Sunday, December 28, 2008

Who Am I?

According to Dylan when last reading his favorite train book, Eric and this man are "Da-Da":
Sir Topham Hatt.

According to Benjamin who was watching basketball the other day with his dad, Eric really looks "like that guy in the suit! (Mike Jarvis)":

and Benjamin also observed that Dad's head is "like the top of Stone Mountain."
I also think that teenager Eric bears an uncanny resemblance to:
Shaun White (Gold Medalist in Snowboarding, etc.)

and I have begged forgiveness often for once saying in a bad moment that Eric reminded me of:
We're glad to report that Eric smiles at all of our jests--always a guy with a super sense of humor and we're getting ready to miss him a ton when he leaves to spend some time at the University of Kentucky in January and February. We hear he has great plans of exercising in his spare time up there too.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas Eve 2008

Our Christmas Eve included caroling to neighbors and friends with Isaac and his drum and Benjamin and his bells, tamales and the Christmas story. I thought that in a house of boys, there would never be an argument about who got to be Mary. Was I ever wrong. At one point, the nativity story almost got canceled because Isaac was insisting that HE wanted to be Mary and Benjamin was insisting that NO, Nee-Mom HAD to be Mary and Dad HAD to be Joseph. Tears and stomping of feet. Isaac persisted. And in the spirit of Santa coming, Benjamin (very much warming my mother heart with pride) decided not to have a tantrum and let Isaac have his way. So Isaac was Mary, Dylan wandered hither and yon at times being a wise man and at other times being a baby thief upsetting our Mary who chased Dylan down yelling, "Don't take MY baby Je--!" The narration was punctuated with many interruptions, stalls and and false starts. But the puppy sheep performed well and the puppy King Herod sent the wise puppy and Benjamin to find the baby. Benjamin was thrilled to don different costumes as different characters were needed. And Mary was indeed very tender, loving and contemplative keeping peace in his heart sitting peacefully through it all. I love Christmas Eve.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Passports in Our Stockings

In January, Eric will begin working with Dr. Stephen Dobson at the University of Kentucky on a project to develop integrated technologies for reducing the primary mosquito vector of lymphatic filariasis in the South Pacific, Aedes polynesiensis. The goal of the project is to develop control technologies that can be used in conjunction with mass drug administration (MDA) for a long enough period of time so that the disease transmission cycle can be broken. Primarily he will be participating in a Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation funded project to conduct research in French Polynesia/Tahiti.

For those whose knowledge of the geography of the South Pacific is a bit foggy, Tahiti is one of the many islands that constitute French Polynesia (Bora Bora is another one of the islands). It is located about 2400 miles southeast of Hawaii. The most populous city on the island (and in the territory) is Papeete. We anticipate that we will be living in or around the commune of Paea, although that is yet to be determined. We're excited and nervous about moving to a foreign land where we will learn new languages (French and Tahitian), attend new schools, and participate in new professional activities. We're looking forward to Island life and all it entails-snorkeling, surfing, and hip-shaking dancing! If you come to visit while we are there we will definitely greet you with a warm Bienvenue and Iaorana!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


We're playing (trains, of course) and a big clap of thunder startles everyone. Isaac dashes into my arms. Then he looks up and rushes around the room. "Gotta get puppies, doll, baby and bear baby. Keep them safe!" He then comes back to my lap and we keep everybody safe.

Compassion in a two year old is very endearing. And it's nice to know that just being there with him makes Isaac (and everyone else) feel safe.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Isaac Uses Words

After being forced into the car against his will at the end of a library visit, Isaac screams and protests in the back seat for several minutes, "I want to run!!!" I wait him out for a little bit and then say, "Isaac, can I talk to you now?" Isaac announces: "I am not HAPPY! I want to run." Me: Isaac if you can stop screaming, you can run at the playground at Benjamin's school when we get there." Pause. "Nee-Mom. I happy now!" (Hearing him describe his emotions was too, too funny).

Isaac has also taken to complaining when any member of the family seems to be ignoring him, "You're not talking to me. Dylan not talking to me"...etc.

