Monday, August 30, 2010

Who's IN first?

Here's Cole on his first day of first grade. Today went so well! He loves his teacher! She is 100% sweetness! I could care less if she teaches well or challenges him or inspires him, just as long as she's NICE! He's done his time with a strict teacher, so we're all happy for this change of pace.

Fun with Grandma and Grandpa

We had a wonderful last weekend of summer vacation with Clay's parents. We enjoyed nice walks on the beach and down the peir, and playing in the sand. It was actually a bit too cold to play in the water so we were content just getting our feet wet. However, when Cole and I were walking down the jetty, we stopped and sat down on the rocks for a bit and Cole was in just the right spot to get soaked by an unexpected and gigantic wave. Sorry Cole!

Cole walked with Grandma all the way down the peir singing songs to her,

and still wasn't done singing when we got to the end.

And then there's our cutie Lukey.

Thanks for a great weekend!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Beautiful Savior

This post could also be called "fingerprints on the tv screen", so please excuse those. For some reason we always use this spot as our "stage" at home. Anyway, Cole was asked to sing in sacrament meeting yesterday and he sang this solo. We were so proud of him! I love this little boy!

Untitled from Amy Larson on Vimeo.

We were so glad these wonderful people could come to church with us!

Cole loved getting to spend a little time with cousin Spencer!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Do you speak Parseltongue?

I have been waiting for this time for so long. Ever since Cole was born I have been dreaming of the day......when I could read Harry Potter to him!!!!!!! I know my sister-in-laws have read them to their kids and I was always so anxious for when I could read them to Cole and he would be able to appreciate them. We started the first book last week and we have been loving it! I love the world of Harry Potter. As many of you know, the beginning of the first book talks about a trip to the reptile house where Harry unintentionally causes the protective glass to disappear from a snake exhibit. This is where he first discovers that he is able to communicate with snakes, meaning he speaks parseltongue.

Perhaps if I could talk to snakes, it would come in handy while we "babysit" this baby corn snake. Maybe then I could tell him to catch his own mouse outside instead of having to store some in the freezer! Yikes! He feeds on Thursday's and today being Thursday I had to thaw and serve a tiny pinkie mouse to this guy.

He'll only be here for a couple of weeks while some friends are out of town. But seriously, aside from the mice, we love this snake. It is like therapy holding it and watching it move and slither over your hand. We're thinking we'll get one maybe for Cole for Christmas. Maybe we could find one that's a vegetarian.

Off the Waiting List

At the library here, kids sign up for a turn to display a collection in the display case in the children's room. We have enjoyed seeing the different collections displayed each month and finally, after two years on the waiting list, we got an email saying it was Cole's turn. He was so excited to diplay his Cars toys at the library!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A little Shakespeare

There's a lady in our ward, Courtney, who is soooo sweet and knows about any and all children's activities in the area. She told us about a free activity at a nearby park called "Shakespeare for Young People". Cole had a great time. The guys in charge were so nice and started with doing all kinds of voice warm-ups that actors do before going on stage. Then they divided up into groups and each group had to put together a skit using only three words. It was so fun to watch!

This is Cole's group rehearsing.

Luke was a pretty good sport.

The zoo actually used to be here so the kids had fun afterwards exploring what used to be bear caves.

There was also a gigantic playground that we couldn't pass by.

Sunday, August 15, 2010


We visited my parents this weekend and my dad wanted to do an impromptu family photo. I sure love my little family!

Monday, August 9, 2010

A Few Things About Cole

Clay's mom used to read him this book when he was a kid. Several months ago, his mom was looking to pass it along to someone so we were fortunate enough to become the new owners of this book. I knew Clay enjoyed these stories long ago, but we both had no idea how they would take hold of Cole's imagination. He loves this book! He loves to read the stories over and over. He loves to teach the stories to anyone who will listen. He loves explaining how all the various titans and gods and heroes all interconnect; who's married to who, who their children are, and who turned into what, and what powers they have. When he's not reading these stories, he likes to just daydream about them. He's borderline obsessed with greek mythology.

So when we heard about the book series, Percy Jackson and the Olympians, we knew it would be the perfect read after learning all the greek myths. We loved reading this book with Cole and Cole loved it too! The movie was alright, pretty different from the book, but still fun. We highly recommend the first book, The Lightening Thief.
At the beginning of summer, Clay ordered some John Thompson beginning piano books for Cole so I could start teaching him. It's been so fun going through the little songs with him. At first he was a little indifferent about the whole idea but went along with it. That was back in June. Here we are just a couple months later and he's saying, "I'm addicted to the piano". It's nice that he has another activity that he can do by himself when Luke has my attention. (Oh and a little side note: that's not dirt in his fingernails. It's berry juice:)

And his latest news is that he just lost his very first tooth. Hooray for gaps!

Sunday, August 8, 2010


I've been trying to compose a post about him in my head for a few weeks, it being our anniversary recently and all. But I just can't seem to fit all my thoughts together in a nice flowing way. So maybe I'll let Clay speak for himself, or let his actions speak for themselves by giving a sort of "day in the life" type of thing.

