Sunday, June 27, 2010

Milestones XXVII

On June 24, Justin turned THREE YEARS OLD! Incredible.

I don't even know what to say. Justin Alexander is three. 20% of the way to being 15. As joyous as this occasion is, sometimes I find it hard to feel anything besides robbed. They grow up so quickly. A constant reminder of why every single second that we get to spend with our kids should be cherished like it's the last. Because in some sense it is. He'll never be 2 again. And everyday (sometimes every hour) brings forth a "first" for him (and us) that cannot be undone, duplicated, or relived in it's full splendor.

At first, I thought that as he got "older" his milestones (first steps, first words, etc.) would start to be less frequent. It only seemed logical. But what I have learned is that quite the opposite actually happens are your children grow up. As they learn to interact with the world around them, these things we call milestones (i.e., revelations in understanding, achievement, and ability to express themselves) simply become too numerous to document. My guess is that watching your children grow is somewhat like God's ability to watch an oak tree grow from a seed: all the while being acutely aware of every single branch, leaf, and blossom that the tree experiences in its lifetime. While the number may seem infinite in nature, a proud parent celebrates each one with fireworks. And somehow it never gets old. I can easily say that to diligently watch and be an instrumental part in the unfolding of someone else's life has been the highlight of my 35 years. And if Justin is my oak tree, I suppose Jasmine is our rose garden.

And while we'll never back the time that has already passed us by, what we can do is thank God that we have made the absolute most of every precious moment that we were given. We captured as much of it on film (both mental and digital) as we could; and are constantly reminded that we are fortunate to gave such great kids and the great opportunity to spend as much time with them as we do.

Happy Birthday, Justin. We love you tremendously, and can't wait to see what yet another year will unfold. Here's to my oak tree.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

The Geek Squad

Who said research couldn't be fun?! This summer I certainly have my plate full with respect to the number or research projects I've got my hand in. As I've done for 3 of the past 4 years, I have about 3 weeks carved out to teach a math program that helps K - 12 teachers become better instructors. The difference this year is that the content is different than every other year, which means a lot more preparation on my part. Add to this an 8-week research mentoring program that I've committed to, and a research project of my own that must be completed in the same time span; and summer suddenly doesn't feel like summer anymore.

But with all of that said, on Thursday I got a chance to involve the entire family in a little bit of research; and it definitely made for a good time. My research student is studying the water absorbency properties of different fabrics (wool and cotton)... And instead of just taking cotton samples from our Fruit Of The Looms, I thought: How cool would it be to get our samples from living, breathing animals? So off we went to the Fuzzy Farm!

48 Miniature Llamas. 2 Alpacas. And a one-year-old that fears nothing. Jasmine found the largest llama on the property and chased it around like she was going to take it down for dinner. My student bagged up her wool samples. We all got educated on some really cuddly animals (not to mention we got to eat eggs that were laid just a few HOURS earlier... and store-bought eggs suddenly taste years old). And most importantly, we added one more tab to our growing book of family memoirs. In short, we had a really good time (the kids are both ready to move to a farm) and the kicker is, I got to call it "work". I guess it's not a bad summer after all.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Jazzy Stones XVI

Gimme Five
With 2 bottom choppers and 3 top ones on the way, Jasmine Olivia's tooth count is now up to five. Somebody pass the Motrin.

Friday, June 11, 2010

FT/8 Heading Home

Who would've thought that a last minute trip to Orlando with so little planning could be so much fun. This level of spontaneity was definitely a first for these two over-analytical OCD Mathematicians, but we can safely say that we all had a great time. I think that the break away from the norm did plenty to restore (at least a portion of) our sanity. As for the return trip home, we couldn't find a nice souvenir... so we brought back 1/3 of the A.T.V. crew (just the A) that spent the summer with us 4 years ago (wow how time flies). Our house is no Florida resort, but hopefully we can still show her to a good time. Anyway, thanks again to everyone who helped us pull it off (from the in-laws who played host, to the neighbors who mowed the lawn in our absence). And now... back to our regularly scheduled programming.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

FT/7 The Wrap Up

Florida Trip / Day 7: Kathy's Birthday, Sand Art, and More Pool Fun

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

FT/6 Typhoon Lagoon

Florida Trip / Day 6: Disney Water Park Fun

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

FT/5 Fun & Games

Florida Trip / Day 5: Breakfast Buffet & a Dance Floor for 2

Monday, June 7, 2010

FT/4 Mouse Ears

Florida Trip / Day 4: Downtown Disney & Return to the Kid Zone

Sunday, June 6, 2010

FT/3 The Resort

Florida Trip / Day 3: Making Pancakes & Making Waves