Monday, July 30, 2007

Baby Biter Bates

Bennett: Hey Bates, I thought I told you to stay away from this side of the complex. This is my turf, bro.  
Vessel: Oh really, why don't you come say that to my face!

Bennett: How's this for your face?  If you're looking for trouble, you've just found it, bro.  
Vessel: Hey, I'm not your "bro."

Bennett: Whoa, nice grill, bro. Ha ha, are those real? 
Vessel: Why don't you come a little closer and find out for yourself.

Bennett: #$@&*!
 Vessel: That will teach you to put your dirty little fingers in my mouth. This is my turf now, "bro."

Okay, so this is Vessel and our apartment manager's son, Bennett. Don't worry, I'm sure they're friends in real life. But, maybe after the little stunt Vessel pulled, Bennett will be hesitant in pursuing a long term relationship. What do you do if your kid bites someone else's kid? Do you just apologize profusely or do you laugh like I did when you see the other kid's face? I suppose it's too early to teach Vessel that biting other people is a big NO-NO. He'll outgrow it, right? Plus, it's not like Ves asked for Bennett to get up close and personal with his jaws. I feel for Bennett though. There are times I'm just minding my own business and Ves will crawl over and bite my toe with all of his might. I scream with intense pain and have half a mind to bite him back. But whaddayagonnado? It'll end when he stops teething....or at least I hope so.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Muchas Gracias!

Thanks for the delish tacos and entertaining conversation last night. You make a mean bowl of pico de gallo too. Props, props.  You know who you are...

Mom's Thoughts

     Before our son was born, Mike and I agreed that we wanted to keep a record of his life, (as well as a record for all future children) until his adulthood... Something unique we could give him when he turns 18 or perhaps when he gets married. We have been writing in a special journal for him since his earthly arrival, which contains his birth stats, details of his developmental progress, his general nature, milestones he’s reached, my birth experience with him, and our thoughts on being his parents. We plan to write about each stage of his life, his ups and downs, our observations, our thoughts on raising him, our experiences together as a family, and other important details. It will be interesting to see what kinds of things we write about during his teenage years. But anyway, we think it will be an invaluable gift to him as he reads back on his life through our eyes.

     I find myself wanting to tell him so much when I write in his journal.  I say to myself, "he needs to know how much I love being his mom.  He needs to know how loved he is by us."  I write my hopes for him and how I want for him to be happy in his life.  I write how I enjoy watching him grow into a little boy.  This time is going by so fast. I just want to hold on to it forever. V is almost 9 months old now and I wonder what ever happened to the baby I used to have.  But I think this is my favorite time so far.

     These days he crawls all over the house following me from room to room. He gets into just about everything, which means I have to pay special attention to the things I leave laying around. He recently discovered the Kleenex box that sits on the end table, and had a hay-day pulling out each tissue one by one before putting them into his mouth. He pulls himself up into a standing position every chance he gets. He holds onto my fingers and we take tiny steps until we’ve lapped the entire apartment at least twice. He just wants to GO GO GO. His favorite thing right now is to climb up on our scanner. It sits on the bedroom floor about knee high to him, the perfect height for him to pull himself onto his feet. Then he makes his way to the computer tower. Then he reaches out to hold onto the computer desk chair, but it swivels you see, so it sweeps him in one fast movement until he loses his balance and bonks his little head. It breaks my heart to see him get hurt, but I realize it’s unavoidable and all apart of growing up. And luckily he takes it fairly well when he falls, or pinches his finger in the lid of my cosmetics case, or when he gets stuck under the armoire during his exploration.

     Ves started cutting teeth 2 months ago. The first one poked its way through his bottom gums. I thought for sure the next would appear on the bottom right next to the first. But instead, his second tooth was one of the top “vampire” teeth. The third came in the front on the opposite side of the “vampire” tooth. His teeth have appeared randomly in no particular order at all.  He had a pretty funky looking grill for a couple of weeks.  But now he’s got teeth popping up all over, filling in the empty spaces. They look like tiny pearls buried in a slice of seedless, pink watermelon.  No more gummy smile! Some people have asked me if I’m going to stop nursing now, but nursing, ironically, gives him the most comfort during this painful teething period.  Luckily he’s not a biter.