Without a doubt Isaac has lots of words now.

Monday, December 8, 2008

All Is Merry and Bright

Benjamin (Conversations inspired by his latest creation on canvas):

"I am an artist. We should have a Family Home Evening all of us around the kitchen table. You, Dad-Eric, Isaac and Dylan. I will teach you how to be an artist like me!"

"Does an artist do dishes? What else does an artist do?"

"Does my tree make you happy?" (Absolutely!)

"That's a heart. Because there is love in our family. Dad-Eric loves Nee-Mom. Nee-Mom loves me. I love Isaac. And Isaac loves Dylan."

We're loving everything, everything Christmas at our house. The boys are full of jingles and high spirits and our trees are just about the happiest things ever. We all can't get enough of the twinkling lights and Benjamin is begging to sleep next to our tree. I can't blame him. I think we could just stay next to the tree all day long and be pretty content. Some good music, gingerbread men and some Christmas stories--what more do we need?

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Dylan for Hire

Looking for work. Will do windows. Kisses left on your windows--extra.

Monday, October 27, 2008

The Job Possibility That Eric Passed On...

Medical Entomology Coordinator,
Equatorial Guinea Malaria Control Initiative

The Equatorial Guinea Malaria Control Initiative (EGMCI) is a five-year, $25M program,
funded by the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM) and by Marathon
Oil Company, which seeks to substantially reduce morbidity and mortality caused by malaria on the Equatoguinean mainland. The EGMCI’s interventions are centered on indoor residual
spraying, distribution of long-lasting insecticide-treated mosquito nets, case management, and
monitoring and evaluation.

Qualifications, Skills and Experience required of the Medical Entomology Coordinator:

• MA in Medical Entomology (or equivalent) with experience in designing and implementing
vector control programs for malaria control.
• Field experience working as an entomologist preferably within a malaria control program is
highly desirable. PhD studies will be considered as compensatory for lack of applied field
• Good interpersonal skills, team player, able to work under stress. Sensitivity to the concerns
of the developing world and able to work with local and national authorities and community-
based providers from different cultural backgrounds.
• Good oral and written communication skills, Spanish with knowledge of English and/or
French an additional asset.
• Highly computer literate, familiar with Windows® programs for word-processing,
spreadsheets, database management, statistical analysis, presentations, and electronic

Overview of Position: The Medical Entomology Coordinator (MEC) is responsible for in-
country technical and implementation support for all vector control activities including indoor
residual spraying (IRS), environmental management, the distribution of long lasting insecticide
treated nets (LLITNs), as well as the information, education and communications (IEC) for these vector control strategies. The MEC will supervise and support the work of the IRS Advisor and the OWDG Vector Control Team to ensure the effective implementation of IRS activities, with technical support from Medical Research Council of South Africa (MRC) and the MCDI Home Office. S/he will oversee development of an LLITN “keep-up” campaign. The MEC will assume primary field-level responsibility for establishing and overseeing the management of the Insectary and Vector Control Laboratory, receiving technical support from MRC and other partners as pertinent.

Start of activities: October 2008

Location: Position is based at EGMCI offices in Bata, Equatorial Guinea, and entails
occasional travel inland.

Term: Twelve months (renewable)

MCDI offers a competitive salary and benefits package, including paid housing and health
insurance, two trips yearly to home of record and free anti-malarial medication.

Applicants should send CV and cover letter to
The subject line item should read Malaria Program Medical Entomology Coordinator

We particularly liked the added benefit of the free anti-malarial medication. When I was dating Eric, I was excited that he was this science guy that was doing something to keep people from getting nasty diseases all over the world. Sounds romantic until you have to pop some quinine pills, right?

