Sunday, September 28, 2008

Primary Program

Once a year in our Sacrament meeting, the children of our church congregation take over. They sing lots of songs and each recite a line to teach us. It is a highlight every year, not only because of the sweet purity of the children, but also because of the entertainment value. It can be highly entertaining.

For example, today, there was a group of about 5 children that were singing a special part, so they gathered around a microphone. One girl, about 4 years old, positioned the mic about a half inch away from her mouth. The adult leader gently moved it down, and the 4 year old shot her a look that could kill as she moved it right back to where it was before. Then the adult leader had a great idea - move the mic up as high as possible. The 4 year old looked exasperated as she reached on her tip-toes and again pulled the microphone down in front of her mouth. At this point, the song was beginning, and the congregation was in complete stitches, and the adult leader gave up. The 4 year old was finally placated.

In other news, I was called today as the new Primary chorister, which means I get to sing with the 3-12 year old kids every Sunday! I couldn't be happier. I'm thrilled! :)

Kindergarten is so rigorous these days!

Last Wednesday morning, I woke up and did the daily chore of trying to get the kids out of bed for school. When I got to Eli's room, he wasn't in bed. I got a little nervous. He wasn't anywhere in the back of the house, so I came into the kitchen, and here he was, at 7:00 am, and he'd already done all this:

He was so excited to tell me all about how the heart works. I asked him where he got all these words, and he replied "Oh, I'm being a Word Detective" and he would fill in the box of the words he came across as he read.

James, Dad, watch out, someday you might have a little Eli following in your footsteps!


Need an outdoor shower after your swim? Come on over!!

Lizzie and Audrey are ready for YOU!

Friday, September 26, 2008

A Word to the Wise- your bills might be fake.

Dear Adults in Households that Use Water and Receive Bills for Such:

Please note the following experience from our Home Bill Payer (Adam):

I noticed our water usage quadruple over the past three months. I fixed toilets and pool pumps and still couldn't stem the usage. I finally called the city and asked if they could send out a professional to help us find the source of the leak. It was then that they told me that the increased bills were simply due to the fact that they couldn't read my water meter because a bush had grown over it. They increased the bills to get our attention.

We, being responsible citizens who pay our bills, are annoyed that we've been paying fake bills with completely made up numbers all summer. High numbers. Like hundreds of extra dollars. And this was to get our attention. I would like the water company to know that a phone call is even more effective and not as expensive. So is a note on the door! Poor Adam wracked his brain for months trying to figure out how our family was going through 40,000 gallons of water in 30 days month after month.

We were not amused.

Needless to say, we found the water meter, gave them the new reading and they say they will credit back the overage charges.

I suppose we could consider this some kind of jacked savings and loan plan?

End of an Era

Lynn has been my faithful carpool companion for a year and a half, and now she is moving to a totally inconvenient carpool location!

Every Monday for almost 2 years, we've driven to choir together. Our carpool has lasted as others came and went, through two other moves, through the Navajo Oratorio, through job changes, and through Hot & Spicy Cheeze-its. On those long drives we've discussed everything from books to love to families to Red Pepper Hummus and Hot & Spicy Cheez-its.

I will miss our drives Lynn!! You've become a true friend.

Now go and get me some Hot & Spicy Cheez-its.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


As Adam put it on Sunday, Ivy's hair was reaching McPherson-status. I don't have that kind of time or patience, so it had to go.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Pictures from the Swim Portion of the Eggplant Dinner Party

Best Dives of the Night:
The Full Contact Belly Flop, perfected by Mara:
Second place goes to Kyle:
Swan Dive Award goes to Adam: (you're flying, honey!)
The Lizzie Special - a round-off into the pool

Ruben's a close second in the How Much Water can I Displace Out of the Pool Contest:
But Kyle won hands down in subcategories of both splash height and volume

Thanks for the pictures, Dibbles!

Indulge us - we have Yard Envy.

Because it's probably been several whole weeks since we bragged about our garden, I'm going to ask you all a question:

WHY do I feel the need to document every fruit or vegetable that we harvest from our little spot of earth and shout it out to the blogosphere? I'm feeling tacky about it before I've even done it, and yet I plan on doing it anyway! I take pictures of vegetables like they're going out of style; I make sure that the lighting is right and that our harvest looks its best - it's all like a grand ceremony and rite of passage for our produce.

I think it's because after all our Adam's work, it's so immensely satisfying to literally eat the fruits of our Adam's labors.

Or perhaps it has more to do with the fact that besides our vegetable garden, the rest of our spots of earth are barren rocky clay, and we don't have even a drip system in place to make our Sonoran Desert blossom as a rose. We're trying to make you forget all about our bleak front yard and dead palm trees in the backyard, and remember all about our few square feet of luscious garden. We have Yard Envy. We're insecure, so we brag about our eggplants.

Whatever the reason, here we have it again!

What do you do with a plethera of Eggplant and some juicy ripe watermelon?

Make Eggplant Parmesean, slice up the watermelon and have 30 people over to eat it with you! :)

Is this considered a garden party? Did we just have a Garden Party? Because I've always wanted to have a Garden Party. It sounds so pretty.

Belated Video

This is Lizzie practicing her speech to run for Student Council before school last week! Enjoy! :)

Friday, September 19, 2008

Couple of Book Reviews

March March by Geraldine Brooks

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
Beautifully written book about what the father of the March family was doing during "Little Women." Very eye-opening about the Civil War - I appreciated all the research that went into it. I loved how she threw a "rose-colored glasses" idealist into an impossible situation, how he finally came to grips with reality and learned to move on. I found his relationship with Grace believable - until the end. His emotional attachment to her seemed disingenuous to his character.

I liked the chapter that was from Marmee's point of view. So interesting to find out how differently they saw the same event!