     There are so many things I love about Ves.  If I’m sitting on the sofa, he crawls over to me and rubs his head against my leg like he’s a cat.  I love it when he’s so exhausted from playing that he just climbs into my lap and rests his head against my shoulder. I love the soft, blonde hairs on the back of his head that extend in all directions after he wakes up.  It’s the cutest baby bed head of all time.

     About a month ago I taught V how to jump off the bed into my arms.  He thinks it’s the greatest game and laughs and holds his eyes shut tight as he pushes his body off the edge for me to catch him. I love the way he giggles. Sometimes he laughs without even being provoked, and I sit there wondering what he finds so amusing.  Either way, hearing his laugh is a great way to make me smile.

     In the morning Mike brings Ves into our bed before going to work (that is, if he isn’t already there from being brought in during the middle of the night.) He’s always in a great mood in the mornings and makes it known that it’s time for us to get up and play with him.  He touches my face, grabs my nose and puts his fingers in my mouth and ears. He crawls up on my belly and I usually wake up after a few minutes of his incessant “mmbah mmbah, mmbah, mmbah, bah bah bah.”  As tired as I am in the mornings, it’s hard to ignore his cute baby talk.

     Whenever we go out, people we don’t even know come up to us and exclaim "what a beautiful kid you have!" Even children in our complex will yell “hi Vessel!” as we leave the apartment or come up and say how adorable he his.  He seems to like being around other children.  At church a few weeks ago we set him beside Sophie and they somehow started holding hands.  Mike and I, along with Sophie’s mom Helen, laughed so hard as we watched them interact with each other.

     I really love watching Vessel and Mike together too.  Mike is a great daddy and I can tell Vessel wants to be around him a lot.  One morning Mike was talking to Vessel and then told him “goodbye” and that he’d see him again after work. Vessel followed him to the door on hands and knees, and when Mike left, Vessel just sat there by the door waiting for him to come back in. It was awfully sweet, but kind of heartbreaking for Mike.

     We love being parents and it just keeps getting better and better. I hope that the journal we’re keeping for V let's him know how happy we are that he is our son. I never want him to doubt how loved he is and has been since the very beginning.

A cute picture of Vessel playing with his reflection in the mirror.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

My Boys

I caught Mike and V crashed on the couch following an afternoon of playing. Is this not the cutest father-son photo ever?

Good-bye Bobby :(

As most of you know, I'm a huge fan of Bob Barker and the Price is Right. Yesterday while in the car I heard over the radio that Drew Carey will be taking his place as host of the longest running game show in television history. Drew is no Bob Barker, am I right? I'm just hoping that CBS will at least update the Price is Right set because the neon colored, 70's sparkly, sequine covered decor needs to die with Bob.

Monday, July 23, 2007


This week's song picks are some of my favorites from the sweet 80's. Loved that era of music.

Working For the Weekend---Loverboy 1981
True---Spandau Ballet 1983
Relax---Frankie Goes to Hollywood 1983
Abracadabra---Steve Miller Band 1983
Tenderness---General Public 1984
Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go---Wham 1984
Hello Again---The Cars 1984
Head Over Heels---Tears for Fears 1985
Don’t You Forget About Me---Simple Minds 1985
Dead Man’s Party---Oingo Boingo 1985
Notorious---Duran Duran 1986

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Mike Hits the Big 2-5

     So, this post is a bit late, but as Steph says "you'll have that." Last Friday the 13th was Mike's 25th birthday. He's pretty much a geezer now. So for his birthday, V and I surprised him with a treasure hunt in the morning before he headed off to work. We stayed up the night before writing clues to put all around the house to help him locate his presents. We got him an electric wok (that's right folks, he seriously wanted a wok, how could I deny him?), the game RISK 2210 A.D., and a few books he "hinted" that he wanted. 

