Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Thomas Donald Lanphear Jr.

I had wanted to do this post to remember Tom on his birthday, but I just haven't had time until now. As many of you know, Paul's brother Tom was killed in a car accident just over two years ago. He would have been 37 this year. It was a huge shock and a tragic loss. Tom was a really good person. Tom and Paul were very close in age and shared many experiences growing up. It was, and still is, so difficult for Paul. Paul has said that growing up, he can't remember very many times when he and Tom weren't together.
When Paul and I were dating we used to hang out with Tom fairly frequently. He and Paul would take their parents little Dodge Colt and come out to pick me up sometimes. Once when they picked me up, Paul was really upset with Tom because he has spilled a huge Slurpee while they were driving and it got on Paul, but not Tom. Tom was able to laugh at the situation (unlike his brother). We went to the first Lollapallooza with Tom, my sister Amie and her friend Sage. It was August in Phoenix at Compton Terrace. In other words, it was H-O-T hot! We had a blast anyway!
As time went on and we grew up and got jobs and whatnot, we didn't spend as much time together. We both really reget that we didn't spend more time together. Tom was such a wonderful person. One thing that we admire in Tom is that he was kind. He was always willing to help anyone. We miss him terribly.

Catching Up

I know I've been slacking off on my blogging recently. I've been really busy... REALLY busy. In addition to all of the holiday preparations, my latest class, Research Design, began this month. It's a tough one, but after this class I only have 2 more to go and I'll have my M.Ed. Of course, I'll be expecting you all to join me in lovely Plymouth, NH for my commencement from Plymouth State University, which I believe will be in August. Just kidding! :) It does look like a lovely town, but I doubt I'll be going. I am very much looking forward to being done with school for a while. It seems like I've been taking classes forever!

So, I'm trying to get some blogging in that I've been meaning to do over the past month. I hope everyone has a great New Year!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Celine Dion

Last night Paul and I took our moms to see Celine Dion. We planned it as a surprise. In fact, we bought tickets over a year ago! My mom figured it out a while ago, but Paul's mom was really surprised. When he told her we were going to Jobing.com Arena, she was excited because she thought we were going to a hockey game! After we got there, Paul finally told her.
We had great seats, 3rd row one the floor, but it was more like the second row because there was only one row of seats in front of us. Mohammed Ali was there, Celine introduced him, they shined the spotlight on him up on the club level, and he got a standing ovation. (Our seats were better than his!)
Now, I know many of you are thinking that I don't seem like a Ceine Dion fan. Generally, I listen to alternative music, not because it is labeled as alternative music, but because I like the way it sounds. The same holds true for Celine. I don't really care what genre her music is, she has great songs and an incredible voice.
That being said. Celine is an awesome performer. Her voice is just as good live as it is on studio recordings. She's very personable and really puts on a great show. This is actually the second time I've seen her, we saw her when she was in Vegas at Caesar's Palace as well. She sang most of my favorite songs, I Drove All Night, Because You Loved Me, To Love You More, a few covers, All By Myself, Alone (by Heart), and a few new songs. The only song she didn't sing that I wish she would have was A New Day.
Anyway, she puts on an incredible performance and we wanted to something special for our moms for Christmas to let them know how much we love and appreciate them. It was great to spend the evening with our mothers at such an amazing concert. I would have some pictures of us, but I forgot my camera!

Thursday, November 27, 2008


We went to Grandma and Grandpa Lanphear's for Thanksgiving dinner. It was fabulous! Lots of great food and good company! Of course, I forgot my camera, so I don't have any pictures to post of the fabulous feast. Needless to say, we all ate way too much. They boys each had two slices of pumpkin pie, although Hunter didn't have much to eat other than pie. Paul's cousing Jim figured out how to make fast friends with Hunter, Dakota too, by showing them a Star Wars video on his iphone. It was really great to see everyone.

Since it's Thanksgiving, here are some of the things I am thankful for (in no particular order):
Paul. He really is my soulmate and my hero. After nearly seventeen years of marriage, I sometimes forget to let him know how much he means to me. He is a really amazing person. He's a great father and husband and I don't know what I would do without him.

My kids. They are exhausting, but they are the light of my life. I am so proud of them and what great people they are turning out to be. They never cease to amaze me. They are smart and creative and I know that they will do great things in life.