View all my reviews.

The Lovely Bones The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

My review

rating: 2 of 5 stars
Too grisly and disturbing for me! So much sadness and depression. I found it hard to read because it's yet another book - kind of like The Memory Keeper's Daughter - in which the family seems to have no coping skills and just falls apart completely for decades in the face of tragedy. And it's also similar to The Memory Keeper's Daughter in that both families seemed to have no good friends or extended family to get them through the trials. I think that was a convenience for the authors to make their stories more depressing. But I think real life is very different and much more hopeful.

View all my reviews.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Birthday Package from Grandma P.

What fun to get a package!!! :)

Thank you thank you thank you!! Ivy loves her doll and high chair!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Ivy's Birthday Tea Party

Ivy is now THREE years old!

She's my daughter that is a little afraid of change, so when we started talking about her birthday that was coming up a few weeks ago, she would say, "No. I'm TWO. I not having a birday," like she was an adult turning some horribly old age or something!

But, like we all do, she finally came to grips with her station in life, and accepted the fact that she is aging.

We celebrated with a Family Birthday Dinner at home...

And a Tea Party with her new Tea Set with 5 little friends:

How blessed we are to have Ivy in our family!

Girls in White Dresses with Blue Satin Sashes

Actually, they're purple, and we'll have red sashes as well for the Christmas concert.

So, what do you think of our first finished Chandler Children's Choir Dress? I think they'll be beautiful!!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Nature Hike

We took the kids on a hike in South Mountain yesterday. Because it's cooled all the way down to 100 degrees. Without humidity, it's actually bearable! It's time to go outside again!

It turned out that our family hike yesterday coincided exactly with the Annual Juicy Yellow Caterpillars' Migration Across the Trail Convention. We hadn't gone 10 feet into our hike when Lizzie screamed. She'd almost stepped on a bright yellow, 4 inch larvae wriggling across her path. We studied it for a while, and then moved on, bragging to passersby that we'd found wildlife. It wasn't long till we saw another caterpillar, same color, almost as juicy. This time we looked in the brush on either side of the trail and realized that the whole mountainside was crawling with these things, and they all seemed to need to travel directly across our path to get to the southern side of the trail.

So we spent the rest of the time dodging wrigglers, counting the "spwished" ones (Ivy), and threatening whining children that complainers must slurp down the next live caterpillar we found.

Also spied on our hike: an eagle, a large lizard, an inch worm, a couple huge dragonflies, crickets and grasshoppers.

It's good to be outside again.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Hereinafter you'll see what I'm talkin' about.

The incorporation of the Chandler Children's Choir was published in a newspaper today as part of the requirements to become a business. (You can read the whole thing. If you're that kind of person. John.)

Actually, I should probably stop teasing John (hereinafter referred to as "Our Legal Hero") forever since he was integral in making this happen. Thank you SO much, Our Legal Hero!

I love the part where it says this:
The purposes for which the Corporation is formed include: (i) to promote the education of children in music through the formation of a children's choir; (ii) to promote the education of the general public through the choir's performance of musical works of high artistic quality.

I know it's a bunch of legal jargon, but it sends thrills down my spine! :)


Monday, September 8, 2008

It's our Bloggerversary!

1 year and 235 posts ago today, I started Stewartopia!

I must expound on why I love blogging. First, it gives me space to tell a story, and I love a good story! And better than a journal, I get to share it with friends and family and get instant feedback! Not to mention it's quick and easy way to keep a record of family events. And I can also keep tabs on said friends and family and it makes me feel like we're keeping in touch better. Oh, and did I mention - it's FREE! :)

So there you have it, folks. One year of happy blogging, with a testimonial to boot!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Vote for Frizzy...I mean Lizzie!

Well, I'm telling you, it has been quite the poster-making weekend for Lizzie. Not only is she the Student of the Week, but she also decided she wants to run for Student Council.

A poster and speech are required before the class votes on their two representatives.

Last week, Lizzie made up this funny cheer, and she decided she wanted to put it on her poster. It goes like this:

"My name is Lizzie

(clap, clap)

My hair's so Frizzy

(clap, clap)
I am so busy

(clap, clap)

It makes me Dizzy!

(Clap, clap!)

Let's keep Lizzie Frizzy, Busy, and Dizzy. Lizzie Stewart for Student Council"

Lizzie had the idea to take pictures of her jumping on the trampoline to make her hair look frizzy. Then we put four of them on her poster. Here's my favorite shot.

Good Luck, Lizzie!

UPDATE: Lizzie and her friend Nicolette were both voted in as class reps! Yeah!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Watch out, Phelps.

Today was the Evo Swim School Olympics!! I registered the kids several weeks ago, while the Beijing Olympics were happening. Eli said to me, completely stressed out, "Mom! I don't want to be in the Olympics!!!" I assured him that these weren't the real Olympics, and he felt much better.
Lizzie and Eli both got to compete in mini-races. The Kicking Race and Freestyle both went smoothly:

And then there was the totally fun Watermelon Race!
Notice Eli's oversized and upside-down goggles.

In the middle of his watermelon race, he had a Phelps Goggle Moment
Don't worry, he still beat the World Record for Watermelon Racing even with his defective goggles. That's because at home when we were training for this event, I would sometimes step on his goggles and then give them to him to race with. We were ready for anything.
And there's the thumbs up! It was a fingertip finish!

Thanks, Evo, for a totally fun afternoon!

The Lizzie Coat of Arms

Lizzie is the Star Student of the Week! She was chosen for demonstrating the Life Skill of Caring. She gets to have lunch with the Principal, show a special talent, and she got to make a Personal Coat of Arms! Here's her collage she put together of all the things she likes:
But, you know, Lizzie is our Star every week. :)