     While he was at work I made him a black forest cake and bought his favorite ice cream: mint chocolate chip. After he got off work I had already arranged for a babysitter (which he had no idea about) and I took him to Boondocks. Well, unfortunately that place was.....a little on the crowded side, so we ended up bailing. We went out to dinner instead. Being Mike's birthday and all, he got to pick the restaurant. You guys all familiar with Famous Dave's? Well, it was our first time there, but Mike was really in the mood for BBQ. There was a big mounted moose head on the wall right next to us. Charming, right? We couldn't stop staring at it. They served our meal on the lid of a trash can. I'm not going to lie, it was pretty classy. It was actually fun and nice to get out without the baby for awhile. 

      Later that night I invited Shanna and Scott over for cake and ice cream. They sang Mike a birthday song and gave him some pretty interesting gifts. Let's see....Nintendo mints, candy bacon, a Mallow Burger, Mallow Fries with Kandy Ketchup, and a "grow your own Buddha." I think overall, Mike was pretty impressed. Hope you had a wonderful birthday babe!!

Bacon anyone?

Eat Up!

Mike looking pretty much excited

Mike reading the birthday card we made him

Vessel wanted to help open Daddy's gifts

Mike looking pretty tired

Saturday, July 14, 2007


It's pretty sad when you have more condiments in your fridge than actual food. One day, when we do buy food, we'll have toppings, dressings, marinades, sauces, syrups, and spices covered.

Fire Ball

This picture was taken from our moving car as we headed up to Idaho. The camera was incapable of doing this beautiful sunset justice. But it still looks kind of cool.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Western Investment Shindig

On Monday we had dinner with all of the office members and their families to celebrate Amy's wedding and Xin's trip back to China. It was a great time, that's for sure. There was only one other kid besides The Ves, so he didn't have anyone to play with, but at least he got passed around. Bruce even put him on his head, so that's a plus, ne?

Friday, July 6, 2007


Luscious Jackson
Fever In Fever Out

          This album is a reminder to me how good 90's music really was/is. I love the funky, sexy rhythms on this album. I think its one of those you can just chill out to. If any of you love just being able to put in a CD for cool background music when company comes over or when you're hosting a party, this is a nice album to have on hand. If you are anything like me, you will enjoy every track. 

4th of July

Vessel was too tuckered out from the days events to watch the fireworks. :( But there will always be next year.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Rock Climbing

For the 4th of July, our friends Casey and Helen took us rock climbing up Little Cottonwood Canyon. It was the second time we went with them. The first time we climbed a route called "The Glass Ocean" because it appears to be vast as the ocean and smooth as glass. The quartzite rock is an almost all vertical climb with little to no foot or finger holds. (I'm sure our avid climber friends would disagree. They can make a finger hold out of anything!) The Glass Ocean happened to be Mike's first outdoor rock climbing experience. The route we climbed this time was named "Daddy Long Legs." A granite slab with less of an incline and a shorter climbing distance. The canyon was beautiful as we hiked up to the base of the rock. Vessel loved getting out and playing in the dirt, not to mention seeing his "girlfriend" Sophie, who is Casey and Helen's 5 month old daughter. Thanks for the wonderful time Casey and Helen!

New Baby

We have a new nephew! James Anthony Ciaravino (named after his father) was born on July 3, 2007. He weighed 8 lbs. 5 oz. and measured 20 inches long. He's a beautiful baby with lots of dark hair. Congratulations Jim and Kathy!
Shortly after delivery

Mom and Dad Bates are on a roll in the grandchildren department!
Joseph Isaiah

Vessel Noah

Willow Naomi

Sunday, July 1, 2007

The Best Sammich

Turkey, feta cheese, avocado, baby spinach leaves, and a touch of mayo all on a stale, day old, chewy "everything" bagel. So scrump-dittily that I had to post it.


