Monday, December 29, 2008

Debbie's Birthday Bash Turned Ball Fight...

My birthday party this year turned into a giant ball fight for all the kids in the basement. Adults were scared to go down there. We were still picking up balls days later, all over the house.

Leo's cakes

Leo made styrofoam cakes for Christmas

Saturday, December 27, 2008


I've been teaching Leo how to read his second word, "Mom". He can already read his name. So I took my birthday locket from my parents and showed Leo the word on the front. I read out, "m-o-m", and asked him what it spelled. He said, "dumb".

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas Pictures!

Some pictures from our Christmas festivities!

Down your shirt

We were playing Chutes and Ladders, one of Leo's Christmas presents. I had thrown my back out and was doing some exercises to make it better. Daddy said "I can see down your shirt.". Leo stuck his head in my shirt. Paul said, "Hey, that's my wife." Leo laughed and said, "I'm not going to kill her.

Thursday, December 25, 2008


Leo was talking to Grandpa about Christmas. Grandpa asked Leo if he got many toys. Leo replied, "Yes, I got millions and billions and trillions of toys."

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Flash cards

Last night I let Leo open one of his gifts from Pop-pop and Por-por. They were addition flash cards. I thought, oh no, this is for kids 6 and up. We'll have to store this away. He asked me how the game worked, so I explained what a '+' was and that the line meant equals. He got it immediately, and he did 3+1, 2+3, etc perfectly. Then I explained what a zero was and he was able to add those as well. I was so proud of him and so excited that he might be a budding little math guy. Today I gave him some jelly beans and he's learning how to subtract!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Bear Peak

Today I took Leo to the dermatologist. I hadn’t mentioned that we were going to daycare afterwards; I just assumed he knew it was a Monday. On the way back into Boulder, we were looking at the beautiful view of mountains and snow. Leo said, “I was thinking that after we go to the doctor’s, we could climb Bear Peak”.  Leo has never climbed Bear Peak himself and has only been carried up once, when he about a month old.  I laughed and told him to ask his dad about that.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Leo and Mia on a date

Leo and his girlfriend Mia on a playdate. Paul dressed him up to the nines for this date - a button-down oxford with his snowman sweater. When Mia arrived, Leo promptly ignored her and ran out to find seeds. (Something I recall Paul doing with me once upon a time) They did end up having a great time once they actually started playing together.

Leo waited for us to grow up

Leo and I were making a gingerbread house. He had a blast, especially with all that frosting and popping bits of candy here and there. He was pointing to some colored gel frosting that I had brought out and said, "I got that when you were babies". I said, "You got this when me and daddy were babies????" He replied, "Yes. I waited for you to grow up and become indults".

This is what Leo looks like after a LOT of sugar!

Friday, December 19, 2008


Leo loves to look at the Economist's cartoons. I have to explain them and that is sometimes very difficult. This cartoon was about race and the promised land. I started with, "Remember how we have a new big boss of the whole country?". To which Leo replied, "yes and the bad guy wanted to cut down all the trees and Obama wanted to make more trees!"

Friday, December 12, 2008

Presents for everybody

Leo was wrapping his toys in wrapping paper and needed some help. I helped him and asked him who it was for. He said, "Everybody! There's presents for everybody in the whole village!"

Thursday, December 11, 2008


When I picked Leo at school today, the teacher said that he'd been working for 30 minutes on something for me. He showed me some paper with pieces of colored paper and pieces of wood chips on it. He said, "I made you this money so you can buy me presents with it!"


I was explaining to Leo that after we went to the museum this morning, I would drop him off at school. He said oh then I will be at school for a long time. I tried to explain that I would pick him up after his lunch, nap, and then snack time. Or maybe Daddy would pick him up. As I tried to divert attention from the fact that he had to go to school, I asked whether he preferred that I or Daddy pick him up.

He replied, "You. Because you are nice and skinny."

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Out my brain

We continue to work with Leo on the bed-wetting issue. Last night he soaked his bed.

Paul asked, "Did you know you were going to pee?"

Leo replied, "No, I didn't. It just came out of my brain and then I peed in my bed."

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

He does math!

