Monday, August 29, 2011

Hebgen 2011 and Bar Stories Part II

We spent another nice vacation this year up at the cabin. But before we could go up there I had to get the Utah Bar Exam out of the way. Funny story about that (but not funny at the time). The night before the first day I got almost no sleep, thanks in large part to some recent changes to Utah’s fireworks laws. Apparently you can now set off fullblown bombs and missiles for nearly the entire month of July. Thank you Tea Party. So, going into the first day I was already sleep deprived.

The next night I climbed into bed around 10:00 pm in order to get a solid night’s rest before the second full day of testing. My parents were out of town and April was hanging out with a friend so I was all alone. As I was starting to doze off, the doorbell rang. I got dressed, went down stairs, and opened the door. There was no one there. I climbed back into bed started to drift off. The doorbell rang again. I climbed back out of bed, got dressed again, and looked out again. Nothing but darkness. This could only mean one thing: doorbell ditchers! (either that or the Raven). Let’s just say that these kids clearly picked the wrong house with the wrong guy in it on the wrong night.

I slipped out the back door and hid in the bushes near the front yard. When the teenagers struck a third time, I pounced. I caught up with them after about a block. I didn't know I was in that good of shape. When I finally caught the little neighborhood punks, they were a bit taken aback by the extent of my fury. After a very “nice” long chat that included a discussion of the ramifications of trespassing (I was fresh up on the elements after all) they decided that they would not doorbell ditch me any more. The next day I finished the bar about 40 minuets early. They wouldn't let us leave before time was called so I took a nap right there in the test hall. I was that tired. Suffice it it to say I have never been so glad to get away to the cabin.IMGP1812


This year was particularly fun because we had the entire extended Garff Family up there, including our friends, the Brays, who came all the way from England.IMGP1743


Now that I see the picture, I realize that he didn't like this very much.




William really liked the frog we caught. It hung out on the top of his head.


Now whenever we say the word “frog” he points to his head. He also now puts his stuffed animal frog on top of his head. I guess he has figured out that the top of his head is where frogs go.


While at the cabin William discovered that he loves boats. He has been obsessed with them ever since. He calls everything that looks like a boat, “boat” and he pushes his toys around the carpet making boat sound effects. William’s namesake observed that this boat infatuation is a “genetic flaw,” all Garff’s seem to have it.



Can’t wait till next year.


Sunday, August 21, 2011

The LA Zoo, Elliott Smith, and time travel


We spent Saturday at the LA Zoo. William was happy to see Reggie the famous "LAgator."


But of all the animals in the whole zoo: tigers, giraffes, bears, monkeys,etc.,William’s favorite animal (by far) was the monitor lizard.



It’s true. He waived to it, talked to it, and didn't want to leave. He also liked the goat.


Unfortunately, the goat didn't like him. This next shot was taken just as the goat decided to head-butt William.


William took it in stride, but kept his distance form the goats from there on out.



After the zoo we swung back home through Silver Lake for a couple of pilgrimages.

First stop, the mural on the cover of “Figure 8” by the late Elliott Smith.IMGP1877

Fans repainted it a few weeks ago in order to clean up the graffiti for his birthday. They even added a stencil of Smith's visage.IMGP1879

Second stop, the Echo Park Time Travel Mart. IMGP1882

As far as I know this is the only time travel supply shop this side of the spacetime continuum.


The sign reads, “Whenever you are, we’re already then.”


Thursday, August 18, 2011

Silly Billyness: Hoover

I swear, this kid has crazy obsessions.  If William isn’t asking for a banana 4 times a day, he’s asking for me to vacuum. It got to be so much, that we finally gave in and got him a toy vacuum of his own a few months ago. He played with it constantly for several weeks, and “vacuum” (I can’t even begin to describe how he pronounces it, the sounds aren’t actually in our language, lol) was usually his first word of the morning (though, luckily now, he’s moved onto Momma or Dadda).

Like Mother, like son.

A belt broke on our vacuum, so until the new one came in the mail, I got out our tiny one that we keep as a spare. Liam would have none of that.  He knew that wasn’t his vacuum.

Though oddly enough, whenever we go to someone’s home, Silly Billy can ALWAYS find the vacuum.  Sometimes he’s even lucky enough for the vacuum to be out of the closet. He even remembered where the Reynolds’ keep there vacuum, even though it had been a month since he’d been there. Our trip to Grandma Karen’s house in SLC proved to be heaven---not only were there several vacuums Liam found, but also a steam cleaner and dust buster (William was obviously aware of their relation).


Seriously, we vacuum several times a day, mostly just to appease this kid, though it does have the added side benefit of picking up dirt and dog hair.

