Saturday, June 28, 2008

One Small Leap and Three Giant Steps For Stellankind

Today we were at a party for a coworker at the Museum and of course Stellan was one of the better entertainers of the afternoon. In fact, egged on by the crowd, he managed to stand himself up from a crouch, do a two-footed hop, and then take three steps. Yes, these are the historic first steps (I'm so proud of the plural!) of Stellan. I was particularly impressed that he didn't just take one tentative step from one stationary object (like a person) to another, but instead stood himself up unassisted and just walked forward. He wasn't walking to me or Kev, so I think he was just walking to walk.
Since then, there have been a few more steps, each time better than the last. I'll try to get a video posted. In the meantime, you can enjoy the mental image of Stellan's pushover mom getting all verklempt at watching her son take those three steps, and then because she was in a crowd of colleagues, trying to cover it with a set of fake sobs and even a fake noseblow. She was a bad faker.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Knapps Castle

Today we all had the day off and decided to go for a little hike to Knapps Castle. The weather was great, the trail was lovely and the view would have been killer if not for the smoky haze in the air from all the wildfires up north. Our sack lunch was also great (turkey and avocado sandwiches are hard to beat), and Stellan had a chance to practice his standing and assisted walking skills. The slideshow says it all!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


Subtitle: Not That I'm Saying We Are

Today marks in a once-in-a-lifetime event. No, it actually has nothing to do with Stellan. Today Sen. John McCain and Gov. (I know, it's still weird that it's not a punchline) Arnold Schwarzenegger came to the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History to participate in an environmental panel discussion.
To be clear, I wasn't in the auditorium. In fact, there was quite a crowd waiting to get in (and quite a crowd outside protesting as well). My job was to piggyback the live audio and video feeds from our overflow auditorium (not the big one, but the other smaller one) to the planetarium. I was hoping we wouldn't need it for the general public so that staff could use the planetarium, but in the end we definitely needed the space for overflow.
It was quite an experience. The panel discussion was pretty punctual, and only went the predetermined hour. Other panelists included the dean of engineering from UCSB; the director of Land Trust for SB County; and the former director of the CIA. The land trust guy, Mike Feeney, was pretty bold in openly calling out McCain. McCain, for his part, outlined a plan to ensure that government facilities and vehicles adhere to more strict environmental and emissions guidelines, as well as a tax credit for people who buy hybrid/electric vehicles. He didn't address his recent announcement of support for lifting the federal ban on offshore drilling, however.
In the end, there was not much real dialogue; people came to say what they had to say, and I don't think anyone really changed his own opinion. But it was interesting to hear, and quite an operation to witness. The Museum was crawling with police as well as Secret Service, the media was in full force (just try a little Google search on the event!) and the McCain fans were very enthusiastic. It felt like a different world, and it pretty much was.
The Museum has taken a little heat for hosting such an event, but I think it's not inappropriate. We're trying to pose ourselves as a "safe place for dangerous ideas," or the neutral location for community forums, and we've recently hosted panels on drilling in the SB Channel. I just don't know how we're going to top a panel with a governor and presidential candidate on it.

P.S. As you may have inferred from the subtitle, neither Kevin or I are big McCain fans. But Kevin's not really on board with Obama either; he says that Obama's quick rise to prominence in the political world gives him a evil Manchurian Candidate vibe. I am not convinced that Obama is a mindless tool of the Communist regime inserted into our political system to make us slaves to the Russians. But the debate rages on in our home.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Stellan's Newest Pool Trick

Stellan has an awesome new trick at the pool. OK, I'm being really sarcastic when I say awesome. Honestly, I'm past anxious and moving closer to panicky about the situation. You see, he has no fear of the pool; in fact, I'm pretty sure he thinks he can breathe under water. While I was at Girls Camp, he decided that when he arrives at the pool, he doesn't need to wait for anyone else, he can just climb right in. If you look closely at this photo, you'll see that Kevin isn't even holding Stellan, just bracing to catch him.
He also likes to climb down from the steps of the pool as deep as he can go, and then a step deeper. He really doesn't seem bothered by the fact that his head is under the water and he can't get it out by himself. I am torn between (a) letting him figure it out the hard way just once so he won't do it anymore or (b) pulling him out as quickly as possible before he hurts himself or gets scared. I'm too much of a softie to go with the first option, though.
If that's not scary enough, how's this: last night he crawled to the edge of the pool, turned around to back into the pool, lowered himself in and then held on with one arm. Yes, he was hanging on to the pool wall! He grabbed the side with his other arm and tried to lift himself out again. I had a hard time not laughing at how funny it is to watch a baby try to do something grown up, but I'm terrified he's going to try his tricks when we're not looking.
Oh well, at least he's not afraid of the water.
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Saturday, June 21, 2008

Send Your Name to Space!

You can send your name to space in a couple of different ways. The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter is taking names to the moon with it, and I've added mine. The deadline is June 29, sign up here.

You can also have your name added to a DVD that will launch about the Kepler Mission (searching for Earth-like planets in other solar systems) next year. The deadline isn't until November, so you've got plenty of time to send in your name.

It's fun, it's free and it's not a scam like star-naming.

