of her.

But I guess that's how you feel about your best friend.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

You Might Want to Sit Down Before Reading This

I don't exactly have a reputation for being, well, home-maker-ish. My reputation in the kitchen is even worse-- if that's possible. In fact, I can clearly remember the day that my father explained how condensed soup worked. I was shocked and amazed- a whole new world was opened to me. I was in middle school before I realized, well was told, that brownies from scratch did not come from a box.

So pretty much anything I put together for dinner is an accomplishment. Pete makes fun of me because my chemistry side comes out in the kitchen quite often. I get very stressed out if I cannot follow the recipe exactly. I measure my ingredients to the bottom of the meniscus level. I am not capable of improvisation.

Have I set the stage for you?

When I do manage to cook a meal, it usually comes from a recipe blog. I love them-- they are the best! I'm addicted to blogs, and recipe blogs amaze me-- I can't believe anyone can actually know that much about cooking. Anyway. One of my favorite recipe blogs is called Simply Recipes. The woman who writes the articles talks about when her family ate this or that while growing up and it just makes the whole cooking experience much more delightful.

Anyway, to wrap up this very long story-- I finally had the courage to post a comment on her blog under her recipe for Banana Nut Muffins. I mentioned how I love to use her blog and then I told her how I always put my nuts in the food processor before adding them to muffins or brownies or such. I like the taste of nuts in things, but I don't like the texture-- so if I grind up the nuts before adding them, I get the best of both worlds. Now here comes the shocker. She replied to my post! And said that it was a great idea.

Now this may not seem like it is worth all the hype I have given it, but it totally is. I'm the one calling my parents to ask them every little question as I am cooking a meal. But here I was-- giving advice to a food blogger. And she liked it. Dang. It feels good :)

Monday, May 19, 2008

And the Winner Is...

Caleb! He's been such a great kid these past few days. I've been out of commission since Saturday as I have not been feeling well. Caleb has been fabulous and has totally put up with my slacker parenting. To make matters worse, it looks like I shared with Pete and now he is feeling under the weather too. So now no one in the house has been feeling up to playing with baby. He's been absolutely fine to just snuggle on the couch as I take nap after nap, all day long. What a great kid :)

PS... thanks to Martha who made us dinner! It was fabulous and just what I needed. You're wonderful.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Baby Pictures

Here are some pictures I had taken of Caleb well over two months ago. I tried posting them before, but it didn't work at the time and here we are, two months later and I am just getting around to putting them up.

The photographer is so very talented and we are going to have her do a family session this summer when Pete is out of school. To check out more of the photographer's work, CLICK HERE.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Here Comes the Bride

Pete's sister Amanda (yeah, the original Amanda Knickerbocker) decided to go ahead and get married this weekend. Her husband, Soren, is fabulous, so we couldn't say that much to talk her out of it.

It rained the day of their wedding (isn't that supposed to be good luck?) so I was inside the temple with Caleb during the pictures, so I only have a few from there. The rest are from the reception, which was Saturday at Pete's parent's place.

The Knickerbockers with the newly pronounced Harwards at the DC Temple.

These are from the reception (it was so pretty!)

And Pete and I were able to get a few family pictures ourselves. Here is Hiram's attempt at photography:And here are Makayla and Caleb, having some cousin bonding time:

Despite the rain on Friday, it turned out to be a beautiful wedding and reception. We love Soren and are so excited that he's officially joined the group. There's no turning back now...

Thursday, May 8, 2008


Pete has a new theory. He's decided that he's not gaining weight. What is actually happening is beyond his control. He has determined that his brain simply cannot hold all the information he has learned this year in medical school, so his body has evolved and is now storing it in his belly.

I wish I had an excuse like that.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008


I have a friend here in Philly-- well, she's kinda here in Philly, more on that later-- who is an absolute gem. Martha has been flying back and forth to Utah each week so that she could finish her masters program at The University of Utah. Her husband James, is in Pete's class-- so with his class schedule, her class schedule AND her flying, they don't get much time.

Add all this to the fact that Martha is currently recovering from heart surgery. Nothing too serious, she had atrial fibrillation (an abnormal heart rhythm) and had surgery on Monday to have it fixed. So needless to say, she has had quite the year. And on top of it all-- she's so darn nice! I would be miserable if I had to fly twice a week across the country, but she does it with so much grace.

She FINALLY graduated this past week, so she will fly back from Utah (her doctors were all in Utah so that's where she had the surgery) next Tuesday to really start living here.

I just wanted to take a moment to say how proud I am of her for finishing her degree and putting up with the inconvenience so that she could follow a dream of hers. She makes me want to work harder as I pursue my own dreams.

We wish you the best Martha as you start to heal. Enjoy those pain meds! :)

Monday, May 5, 2008

Day at the Park

Here are some pictures from our day at the park:

Marlee was "selling" food to the other kids at the playground. She recommended chocolate ice cream.
Jordan was way too cute today. I love his dimples!

Charlton was all about the slide. And the dirt.

Tayeson didn't need anyone to enjoy the see-saw.

Lori told us this morning that boys were "noises covered in dirt." (Here's Elliott running away from one of the other boys)

Sunday, May 4, 2008

The Monster


Let me explain.

Pete has (well, had) flexon glasses. These glasses are supposed to bend instead of break. Apparently Caleb was not part of their test group. As Pete was changing Caleb's diaper this morning, he reached up, grabbed Daddy's glasses and next thing we know they are now in two pieces.

Good thing Pete went to the eye doctor a week or two ago. Next time we'll look for "monster-proof" glasses.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Droks Rock

Emerson is quoted as saying, "A friend is a person with whom I may be sincere. Before him I may think aloud." I just wanted to take a minute to say how wonderful good friends are. One of my friends from high school, Katrina, has made a great effort to stay in touch with me as our lives take us in different directions. And even when it has been months since we talked, I always feel completely at home with her. Which is interesting, because Katrina and I are complete opposites. She is stylish and always put together-- I'm usually wearing sweat pants. She's starting chiropractic school in the fall-- I'm taking care of my newborn. But I can always laugh with her-- from the time she came up to me in ninth grade and said, "Hey, we should be friends" to internet conversations where inside jokes are created ("droks" is a long standing inside joke) to this very afternoon, some seven years after we met, walking around the mall. As we spent today shopping and catching up, I thought about how wonderful it is to have someone like Katrina-- someone with whom I can be completely at ease, as Emerson also said, "It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them."

I've laughed with Katrina, I've cried with her. I've been mad at her and she's been mad at me, but ultimately in the end, we are still able to walk around the mall talking, just like we did when we were freshmen in high school. And as life takes us in even more different directions, I know that I'll always have a friend in her.