Yesterday Leo said something like “1 + 1”. I showed him how to add on his fingers. He took to it immediately and could add 1 + 2 by himself without any help. Today in the car I asked him offhand what 2 + 1 was and he figured it out. I hate listening to parents brag about their kids and hate bragging about my own, but having been a little Chinese math kid once, I felt really proud of his math abilities! Now if only we can teach him how to be the banker in the Monopoly games....

Friday, November 28, 2008


Paul said to me, "I like your purple and black outfit". Leo added, "I like your eyeballs. I like them so much I want to eat them!"

Thursday, November 27, 2008


We were at Madalena's house for dinner. Madalena and Leo were talking about what they were going to be when when they grew up. I think Madalena said she was going to be a princess or something like that. Leo smiled and said, "I'm going to be a big booby when I grow up!"


Leo loves to give gifts. He wraps up his toys in napkins and kleenex and gives them away. Today Paul got a kitty cat, ball, and flower in a orange traffic cone. "Here's a present for you for being the best Daddy in the world!"

Saturday, November 22, 2008


Today we went to Pump It Up for Sarah and Amy's birthday. Leo explained, "I slid down the slide like a piece of lightning. And then I crashed into Kyla's head and I got this big owie."

Thursday, November 13, 2008


We were discussing what dinosaurs we would be if we could be dinosaurs. "Trimentos is a dinosaur. He eats Mentos. That's not a meat-eating dinosaur."

Sunday, November 9, 2008

more fart jokes

Tonight we had a dinner party for our new neighbors. We brought out our nice China, put some flowers on the table, had wine, etc. Leo farted. Paul was trying to show how polite Leo was, so he encouraged Leo, "What do you say?" Leo said, "It wasn't me!" I think this says more about his parents than Leo's manners...

Friday, November 7, 2008


We have been working with Leo at night to encourage him to use the potty and have a dry bed. Today, he announced, "If I pee in my bed I will take off my penis and put it in the wash area."

Saturday, November 1, 2008

With my balls on my knees

Leo screamed. I came running into the living room to hear Paul report that Leo was trying to walk on Paul's legs and had fallen on Paul's knees and hit his crotch.

Leo looked up at me and said, "I fell on Daddy's leg with my balls on my knees."

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Fire dept

A boy in Leo's class stepped on his arm and wouldn't apologize. We discussed it on the way home and ended up talking about bad boys. I didn't want him to think this boy was bad and thought maybe the kid was just angry or frustrated. I also thought it might be a good time to explain the gray space of good and bad. So I said, "Who is a bad boy?, thinking he would complain about this kid. Instead, he said,"There's no bad boys in the world".

We were explaining to Leo that he shouldn't squeeze Paul's neck because it could kill him.

Leo spoke into his (Leo's toy) cellphone, "Hello? This is the fire dept. Someone died just by squeezing someone's neck! Please come right away."

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Latest Leo quotes

Leo was bugging us at dinner, "I want to watch Nemo". Paul and I discussed a new video we had gotten from the library that I wanted to see but we decided it was too old for Leo. So Paul turned to Leo, still thinking about whether we'd let him watch a video, "You want to watch Nemo?". To which Leo replied, "YESIREE! If you insist!"

Leo gave me and "ice cream" that was made of a small ball on top a small plastic tube. He warned me, though, "You can only eat the ball not the chips (pointing to the tube), cause if you eat the chips, they will make you into a big fat boob!"

In case you are wondering, no, Paul and I don't call each other boobs, let alone big fat boobs.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

That cooks my head!

Leo and I were eating dinner. Leo said his mouth was an oven and he put soup in it. He said that when he presses his eye, it cooks the food. He pressed his eye. I laughed, "What if I push this button?" as I pushed the middle of his forehead. He said, "NO, that cooks my head!"

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Volume is turned down

Leo likes to make faces while I'm driving the car. I watch him in the rear-view mirror. Today he was moving his lips while he was making faces. Then he said,"My volume is turned down".