My parents, in-laws, sister, sisters and brothers in-laws and their kids. I love them all so much. I wish we could spend more time together, but am grateful for the time we do get to spend with them. My nieces and nephews are all amazing kids, too, and I am so proud of them.

My students. Yes, that's right, my students. Some of them can be incredibly frustrating... okay, most of them are incredibly frustrating a good portion of the time. However, I have come to realize how important teachers can be in the lives of students. Even those students who seem not to care and seem to do everything in their power to sabotage their own education, deserve a chance. I think I am learning as much from them as they are learning from me.

In these trying times, I am also thankful that we have a roof over our head, food on the table and jobs to go to (knock on wood).

And most importantly, we have each other.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Bed Head

I'm not really sure what Hunter is doing in his sleep lately, but he has been waking up with some major bed-head. This is what he looked like this morning! Of course, when I told him I wanted to get a picture of his crazy hair, he had to go and get two light sabers to be in the picture with him!

The Princess and the Bowling Ball

Our nephew Steve was in his first play on Friday. He is an 8th grader at Smith Jr. High and his beginning drama class did a great production. Each group selected their own childrens story and adapted it to the stage. Steve's group chose The Princess and the Bowling Ball which was a parody of The Princess and the Pea. They did a great job! We are so proud of him. Steve played the prince and he is a natural. I hope he remembers all of us when he becomes a movie star! (The costume was great, too! It was very authentic, except for the footware!) We love you, Steve.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Potty Talk

Grandma Phipps took Dakota and Hunter for some quality time on Tuesday. She took them to the park for a picnic and duck feeding and back to her house to play. They had a great time. She told me about this conversation she had with Dakota... Dakota told her that he had had diarrhea. She asked him "where did that come from?". Dakota thought about it for a few seconds and told her "it came from my butt". This demonstrates the importance of thinking about the question you are going to ask before you actually ask it. :)

In other potty news, last night Hunter went pee on the potty. It's not the first time, he will sometimes go at Miss Elaine's (his sitter), but he usually refuses to go for us. We don't believe in forcing the issue, but it would be nice if we didn't have to by diapers and pull-ups anymore. He was super excited and yelled "I went pee on the potty!" then gave us all high fives.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Jasmine Korina Lanphear

Today is our beautiful daughter's birthday. Jasmine Korina Lanphear was born November 9, 1993. She was born 5 weeks early as the result of a car accident. She weighed 5 lbs 15 oz. and was 19 inches long. She had lots of beautiful dark hair that looked like it might have a few curls. Both she and I were severely injured in the accident, but her injuries were far worse. The impact ruptured my uterus and the placenta abrupted, leaving her without oxygen for too long. The doctors did everything they could, but it was too late. Our precious little girl passed away on November 11, 1993. Jasmine was our first born. We miss her so much. Today she would be 15. It's hard to believe that many years have gone by. Every year on her birthday, I think I am doing okay, but it always hits me. I think of her everyday and what she would be doing. She would be in the 9th grade this year. What would she look like? What would she enjoy doing? I grieve for my daughter and all that we should have, but don't. Hunter is still too young to understand, but Dakota speaks of Jasmine often. We have told him about her. Sometimes, especially at night, he will cry and tell me that he misses Jasmine and wishes that she didn't have to die. I wish she didn't have to die, too.

Lost Tooth!

Friday November 7 was the day Dakota finally lost his first tooth! He lost it during lunch at school. He bit into an apple and it came out. He said he forgot his tooth was loose and it just fell out. It didn't even hurt! He was able to save it in a Ziploc bag and didn't loose it before school got out. Which is good, he has a tendency to take things out of his back pack to show his friends and lose them! He got two dollars from the tooth fairy. A bit less than the ten dollars he was originally expecting, but he was still thrilled.

