Greetings, all! We've had a very busy past few weeks, and I'm sorry that it's been so long since you've heard from us. I've been working some extra time at work because we're trying to finish up a project, and so we haven't been left with much extra time. On the up side, we should be done the project soon, so hopefully life will return to normal in a couple of weeks.
We haven't had much time to work on our home and gardens, but we have done a few cool things. One is to mulch the strawberries, which doesn't sound that exciting except that it was the coolest mulch ever - cocoa mulch! It's made from the hulls of cocoa shells, so it's a light mulch that's great for the soil, but the best part is that it really smells like chocolate - for a few days, every time the sun heated up the mulch, it smelled like there were brownies cooking in our back yard! The smell has abated some now, but it really was strong for a few days... I'm not sure if it was great or just odd, but it certainly was interesting!
The other thing is that our plums just came in, so we've had plums out the wazoo. It's the first time that we've had a really good harvest from one of our trees, so that's been really fun, although we have had some problems figuring out what to do with tons of plums. Mostly we've been eating them (or, rather, Jamie has been eating them since nobody else in the family will) and giving them away, although we did make plum ice cream last week. It was really pretty good, kind of like peach ice cream, only plumy. At any rate, it did use up some plums.
On July 18th, Steve and I celebrated our 6th wedding anniversary! To celebrate we went to a Bela Fleck and the Flecktones concert outdoors at Deer Valley. Bela Fleck is one of the world's best banjo players and he and the Flecktones play a kind of fusion/jazz and they played both alone and with the Utah Symphony. It was a phenomenal concert and a great anniversary celebration.
The boys have had some big weeks lately. Ben got his sixth tooth on July 19th, so now he has four teeth on the top and two on the bottom. He has two new words - banana and juice - and is turning into quite the communicator. Yesterday I was carrying Ben into Sam's room to grab a juice cup and Ben pointed down to the floor and said "uh-oh" and then when I picked up the cup he said "juice". I guess that it doesn't sound like much, but it was really a cool conversation.
Ben has also learned two fun skills. One is that, following in his brother's footsteps, he has learned to use the doggie door. Now we never know where we'll find Ben - one minute, he's downstairs, and the next he's gone out of the doggie door and is playing in the sandbox. Ben's other new thing is pretending to eat with great gusto. We'll offer him something to eat and if he's not feeling hungry but is feeling playful, he'll pretend to take a big bite with a snarfy sound and then we all collapse into giggles. It's a pretty fun game.
As for Sam, his big new thing is that last week and this, he is taking swim lessons! He's learning lots of thing, like scooping the chocolate (that's what he's demonstrating in the photo) and being Superman and lots of other very oddly named pre-swimming techniques. The goal of the class is to teach him to swim five yards unassisted. We're not sure if he'll actually pass or not, but the important part is that he's enjoying the class and learning some good skills at the same time. We'll let you know how it all turns out!
We've had some interesting linguistic experiences with Sam lately. Last weekend, we were driving up to to Salt Lake to go to the drive in and we told Sam that we were going to the movie theater. I'm not sure what Sam was thinking about, but he replied, "we're going to the rabbit feeder?" Movie theater, rabbit feeder, whatever.
Sam's other new thing is using "certainly" whenever he is answering questions. For example, we'll ask Sam if he'd like some cheese and he'll think for a second with his finger on his chin and then say, "yes, certainly yes" or "certainly no, Mom". It's quite entertaining.
We finally got our Roomba vacuum back from Roomba repair (yes, it was a crazy long time), so we've been Roombaing a lot lately. The other day, Steve and I were sitting outside enjoying the evening while Roomba did some vacuuming and Sam decided that we needed to vacuum the patio, too. So, he brought out these little Sesame Street bumper cars that Ben got for his birthday, turned them on, and called them his "Little Roomba". It really made a lot of sense, I mean both of them roll around and bounce off objects in there way, the only difference is that one actually cleans and the other has Elmo riding a bumper car!
I guess that's about it for now. Hope that August is looking good for you guys!
Steve, Jamie, Sam, and Ben
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