So we'll not be helping to save the world there this year!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Fall Fun

We've had our first Halloween outing at the church. Benjamin and Isaac have been very inspired by Neverland lately. Benjamin wanted to be Peter Pan and Isaac wanted very much to be Captain Hook. We thought that Dylan could be the baby but it would be more fun if he were Mr. Smee--plus it's cute when his belly sticks out. For once I actually had all their gear ready way ahead of schedule. But then the boys decided that their puppies needed costumes too. "See Mom. Pup-pup's rattle in his belly sounds just like Tinkerbell." So we've been doing a lot of flying around here with Pup-pup shaking all that pixie dust on us. I wonder what else pixie dust might do for us? Can't wait to see the rest of you in your Halloween finery.

P.S. Boy did Isaac get a kick out of the Trunk or Treating. His little eyes just GLOWED when he figured out how the gig worked. And did he ever work it. He would stand in front of someone. They would give him candy and then instead of moving on, he would just keep on standing there smiling. So, of course, people couldn't resist him. So, he would get some more candy. This would go on until I would nudge him towards the next vehicle. He would not for anything in the world let anyone else carry his pumpkin full of treats. The allure of sweets...and it was after all the promise of sweets that kept him in most of his costume most of the time--including wearing the "bib" (what he called his frilliness up front).

Sunday, October 19, 2008

No Fear Here

These three guys obviously did not inherit their father's fear of high places. Here's the latest view from "On Top of Stone Mountain...." And even when mountain climbing, Isaac still thinks about swimming...

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Adding Sugar to the Puppy Dog Tails

My boys discovered the dress-up clothes at my parents'. I want my brothers to know that I had NOTHING to do with this. I buttoned the buttons. I took the pictures. Now, years back, I would have offered to curl their hair. And had they been my little brothers, they may have let me (they did a couple of times), so they could have hair to match their alter-ego names ending in with sweet diminutive "a's." But this time, the dresses were ditched for boots before you could even say nylons. So there are still no little girls here, but my Mom thinks Isaac would have been a cute one!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Daily Duties

You wouldn't believe how much I get done around the house with all the help I get.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Got Beat?

We've escaped to a little boys' paradise of cousins, goats, dogs, cats, a tree house, trampoline, zipline, backyard pool, creek, almost mountain like hills, lake, barn, Aunt Susan's extremely scrumptious chocolate chip cookies and to top it all off our vacation destination in Indiana even has...

Lucky us.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

It's My Birthday!

This cake wouldn't do...

Or even this one...

It's ice cream I want!

And I love riding my first birthday bike!

Glad we could get it right finally!

Saturday, July 12, 2008


Now this isn't something you can just find under the sea anywhere. It's quite rare, but if you find it, you'll never want to let it leave your house. If you could only see this in motion and hear the accompanying giggles, gurgles and belly laughs.

Sunday, June 22, 2008


Isaac has taken to choosing to wear his swimsuit not just to the pool but everywhere, every day if given the opportunity to choose. Who doesn't love swimming? It's one of our favorites of summer.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

A Typical Sunday Afternoon

George was a good little monkey, but always very curious. Sounds like some monkeys we know.
Eric receives a thorough exam by not just one but two skilled physicians.
And here it takes three to do the operation. Dr. Isaac sat on Dad-Eric in lieu of anesthesia. He had a piece of a puzzle in his leg. Operation was successful.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Adventure Day

Eric and I saw some cute frogs at the Botanical Gardens yesterday.  A few of them hopped into our pockets and came home with us.  Now what to feed them?

Thursday, May 22, 2008

On Top of the World

On top of Stone Mountain with my great guys who love everything about everything at Stone Mountain...what a gorgeous, happy day.

Such a feelin's coming over me
There is wonder in most every thing I see
Not a cloud in the sky, got the sun in my eyes
And I won't be surprised if it's a dream

Everything I want the world to be
Is now coming true especially for me
And the reason is clear, it's because you are here
You're the nearest thing to heaven that I've seen

There is only one wish on my mind
When this day is through I hope that I will find
That tomorrow will be just the same for you and me
All I need will be mine if you are here

I'm on the top of the world looking down on creation
And the only explanation I can find
Is the love that I've found ever since you've been around
Your love's put me at the top of the world

The Carpenters

Friday, April 25, 2008

What's for Dinner?