Election Day

Dakota was very excited about election day. In fact, he was looking forward to it for weeks! He asked us who we were voting for. When we told him we would be voting for Obama, he of course decided that he was an Obama supporter, too. He was always listening to the news and taking in as much election information as a first grader can. They even had an election in his class. He said that 16 kids voted for Obama and 9 for McCain.
When we got up Wednesday morning and we told Dakota that Obama won, he was so excited! We were excited, too. Not only because he is the candidate that we supported, but because of how far this country has come. It is not that long ago that people who did not have white skin had to drink from separate drinking fountains, ride on the back of the bus and attend separate schools and now we will have a president who is black.
I was extremely disappointed when I got to school Wednesday morning and heard what my high school students had to say. Many students made remarks about Obama being shot, saying he is Arab, not a US citizen, I even heard a comment about Kool-Aid! It is really disheartening to witness such a momentous event, only to hear those hateful comments. Anyone who thinks racism isn't alive and well is mistaken. We have always tried to make sure that our kids understand that it doesn't matter where a person is from, what color their skin is or what language they speak. Unfortunately, it is only a matter of time before our kids are exposed to these hateful beliefs. I only hope that our influence will continue to be strongest.

Halloween '08

We had a great Halloween this year for a couple of reasons. The first being that I actually got to participate this year. Last year I was super sick with a very severe case of strep throat, so severe that I had to be hospitalized the next day! I couldn't even get out of bed Halloween night, so I missed out on all of the festivities. It takes a lot to keep me from celebrating with my goblins!
This year began with a field trip to Schnepf Farms for Dakota. I was able to chaperone and it was a very special day for the two of us. He was so excited when I went to his classroom, he ran up and gave me a hug. He wanted to tell me about EVERYTHING in the classroom. I got to ride the bus and he was even excited to sit with me. The kids had a blast even though pretty much all they did was go on the rides. Dakota was so exhausted, he fell asleep on the way back... and the school bus is a pretty bumpy ride!
After school we carved Jack O' Lanterns and put out Halloween decorations. Paul tries to bring home some of his "toys" from school to use for the extra effects. This year we had a fog machine, a strobe light, black lights and spooky sounds effects. It turned out pretty cool, except the strobe light made me kind of sick to my stomach! The boys dressed up as (you guessed it) Star Wars characters. Hunter was Darth Vader and Dakota was a Clone Trooper. Of course, both costumes involved some extra gear, a light saber, and a gun, which Paul and I ended up carrying. Grandma Phipps came over to hand out candy so both Paul and I were able to go out trick or treating.
The boys made out pretty good, they filled up their buckets despite the fact that there were several vacant (i.e. forclosed) homes in our neighborhood and they only made it up two streets before they decided they couldn't walk anymore. One of the neighbors up the street from us set out a bunch of stuff for a garage sale, figuring they would capitalize on the foot traffic, but didn't hand out candy! When the kids went up to them they said "Sorry, we handed out candy at the HOA picnic last week." How lame is that? I hope they got a trick!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Intoxicating Aroma of Dog Kibble?

We have a fairly regular ritual in our house that has been going on for years. Every night Paul takes the boys out to feed the dogs. Each of them get s a cup of dog food and carries it from the garage to the back door. Lately, Hunter has decided that dog kibble smells really, really good. I was sitting on the couch the other day. On his way to the back door, he brought the cup of dog food and stood in front of me. He took a giant whiff and said "Mmmmmm, 'mell Mom, 'mell!" (he doesn't say the "s" in smell) I tried to politely decline, but was incredibly persistant. Reluctantly, I took a very small sniff. It smells just the way I remembered and it definitely didn't smell good! Dakota used to like to smell my scented candles... Hunter likes to smell dog kibble!

Star of the Week: Day 2

On the 2nd day as Star of the Week, Dakota got to choose a book to bring in and read to the rest of the class. He mentioned that he wanted to bring a Star Wars book (of course), but I pointed out to him that it would be difficult for him to read and if even if Mrs. Nelson read it, she probably would not be able to finish the book because it is so long. He chose I'm Taking a Trip on My Train. It's a great book with lots of good rhyming. I think we got it from a Scholastic book order when he was in pre-school. He had memorized a lot of it when we first started reading it, but now he is actually able to decode most of the words!
This is the email that we received from his teacher this afternoon: "Hi Lanphears,Dakota did a great job reading his special book the class today! Awesome!Mrs. Nelson"

Monday, October 27, 2008

Star of the Week!

Okay, one last post tonight. (It's been a busy week... and it's only Monday!) Dakota was chosen as "Star of the Week" in his class. The teacher randomly chooses a name. Even though it is an honor based purely on chance, it is incredibly important to the kids. They bring home a folder and a special bag and have something special all about them each day. Today Dakota got to bring in items to share with the class, like a show and tell. He chose to bring in a light saber and Star Wars cards (do you see a theme here? it seems like our family revolves around Star Wars!).