I took Leo to the dentist this morning. I don't know how that kid does it but he already has the beginnings of 2 cavities. Last time I took him, I left him in the play area while I paid the bill and he went out the dentist's office door then out the main door and outside into the parking area. I freaked out. So this time I explained carefully that he had to stay in the dentist office while I paid the bill. On the way out I congratulated him for being a big boy and staying with me. He said,"Next day I go to the dentist, I will go out the window!" I was horrified, of course. Then he added,"I'm just joking!" Got me!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

What's cooking?

Leo was playing with Paul, removed Paul's glasses, put them on his face and turned to me and said, "Hey, Mom, what's going cooking?"

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Slot and Canyon pictures

Panorama at Bryce Canyon - we had a great time finding animals and people's faces in these rocks.

Willis Gulch was the first slot canyon we hiked. It was wonderful. The walls weren't too high at first and there was a nice stream running through the canyon that Leo played in. It was beautiful white sandstone, very different from the typical orange Navajo sandstone.

Debbie in the slot at Wire Pass. This slot was the entrance to Buckskin Gulch.

Debbie wading in the water at Buckskin Gulch. There was a LOT of wading. I'll have to upload the pictures of Leo. He fell into the water and got real muddy and ended up hiking naked. It was really deep in some areas, but we didn't have to swim.

The quicksand that Debbie found. This canyon, next to Peek-a-boo, was full of quicksand. Debbie had no idea until she tried walking through the canyon.

The entrance of Peek-a-boo. You have to wade into a deep pool of stagnant water, walk up these tiny steps cut into the sandstone (with wet shoes) and pull yourself up to the doorway (with backpack or child on your back). Needless to say, we skipped this entrance, went in mid-way, and came around the other side.

Leo cheesing it up in Peek-a-boo and Spooky.

Debbie dropping through a window.

Classic windy Navajo sandstone slot.

Debbie about to drop down this part.

Debbie and Leo at the top of another drop.

Leo squeezing through the slots.

Debbie hanging in a cubbyhole at Devil's Garden in Escalante National Monument.

Debbie and Leo under the arch at Escalante National Monument.

And on the arch.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Like a racehorse!

Leo was potty trained fairly recently before our trip and even though it would have been easier for us to put him in diapers, we decided that continuing the potty use was more important. So we took an empty juice container and used it as an emergency potty. But it is so easy that we often prefer it to a real bathroom. This morning Leo nearly filled it up! He was so happy, he exclaimed - "I'm peeing like a racehorse!"

Monday, September 8, 2008

Peek-a-boo and Spooky

Yesterday we went down Cottonwood Canyon Narrows, a nice tall slot canyon that was walkable and dry for a change. We enjoyed the easy walk and exploring the keyhole, a giant cave-like divet cut into the wall. Then we went up-canyon and found an even more exciting narrow route through and over big rocks with more twisty passages and caves. It seemed that each slot canyon hike was getting better and this would have to start to get boring at some point.

So today we headed out to Escalante, the town, and went 26 bumpy miles down the washboard they call Hole in the Rock Road. We went to find Peek-a-Boo and Spooky, 2 slots not in our book. Everyone else was there too - the parking lot was full of cars in contrast to previous hikes where we were practically alone. We found the first slot full of mud and quicksand. We weren't able to get into it although I managed to sink one foot pretty deep, testing out the sands. We found Peek-a-Boo next and a huge pool followed immediately by tiny steps cut into the rock prevented us and apparently everyone else from entering the main entrance. We hiked up and around and got into an extremely twisty slot canyon. The floor was non-existent: the walls ended in a V at the ground. There were circular windows and doorways to walk through and the walls were so tight only Leo could get through at the base and that was with a lot of effort. We had to scale up the walls where the passage was wider to get through. We met a bunch of folks who were greatly impressed with Leo's climbing ability and most said we'd never make it through Spooky with a child, let alone our big backpack.

We explored Peek-a-Boo up and down and then hiked in the hot sun and desert sands over to Spooky. As I've mentioned, one of the great things about these canyons is the escape from the sun and heat. Spooky felt VERY claustrophobic and a lot more like spelunking. We were in tortuously twisty passages. Each step was around a twisty wall. At one point, hikers in the opposite direction yelled out to us because there was no way to pass each other and turning around was also difficult. Actually just hiking through was tricky and we are all small people. The walls were pretty high too so you didn't really want to hang out in any one place in the twisty parts. There was a spot where many BIG boulders had gotten stuck and downclimbing was tricky. We had to find a little hole and then all squeeze through one at a time.