Friday, June 20, 2008

While I Was Away...

...Kevin and Stellan managed to keep themselves busy. Phil and Susan, Kev's parents, stayed in town a few days past graduation to keep them company, and if the photos are any indication, a good time was had by all. I wish I could tell you more about what happened, but these photos are all the evidence I've got. Enjoy!

Girls Camp!

So I got back from Girls Camp. It was great, and also really hot. I mean really hot. For those who think I'm just being a Santa Barbara weather snob, it broke 100 degrees every day, and I wouldn't guess it dropped below 80 at night.
Heat aside, the week went really well. I was the stake certification director, so I worked with all the Youth Camp Leaders as they taught their camp skill certification lessons. They did a terrific job, and the rest of the campers really responded well.
Steph was up there with me, so we got to hang out lots. She was actually the assistant certification director, so it was as close to having two of the same person as you could come. We held it together pretty well, and had a blast at Sunrise Sing, pool time, devotional, sky watching, and all the rest.
On a side note, this year was different from the many other years I've been to Girls Camp, because this year I'm a mom for the first time. It was a little bizarre to be physically separated from my "mom" self, but don't worry - I missed my boys lots. I was never psychologically far from them - I hope Stellan got the psychic snuggles I sent all week. Kev and Stellan did swing by camp on Wednesday to drop off gear for the overnight hike, and it was a great half hour. And we had a very happy reunion on Friday afternoon once we were all at home together too.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Pampers and Circumstance: Stellan's First Graduation

OK, so Stellan didn't graduate. But his daddy and his aunt did. Yes, it's true: after many years of toil and strife, elbow grease and brow-sweat, late nights and early mornings, Kevin and Steph have earned their college diplomas! They even arranged to graduate at the same ceremony so we wouldn't have to sit through 2 in the same weekend. (Thanks!) The only complication was that anyone there would have thought that Stephie got a B.S. in engineering (Kevin did); instead, she actually got a B.M. (that's Bachelor of Music).
[Insert joke about B.S. and B.M. here.]
The ceremony was pretty typical, and about 2 hours too long for Stellan. He was a trooper, though, and even made some new friends. I've posted highlights from the graduation in the following slideshow, but to see all the photos, visit the Picasa album at the end of the post.

Congratulations, Kevin and Stephie!!!!
Graduation 2008

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Mary Matern

Stellan met Great-grandma Mary last Christmas. (Stellan's the one in the infant seat.)

Kevin's grandmother, Mary Matern, passed away yesterday afternoon. She had been in increasingly ill health for quite a while, so it wasn't unexpected, but it's always a shock. It's nice to think of how happy she must be to have ditched her failing mortal body and how glad she must be to see so many of her loved ones who have already passed on. That said, her death leaves a hole in our lives. We'll miss you, Grandma Mary!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Good Luck!

This is finals week for UC students (and many high school students too). So good luck, all you students; study hard and let Stellan know if you need a tutor.

Sunday Dinner Goes Mobile

Tonight we took Sunday Dinner At the Moms' to Ventura and had a picnic with my Grandma and Grandpa Floody (short for Flodquist), my aunt Lynn Mari and my adorable cousin Jordan. We had a great time - the food was yummy and we all had a great time watching the two boys.

Saturday Pick-Me-Up

While I was at work on Saturday, Kevin related a story to me via email and attached a few photos. I have recreated this story for you below.

Once upon a time, a little boy named Stellan cleared out his toy shelf.

Daddy didn't understand why Stellan didn't play with any toys, until he climbed inside the shelf.

Stellan proceeded to purvey his surroundings, and finding everything in order...

...he settled in for a power nap.

How's that for a bedtime story?

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Inner Monologue

Generally Stellan is very social and eager to interact with anyone. However, sometimes he surprises me with the strength of his inner monologue. I'm not sure what he was thinking about while he was dining the other day, but I took a few photos anyway. Maybe someday he can tell me what was so important to him that day.

Good News!

I had a doctor's appointment earlier this week, and I stepped on a scale for the first time in a very long time. It turns out I'm back to my pre-pregnancy weight. Yeah! For those who have seen me lately and don't actually believe that, just remember that I'm still working on replacing some of my blubber with the muscle I used to have in slightly more abundance. But I do feel encouraged about how much progress I've made. And with Stellan's immanent walking, I'm sure to be getting a lot more exercise soon...

Jeeves' Revenge

(If the title doesn't make sense, see this preview posting.)

Sunday, June 1, 2008

The Doctor Is In

Tonight my mother experienced one of the prouder moments of her life: she beat me and Kevin at Dr. Mario. Not only did she beat us, but she beat us when we were all on the same level - no handicapping. (Our family is a little obsessive about Dr. Mario, and we have established an elaborate handicapping system.) She was bold enough to compare it to the time Momfa beat Mark at arm wrestling - that's a pretty big deal; Mark still doesn't like to talk about how his sweet mama outarmed him. Congratulations, Mom!

Oh, and in case you didn't know or couldn't actually believe it, Dr. Mario is a video game. Yes, both the moms are addicted to gaming. I don't know if we should feel guilty or proud of this, since it's completely our fault, but Kev and I have been impressed with their commitment to this newfound hobby.