I was trying to get a picture of Hunter refusing to eat his dinner for this post, but as soon as he saw me with the camera, he had to run over and get his Star Wars gun! Oh well... maybe someday I will be able to get some candid shots that don't have anything to do with Star Wars.

Hunter has become incredibly difficult and picky, especially around dinner time. He will hardly eat anything and then wants Daddy to "help him". Which basically means to feed him (how we regressed back to that is a whole other story, and Daddy, albeit, well meaning, instigated this new ritual).

Tonight we had my best attemp at Chipotle burritos. They turned out pretty good, but not nearly as good as Chipotle. Hunter, of course, made us scrape everything off of the tortilla so he could eat it plain. While I was doing the dishes, Paul was helping him eat some of the filling. When Paul tried to get him to eat the rice, Hunter said "OOOOOO, THAT WILL MAKE YOU SICK!" He has had rice before, and he did like it! And just for the record, it DID NOT make anybody sick! :)

Loose tooth!

About 3 years ago, when he was about 3 1/2, Dakota saw an episode of Calliou in which a kid gets a loose tooth. He immediately started feeling around in his mouth for loose teeth. He would constantly tell me about his "loose tooth", which was never the same tooth and sometimes more than one tooth and there definitely was never a loose tooth. This went on for several months, constantly, until he finally found something else to think about. And even after he became preoccupied with other things, every so often he would still tell me he had a loose tooth. He has been waiting for a loose tooth for 3 years.

Yesterday, 10/26/08 was the day. Dakota FINALLY has a loose tooth. I came home from the grocery store to the announcement. Apparently, there were some issues and some tears, but by the time I got home it was just excitement. His first idea was that the tooth fairy will bring him $10. I told him that I thought that was a little high and he told me then she would bring him $8. I'm not sure exactly what a tooth goes for these days, but I don't think inflation has brought the rate up to $10... or even $8 for that matter!

It's the one on the bottom left (your left, not his), on the left side of the small gap. The tooth has always been a little bit crooked, so when I asked Paul which tooth, he told me the crooked one. Dakota then told me it was his "cavity tooth". He has never had a cavity (knock on wood) so I'm not sure why he gave it that name. If I were a dentist, or a dental assistant for that matter, I could give you a number for the tooth, but I'm not, so I can't. I'll keep you posted on the progress.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Report Card

We are so proud of Dakota. We had his parent teacher conference and got his report card for the first quarter of first grade a couple of weeks ago. He got all 3's and 4's (Mesa uses the number system for grades, just like they did when I attended school in Mesa a FEW years ago in 5th-7th grade). He did get one "2", for demonstrates self-control, which was due to the fact that he needs to talk about everything. Mrs. Nelson mentioned that it seems to be that he gets so excited about nearly everything, he just needs to ask a question or make a comment and he forgets to raise his hand. His behavior (and by behavior, I mostly mean talking) has really improved this year. He has only been on "yellow" 2 or 3 times this whole year, and green the rest of the days! Academically, he is doing great. He is very smart, as if you didn't already know! He loves math and science... and pretty much all of the other subjects, too!
Dakota is such a great kid. I hear from people all of the time what a big impact he has on them. Mrs. Nelson mentioned that everyone looks forward to seeing Dakota, he talks to everyone and his enthusiasm about everything can be contagious. She loves how he gets so excited about classroom activities and always wants to actively participate. The cafeteria workers love seeing him, apparently he gets very excited about the choices at lunch, as well! Last year when he was in Kindergarten in AJ, the district where Paul and I work, I brought him to school and walked him to his class. He knew everyone we encountered: other kids his age, older kids, teachers, playground aides, all of them said "hi" to him. Towards the end of his kindergarten year, the district started advertising a summer science program for elementary aged kids. I had never met the teacher who was running it, in fact I think she was at one of the middle schools. When I emailed her with a question about whether it would be appropriate for "my son" (those were my words, I didn't use his name) because he was so young, she replied back "You don't know me, but I know Dakota!" At the beginning of this school year, the ELL (English Language Learner) teacher asked me, "Is Dakota your son?". I told her he was, and she said she knew him, too! When he was in baseball, the parents and coaches from the other teams were always rooting for Dakota. He is such a special kid, he really does put a smile on the face of everyone he meets!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Hunter is 3!