Sunday, William found an ad in the paper for our vacuum, and couldn’t believe his good luck! He carried that paper around for what seemed like hours. You can see it at his feet while he is “fixing” our vacuum hose.

Fixing the vacuum

Our Silly Billy has even started mimicking the vacuum sound. If you listen closely at the beginning, you can hear his “word” for his favorite toy.

Silly Billy and his vacuum obsession

We thought he’d grow out of it, but over 6 months later, the vacuum obsession is still growing stronger than ever. I suppose it could be worse---he could prefer to run around naked or bring bugs into the house like other almost-two-year-olds I’ve known.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Celebrity Sightings

I’ve never been particularly popular, but every time we go to UT, I feel like a celebrity.  We have more things to do and people to see than time to do it.  Every spare minute was filled with summer activities and excitement. Even a last minute sick cancellation got filled up pretty fast. Without nap time, we wouldn’t have had any down time at all.

We were lucky enough to be booted from a stay in the condo on the drive up and had to make alternative arrangements----this meant an overnight stay with the Reynolds in Vegas! I love how months can go by and we’re still friends like it’s been no time at all.

Our first few hours in Utah were filled with Kemp family fun. We had a Pioneer day potluck and firework show.


Every single member of my immediate family was there (and also a few cousins, too), with the exception of Elder John in Costa Rica.  With 25 of us, this was no small feat.

 IMGP1691IMGP1703Unfortunately, none of the pictures from that evening turned out well, but trust me, we had a blast.

But it may have been too much fun.  Liam had a hard time sleeping that night and seemed like he had a fever.  He would cry unless I was holding him.  Since this was the middle of the night and we were both tired, he ended up in our bed (something that hadn’t happened since our trip last summer). I was finally able to sneak away around 7 or 8 am and took this gem of my two boys:Sleepy

Gotta love the belly on that little guy. I LOVE how cuddly and sweet my toddler is. Even still, he likes to cuddle after he wakes, sometimes we’ll just sit in the rocking chair for an hour.

Between the BAR and other activities, the next few days were totally packed.

My little brother Peter and I ran the Deseret 10K together. The last time we raced together, it was a mile fun run at his elementary school when he was in Kindergarten and I was 14. We won (it was around an 8-9 minute mile from what I remember).


Peter stayed with me for all but the last mile, and finished only a minute behind me.  He beat out his cross-country team members he was supposed to run with (guess it’s good we ran together, then). We were able to visit my old cross-country coach as well---apparently, Peter and I do the same head tilt when we get tired.


My brother Arthur and I took Liam to the park while Steven was busy studying. Liam headed straight for some other kid’s bike. Surprise, surprise.  It’s no wonder it’s his favorite word.  We have to go on a bike ride nearly every day.


No trip to UT is complete without a Man Basket activity.  We took the babies swimming in the morning, and met for an evening frozen yogurt and Jordan Landing exploration.


Man Basket Society


Mom and Liam

While Steven was taking the BAR, we used our time in Utah to visit friends and family. One of my good friends from middle/high school, Laura, took the opportunity to take our children to Wheeler Farm.  It was a big hit. Wheeler FarmOur next item of business will to be to take Liam to the LA Zoo with our new season pass. Gotta love Groupon---it cost us less than $30.

Liam was particularly fond of being able to celebrate Traci and Abby’s birthday. Normally, he’s an awesome eater, but for some reason, he really only ate junk food on this trip.Abby's Ice Cream Party

We saw almost everyone we wanted to, and to those we missed (i.e. Betsy, Angie, Anna, etc.), we are deeply sorry. One day, we hope to move back here and can see you all the time.

The way home from the cabin (post coming soon) had to be a 3-day trip. Oh joy.  I had run out of blood thinners and wasn’t allowed to be in the car for more than 4-5 hours. It was especially hard since Steven had sprained his ankle so Liam and I had to switch off driving so I could prop up my legs.

Long Drive

This lucky break gave us extra time in SLC to see my family, and an impromptu morning with Donovan, Cortney, Elanor, and Stella. We almost convinced them to come back to CA with us, but Donovan figured that he had better go to work instead. Bummer.

My brother Philip and his family stayed at our place in CA while we were at the cabin. Steve had borrowed a watch from my mom and we met up for lunch in Vegas to get it back to her. We had to miss Abby’s baptism that weekend since Steve was taking the MPRE in LA the next day. Liam ate his entire Happy Meal and spent the rest of the time pointing out all the “bikes”.

Stop in Vegas

I probably say this every time, but visiting makes me want to move back to Utah. It would be nice to get to see you guys up there anytime we want instead of cramming it all in a few days of craziness. And being able to afford a house and having family to watch William once and awhile would be a nice perk, too. There are lots of things I love about SoCal, but it’s never really felt like home.  Hopefully one day, we’ll be there.