Clay is an early bird. Many mornings he wakes up at 4:00 to exercise on the eliptical. Crazy to wake up that early, but he doesn't want exercising to interfere with his family time after work. Luke's been waking up super early lately, so Clay takes care of him until 6:00, gets him breakfast, and then catches the train to work.

Clay loves work. He always has. I have NEVER heard him complain that he doesn't want to go to work. Instead when I ask him about his workday he says things like, "Yeah, I got a new project today that's pretty interesting"...or "I went to this really cool meeting today where they talked about..." or "yeah, this new assignment should be fun." He calls me at lunch time to check up on me. About every couple of weeks during his lunch break, he'll walk over to the public library(which has a much larger selection of children's books than the one here) and walk back to work with a backpack stuffed to capacity with books for Cole and Luke. And if there is ever any treat of any kind at work, he saves his share and brings it home to me.

On his way home from work, he listens to general conference on his MP3 player. Once he's home, we all quickly have dinner and then move on to the evening routine. Clay takes Luke, because he is more challenging, and lets me work with Cole, which is a breeze. From 6:30 to 8:00 he switches stimulating activities with Luke every 5 minutes or so. They study a little, play, study, sing, study, play again, etc.

Then the boys are in bed and he packs his lunch and sets out his clothes for the next day (which, by the way, he has a very sophisticated system of knowing which combination of dress shirt, pants and tie to wear each day of the week).

On his days off, the kids wake up bright and early and he gets up and says to me, "What time do you want me to wake you up, Love?" I'll sleep for another hour or so, but if I told him to wake me up at noon, he would totally go along with it. I do try to keep things fair though, so when he has some free time to himself to do whatever he wants, he works on learning projects for the kids. He loves to make charts for them, print off pictures, find cool web sites for them, compile learning materials, etc. His project this Saturday was making Spanish labels for the kids to put on different things in the house.

Every weekend since school has ended, he comes up with some fun, new outing to do as a family. He's just...crazy about us! We are his hobby, his interest, his fun. That pretty much sums it all up.

I love him more than anything! He is my absolute best friend in the world!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Seven Years

Mine and Clay's anniversary was on the 25th of July. We have been married for seven years. Here is where our journey started, on our wedding day, in California. I was 19 and Clay was 25.

Before we knew it, it was time to pack up and leave for New Orleans. Clay would be attending Tulane to work on a Masters/PhD in anthropology.

We arrived in New Orleans. There was lots to see.

Our first apartment was uptown. It was student housing but a bit of a walk to get to campus.

At the end of the semester, we moved into the basement apartment of this beautiful uptown house. We spent a lot of time upstairs with our awesome landlords!

Downstairs was nice too.

When summer break came, we flew to Queltzaltenango, Guatemala, more often called Xela. This is the view from the roof of the school we lived in.

Inside the school, eating with the spanish students.

Mid-way through summer, we moved further up into the mountains to the small village of Santa Catarina Ixtuahacan.

At the end of summer, we had a flight to go back to New Orleans, but had to cancel it because of the hurricane. We were lucky to get to live with Clay's parents for this semester. This is the only picture I have of all of us at their house, and it's in the back yard. Clay was lucky to get to finish his course work at SDSU.

The following semester, we went back to New Orleans, but we couldn't move back into our awesome basement apartment that we loved so much. It was flooded pretty good.

Instead, we moved into a great apartment off of St. Charles in the garden district of New Orleans.

At the end of the semester, Clay found out that he would get to study K'iche at the University of Chicago for the summer. Here's Clay and Cole by Lake Michigan.

We loved living in this small, IKEA furnished apartment. It had a great view of downtown Chicago.

For the fall semester, we drove back down to New Orleans, and stayed in our friends apartment while they were on a medical rotation. (Here Cole is pretending to be the lion king.)

It had a nice little back yard.

Halfway through the semester, we moved into this "creole cottage". It was soooo fun. We were right next to the french quarter.

And the mississippi.

Then we moved into my parent's house for a semester while we prepared for what was supposed to be a year in Guatemala.

At the beginning of summer we flew back to Guatemala. We only stayed for a month...instead of a year...but that's another story...

Not knowing what to do with ourselves, now that Clay's career as an anthropologist was on hold indefinitely, we stayed with Clay's parents for a couple months while we figured out a new life plan.

We decided to move to this apartment in Vista, while Clay worked as a long-term substitute teacher. (As you can see, Thomas and Friends was our one constant through a lot of change.) This is also where we lived when Luke joined our family.

During this time, he chose Public Administration as his new passion and USC as his new school.

Now we live on this beautiful street in the cutest little city, with two adorable boys and a job that Clay loves. We've lived here for two years, which is 1 1/2 years longer than we've ever lived anywhere. The nomadic lifestyle has definitely slowed down, but I have a feeling we're still not home yet.

Clay has given us such a great life! He is the most amazing husband. He is all about making me and the boys happy and completely spoils us. Thanks for the journey so far, Clay! Happy anniversary! I love you!