Hunter's 2nd Birthday
Hunter's 1st Birthday. I think he actually ate an entire piece of cake! You can kinda tell by the look on his face!

From a beautiful baby...
To my handsome, little man.
Hunter's 3rd Birthday (thanks to Kevin and Amanda for the Darth Vader costume!)
We celebrated Hunter's 3rd birthday last Saturday. It was a blast. He had such a great time. As you can tell, he is obsessed with Star Wars, a gene which he inherited from his dad (Dakota got that gene as well). He is such a great kid, but he's growing up so fast! He was not just a big baby, but a HUGE baby. At 4 months he was over 20 lbs! At 18 months, he was almost the exact height and weight that Dakota was at 3 years! He is no longer that yummy, chubby little baby, but he is still quite tall for his age. There are so many things we love about Hunter.
He loves to jump, we can't go through a parking lot or the mall without him looking for something to jump over. I think it's a Tigger thing. Even though he is obsessed with Star Wars (he frequently tells me he is Anakin) he still loves Tigger and Winnie the Pooh.
He has a great sense of humor. He came up with this joke on his own. He says, "Knock, knock". We say, "Who's there?" He says, "Pumkinhead, ahahahahahaha!" He doesn't quite get the punchline, but he cracks us up nonetheless!
Although he does have his moments, he is generally happy and pretty well-behaved. We can take him pretty much anywhere and he seems to enjoy himself.
He still sleeps with his blankey and Snoopy, and when he starts to get tired he still asks for them. Snoopy is a stuffed animal that Daddy brought back from a school trip to California 2 years ago. Blankey (aka Bah) is a crocheted baby blanket that Paul's and Cindy actually made for Dakota. He has loved it since he was a baby!
When I drop him off at the Elaine's (his sitter), one of the other kids she watches calls me mommy. He always responds, and very forcefully I might add, "NO KENDA, that's not your mommy, that's MY mommy." That's my boy!
He loves his big brother and wants to do EVERYTHING that his brother does. He really thinks that he can do pretty much anything.
When he watches any kind of Star Wars show, he always has his light sabers and re-enacts the light saber seens along with the characters. If I'm sitting there with him, he will give me a light saber and watches to make sure that I am doing the right moves. When they start swinging the light sabers on t.v., he says "Shoot, Mom, shoot!"
Whenever I go somewhere, he ALWAYS wants to go with me. Even though I can't always take him, it makes me feel good that he wants to be with me. I'm sure he'll outgrow it be the time he's twelve.

Monday, September 29, 2008


I figured it was about time I posted a blog on our family life. That's right, five years after everyone else started blogging, I'm leaping right in. Hopefully, this will be a good way to keep in touch with our friends and family who we don't see as often as we would like.

I was inspired to begin blogging when I read an article in the newspaper about a young mother, Stephanie Nielson, who suffered horrific burns following a small plane crash in Northern Arizona in August. She started a blog to keep in touch with family, but touched many lives of people she had never met through her blog. She is currently in critical condition in the burn unit of the Maricopa Medical Center. She has burns over 80% of her body and has been through many surgeries.Her husband was also critically injured in the crash. They have four young children who are now living with relatives (read her story here http://blog.cjanerun.com/ ).

Through a blog about Stephanie, I learned of another young mother, Carol Decker, who suffered sepsis from a strep infection during her pregnancy. As a result of the infection and the treatments to keep her alive, she had both legs, her left arm and her right ring finger amputated. She has also lost her vision. The baby is doing well. (read her story here: http://sccsdecker.blogspot.com/2008/06/synopsis.html )

While I have never met either of these women, I found their stories to be so compelling. They are both strong women who love their children dearly. I found their stories to be such an inspiration! It reinforces how lucky I am to have the wonderful family that I have. I am so grateful that I am able to spend each day with my children and my husband.

Both of these women have huge medical bills at this point and their blogs have many ways that we can help support them financially. I encourage you to support them if possible. They have huge struggles ahead of them and the financial aspect of their treatment is the last thing they should have to worry about during their recoveries.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008