Before we get ahead of ourselves and move on to Easter, I think that it's important that we pause for a rousing chorus of Happy Birthday to Me! That's right, Jamie Morningstar turned 25 yesterday. It's pretty amazing to think back on the blessings that we've been given in the past 25 years, and I'm sure excited to see what God has in store for the next quarter-century!
So you're probably wondering: "how does one celebrate their quarter-century of life?" Steve planned a fabulous birthday celebration on Sunday before the weekly game of church volleyball along with another couple from church who's wife's birthday happens to be the day before mine (wait, it gets weirder - her name is Jamie, too, and we are both 1979ers). The guys made kahlua pig and teriyaki chicken and we had a really fun picnic/luau with a bunch of friends. That Steve is sure a great guy. Then today some friends took me out to lunch at our local Greek restaurant (it's been a multicultural birthday) and we went to Cold Stone for birthday ice cream last night (thanks, Sarah!). Rest assured, I've eaten well this birthday.
And what does one receive for their 25th birthday? Well, I got a chest freezer to store our garden's bounty in and the new 1964 Bob Dylan bootleg album and a banjo strap and a new sweater and a Birkenstock shoe care kit! It may not be the most glamorous array of gifts... but they fit my style just fine.
So now we're all getting ready for Easter, as you can tell by Baby Ben's photo. Actually, we leave soon for our annual Easter trip to Escalante (Southern Utah) with the Knappenbergers, so we're busy with camping (and Sunshine) preparations. Nothing better than camping in the desert for Easter! It makes the egg hunt easier on the kids since there's no where to hide them. Sand isn't exactly filled with tricky egg spots.
We had what may prove to be a seminal childhood experience for Sam on Thursday - we went to the zoo for the first time! We've been working crazy hours at work trying to get the latest release out and as a special surprise we were given Thursday and Friday off - hooray! We thought about going camping, but since we're going next week, we decided to do things around town instead. So, on Thursday we headed up to Salt Lake to the Hogle Zoo.
We had such a blast hanging out at the zoo, even though the weather in the morning was a little iffy. Ben was happy under my raincoat and Sam was wearing his trusty St. Mary's hoodie, so we all did fine. The highlight was the aviary where we got to feed the birds with suet stuck to popsicle sticks. It was quite the thrill to have the birds landing on our hands and shoulders and Sam had lots of fun trying to touch the birds and watching them fly away. Sam's favorite animals (besides the birds) were the tortoises and the meerkats (or doggies, as he called them) and the camels (don't ask me why, but they were utterly fascinating) and the monkeys, but the exhibit that took the cake was the reptile house - Sam adored the snakes! We had so much fun just being together and visiting the animals. It was a really special time.
On our way home we stopped at Intermountain Guitar and Banjo, the store where Steve got my banjo, for some bluegrass supplies (my birthday strap and a new thumb pick). Man is that a cool store - I think that the average banjo price was like $1500! Needless to say, I spent the whole time hovering around Sam making sure that he touched nothing. The funny thing is that when we got home and asked him what he did today, his first response every time was "we went to the banjo store." It wasn't the elephants or the rhinos or the giraffes that made an impression, it was the banjos. Kids sure are odd.
On Friday we went to the Museum of Ancient Life, otherwise known as the Dinosaur Museum. The dinos were fun, as always, but the really cool part was the art exhibit they were featuring: "Poetic Kinetics". It was an exhibit by two local artists who design moving, interactive sculptures - kind of like Rube Goldberg devices (or like Mousetrap the board game). The boys spent literally hours watching the gears and marbles and tubes move around, although I will confess that I think Steve's enthusiasm for the exhibit trumped either of the little boys'.
Ben has started to be really playful, which has been a lot of fun for the whole family. He loves peek-a-boo now, and will initiate the game by hiding behind blankets or clothes and giggling. Sam enjoys playing with him, and it's all fun and games until Sam throws a blanket over Ben's head and then tackles him. Oh well, I think it's an instance of boys will be boys, and as long as they both emerge with two eyes and no broken bones, no harm has been done. I'm beginning to think that violence is how brothers bond. Yesterday evening, Sam dropped a book on Ben's head and they both came out of the experience laughing. Good thing Sam is into small picture books and not Harry Potter or else we would have had a concussion on our hands. Boys are sure weird.
Oh, and Sam has come up with another toddlerism in addition to last week's "Sam box" instead of sandbox - a construction site is now a "truck in site". You have to admit that it makes sense. Sam has also become obsessed with Xs and Ts. He sees them everywhere and loves making them with sticks or utensils or his arms. Oh well, I guess that having 8% of the alphabet mastered is better than nothing. That was unfair, he recognizes around 2/3 of the alphabet, but X and T are the clear favorites. He is also counting to 12 now consistently, which I think it pretty cool.
Have a really great Easter, and thanks for all of the birthday cards and greetings!
Steve, Jamie, Sam, and Ben
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