     The lesson I taught in my Young Women class a few weeks ago was concerning “Keeping Family History Records.” There are various ways to do this. There are the common pedigree charts and family group records to fill out as a means of mapping out your genealogy. Family history can be in the form of video or audio tapes. I remember my great-grandma Jessie told her life story on a cassette tape. What made that so wonderful was just being able to hear her sweet voice as she spoke of her life events. With all the technology available to us these days, there are several unique ways to keep records of individuals to pass down to future generations. Scrapbooks can be a type of family history as well. Among my mother’s things I have found numerous photographs of my ancestors that I am now putting into a scrapbook. These black and white snapshots are invaluable to me.  Another way to comprise a family history record is by keeping a journal. I’ve had the opportunity of reading about some of my great-great-great grandparents and it is incredibly interesting to me.  

     Not too long ago I pulled out all of my old journals (approximately 22 thick notebooks written from front to back) dating back to 1994. I had to laugh at some of my entries because I was so meticulous with details when I was younger. Some entries discussed the very mundane of issues, from what the weather was like that day to what I ate for dinner. Sometimes I even wrote down exact quotes: She said, “…..” and I said, “…..” As I got older my entries became more serious and heartfelt. Writing has always been very therapeutic for me. My journals have been, and still are, my escape or my emotional outlet; a place to vent and to express the most intimate thoughts in my head. Nobody (except a choice few) has ever read them. They are very personal to me as I discuss some things I’d rather not share with the rest of the world. This is where my moral dilemma comes into play. How can I expect my journals to be a family history record if I don’t want my posterity to read them? Am I being stupid or selfish? These are MY words and MY thoughts and they’re some of the few things I can claim as my own and nobody else’s.  

     This week I have been typing up the first journal I ever composed, for a couple of reasons. One is because several of the entries were written in pencil and are nearly faded by now. So I am typing it up in an attempt to preserve it. (Unfortunately I am not able to preserve what my handwriting looked like at the time, but I suppose it’s less important than the actual material inside.) Secondly, I am typing it so that I can cut out things that I consider worthless. As I read I can’t help but want to edit several remarks. I have regrets regarding certain things I’ve written, especially about others. Of course, when I wrote those things, it was how I felt at the time. So is it fair to “delete” it just because I don’t feel that way anymore? Sad to think that I spent so much time writing about people who hurt me. There are several things within the pages of my journals that I don’t want to remember or that I don’t wish for my posterity to read. When I started keeping a journal, it was purely for my benefit alone and I never considered that my children or grandchildren might read it's contents someday. Now I’m a mother and realize that it could very easily happen unless I get rid of them. I guess I just don’t want my children to see me as the person I was then, but as who I am today. I’m a different person now. But, I guess I wouldn’t be who I am today without my past. So, is it right for me to edit words or even entire entries because I don’t agree with certain things anymore? If I “erase” all the harrowing incidents of my life, I suppose it’s not really painting an accurate picture of who I am. 

     Now, after that lesson I taught, I’m striving to write good things in my journal. Uplifting moments or events that inspire me or people and things that make me feel happy. Those are the things I really want to remember. Maybe I should have a “negative” journal that I can write in when I’m angry or frustrated and just need to get some aggression out, and then I can burn it when it’s full. Because, like I said, it feels so good to get things out of me and onto paper during times like that. This way I won't harbor my feelings, yet I won't have to burden others with my ranting. Nobody wants to hear that, right? I just want to be more positive when I write. I don’t want it to be “fake” or full of happy little ideas that aren’t exactly “me.” But I want my descendants to read about the GOOD things, the important things, my spiritual experiences and my appropriate thoughts and feelings. Yes, I have written about these types of things in the past too, but those are all intermingled with negative entries as well. When I read back, my history is laden with words, phrases, ideas, and events that are somewhat dark and callous. I’d rather just remember the positive…so, as of now I don’t know what to do with all of my journals for sure. Should I go through and edit them all or leave them as they are?