It was a crazy hike. The narrowness and twistiness was extremely fun, a little scary, and very exciting. We did make it through both slots with Leo just fine. Leo did better than a lot of the adults we met. You'd be amazed at the things he can scale up or jump down (like 1.5 times his height). He was probably more engaged on this hike than any other. It was like a giant maze for people.

The weatherman is predicting possible thundershowers in the next couple days, so I think this is the end of our slots. There are some nice waterfalls and then Capitol Reef, Canyonlands, etc before we head home, but I think this has been one of the great highlights of our trip. It's hard to imagine hiking a boring trail in a forest or mountaintop when you could be scampering over rocks in a slot canyon.

Paul has a couple thousand pictures to sort through for posting. Stay tuned.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Navigating the slot canyons

I've always wanted to see the slot canyons - the yellow orange sandstone that is narrowly and deeply cut by desert flash floods. We made it to Escalante National Monument yesterday and have been having the time of our lives hiking slot canyons.

Yesterday we went to Willis wash. From the trailhead, a normal dusty path through a scubby desert, there is some white slickrock and a tiny stream running down it cutting a beautiful curvy slot in the white rock. Leo was squealing happy - he loved wading in the mini stream of water in the canyon. I loved the cool escape from the heat. Paul was in photographic heaven. We didn't make it very far as Leo managed to get soaked and ended up hiking naked which made him even happier and Paul and I were videoing and photographing everything in sight even though the light was too harsh and the lenses weren't wide enough.

We're camping in Kodachrome Basin which has free hot showers! And is extremely picturesque with great colorful spires and rock formations. This entire area is incredibly beautiful. We can't believe we,ve been to so many places out west and especially in Utah and yet this is our first slot canyon experience.

Today we drove 3 hours to get to our hike in Buckskin Gulch, one of the wolrd's most famous slot canyons. This was a Navajo sandstone canyon, very red and orange, like the pictures that made this area famous. We wound our way through slots so narrow you could pratically touch both shoulders to the walls. And the canyon looms 100 feet above your head. It gets deeper - up to 500 feet later but we didn't make it that far. There's a bunch of boulder jams where you have to down climb over big rocks that are stuck in the narrow slots. In the gulch there were lots of cold pools of muddy water to wade through which made hiking incredibly slow. Again, Leo loved the wading and got very wet. Paul loved the dried mud patterns. It was a great adventure. There were some old hieroglyphs on the walls - some deer and people and family trees.

Tomorrow we'll try for cottonwood Narrows and there's more slots near Escalante that we hope to hit.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Bryce Canyon

Leo loves prairie dogs. I saw that the Utah prairie dog is endangered and mentioned it would be nice to see one here because they are so cute.

Leo replied, "They're so cute I can almost fit in his body."

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Burning Man!

After months of preparation and anticipation, we finally arrived at the Burning Man festival on Tuesday. It sounded like we very smart to stay in Winnemucca two extra days because the Monday dust storm was one of the worst people had seen and the entrance was closed down as winds hit 40+ mph gusts. We arrived, set up camp, and started getting dusty!

Contraptionists Camp
Our camp is Contraptionists Camp, which Paul started with his friends Daniel and Karl. We had some 20 people in camp this year which was a great size for creating community this year.

Daniel's tower got pretty dusty. People came by to write notes in the dust.

Leo in the BT (big tent) at our camp. He was happy as a clam. He was so overstimulated and excited he didnt' sleep or eat much for a week.


Leo loved the community. I do too! That's one of the big attractions of Burning Man for me. Here he is with Brian the Elder on the top of the shower. The colorful contraption in the foreground is Ann and Mike's water evaporator gizmo.

Dueling with the light sabres!

On Dust Day, otherwise known as Burn Day, with his goggles (I use those in the winter when I ski).

We went to visit the Man at night, at Leo's request. While waiting in line to ascend the tower, Leo spontaneously broke out into dance. A group of people stood around him cheering him on and dancing with him. He was the hit of the party. The lady watching the tower entrance insisted on getting her picture taken with him.