Maybe my dinner turned out like this:

Because of all of this happening while I was trying to cook:

Monday, April 14, 2008

Follow the Prophet!

Apparently, Benjamin wasn't left unaffected by the lesson about President Thomas S. Monson in church on Sunday that I taught.

I was pretending to be a bear today.
He got up on the piano bench (podium) put his hand in the air emphatically and said,

"I'm the prophet. Be a nice bear!"

Not a bad message. And short. And to the point.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

...on the Apricot tree

It's not popcorn popping everywhere anymore. Many of the trees are beginning to look like broccoli according to Benjamin.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Language of Brotherly Love?

This morning.
B: "I want a concrete mixer truck pancake. Isaac too."

This afternoon. Dylan eats Benjamin's paper boat inspired by Curious George.

Intermittent Isaac-terwauling from upstairs bedroom.

Eric investigates.
E: "What's going on here?" He looks down to see Benjamin laying perpendicular on the bed so that his legs are on top of Isaac.
B: "I'm TEASING Isaac!"
E: "No, Benjamin, don't tease Isaac."
B: "I LIKE teasing Isaac."
(Yes. That explains and justifies everything, right?)
E: "Don't tease Isaac. HE doesn't like it."

But at last peace. For now. For tonight. Certainly not indefinitely.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

It's beginning...

to smell like spring. Even Dylan noticed. Hooray!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

High Jinx at the High Museum

So, what do you get when you take a "bevy of children" (our greeting from another visitor) to an art museum? After you walk up all the four flights of the roaming ramp in the light-filled atrium and try to keep heads from going through the railings on the top floor, lots of "No, Isaac. Don't touch that Isaac. Stay with mom Isaac." Many understanding and mostly amused nods from staff and gray-haired onlookers living more leisurely life moments. And great joy rides on the glass elevator--by far the most impressive feature of the museum for the boys. But beyond mild Isaac wrestling, it was fun just to see what the guys would do in the world of art. It was definitely new to them. We played some perspective games and find what your eyes like most in and around romps under the benches and twirls in vast galleries. Benjamin always likes a good adventure to the land of skyscrapers and was only disappointed that we didn't end the day with a jaunt over to Ikea. He even grasped enough of the form and shape of the art museum to later recognize it in one of picture books about Atlanta. That made me happy. Isaac also got to do lots of touching and romping in a fun kid-centered learning center and we made a sun-catcher in the toddler craft room. I really liked a piece that a guy created by making a collage of items found in dump site that he formed to look like a portrait on the floor of an aircraft hanger. He then took an aerial picture of his elaborate grouping. Nifty. What could we make on the floor of our basement with our tossables? I also got to see my first Mark Rothko in person. I like those blocks of color. The O'Keefe exhibit was sweet too. I learned that she taught art to children for a time and was inspired by them. I relate. And I did wish a little bit that my art students would slow a little so I could gaze more intently. Some day the boys just might think it's cool that they looked a true Monet in the eye and saw larger than life posies. But for now, if Isaac could tell me in so many words, I think he'd be sure to vote for a construction site for our next field trip. Not a bad idea actually!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Flights of Fancy

Benjamin wanted to fly on a rocket ship to the moon for his birthday. So we did. He was very involved in all the preparations for our trip. He would pour over all the space/moon/rocket books we have from the library and then fill me in on all the details of what we needed. I had to reign him in a little on the space suit and equipment. But when he told me we needed a flag to put on the moon, that we could do and did. May he continue to reach for the stars every year of his life and take small and giant leaps of imagination.

Dinner Conversation

Benjamin: "I don't like looking at that."
Me: "What don't you like to look at?"
Benjamin: "That. On Dylan's spoon. On Dylan's face. In Dylan's bowl."
Me: "You mean his oatmeal?"
Benjamin: "Yeah. That."
Me: "How about I make you some of his oatmeal for breakfast."
Benjamin: Completely distressed look on his face.
Dylan: "Mmmmmm."