The camp across the street from us had an awesome trampoline. Diane taught Leo a bunch of fun trampoline tricks and games. He went nuts on trampolines all over town.

It was my best friend Root's first Burning Man. I promised his wife I'd get lots of pictures of him and then promptly lost my camera for a few days. Here's Root and Paul when Root arrived on Tuesday.

Pol painted a nice orange bindi on Leo's forehead. Leo loved climbing into Paul's sleeping quarters, which was essentially a Mack truck with a ramp up the back.

Daniel, aka the King, aka Rouse Mouse, aka Santa Mouse in costume:

Leo showing off his Burning Man swag from Daniel:

Leo wearing a MOOP (matter out of place) hat that Mike picked up off the playa.

The Zander Lander rides the dust moguls! Of course, the best part of Burning Man is our ride, the Zander Lander. The playa was real dusty this year so we had to avoid the sand dunes. We ended up finding a great wormhole that would get us from one end of the city to the other, but it was hard to see at night. I took the Zander Lander out one night with Root and Leo and promptly broke the steering cable getting caught in a sand dune. Luckily, Brian the Elder had an even stronger cable that got us operational the next day.

The ART! Another best part of Burning Man is the art. Few places have the variety of interactive and climbable and playable and ringable and rideable art that Burning Man does. We rode a giant teeter-totter, scaled up tall jungle gyms with single seats up at the top, climbed a 10 story tower in the desert, blew huge flames out of mutant flowers, teetered a giant flaming snowman along with 5 other teeterers, watched the flamethrower gallery, saw flaming parachuters landing on the playa at night...

Here's Leo on one of the mutant flowers. The Flaming Lotus Girls loved him.

This giant barracuda could move gently.

but the best part of him was his eyeballs:

This robotic hand could pick up and crush cars. You stick your hand inside this glove like contraption and it mimics the movement of your hand.

Here's the climbing tower. A single chair sits on top.

At Mutopia, there were a pack of swarm robots. They interacted with people on the outskirts of the spontaneous dance party there. They had artificial intelligence but had backup people with toggle sticks to help out if too many people gathered around them. Root tried to get one to follow him around.

We had a blast on this jungle gym, made of baseballs and baseball bats:

Hanging upside down -

Paul at the top:

The wheel of fire was simple and really cool. A giant wheel is filled with a bit of wood and other burnable stuff and then lit. Two guys crank the wheel back and forth until they get it spinning. When it gets burning and spinning real good, huge streams of sparks fly off. The fluid dynamicists out there would love this. You can see the counterflow, the turbulence - it will hypnotize you for a long time.

Leo riding a horse art car:

This 12,000 pound robotic spider crawls through the playa slowly using his 8 feet. It broke down in front of our camp and was sitting there for several hours:

They finally got a gigantic forklift over to move it back to camp. It crawled by the next day, fixed, and carrying people.

My old roomie Caroline Kert got a grant and made her first work of art, which was just splendid. Here I am looking at the female side of the mirror.

These giant people are made of scrap metal. This guy's made of rebar, among other stuff. The woman next to him was made of chains and bike rings, etc.

Snail art car

Butterfly art car

We were camped out near the Mal-Mart.

The 10 story tower of Babylon

and of course, the Man

These are among my favorite costumes - the stickmen. Simple and hilarious to see walking around the playa.

This woman was probably photographed by a few hundred people in the time we sat we sat at center camp. She had up to 3 artists painting her at once. She's not wearing any clothes - it's all paint.

Root at night, wearing his goggles and EL-wire:

I'd show you pictures of this, but you could just stare at the white part of this page and see exactly what we were seeing. We left before the Man burned. The dust storm that started lightly Sat morning got more and more intense. At about 4pm, holed up in the camper for 4 hours, we decided to leave. We didn't get completely packed until the storm got really really bad. You couldn't go outside without having your shoes and pockets fill with dust. You couldn't see or breathe well out there either.

After a 45 minute exodus in white-out conditions (worse than any snowstorm I've driven in) just before it was rumored that the gates closed down, we managed to hit pavement. A few more hours and we made it to a gas station, dusty and tired.