Thursday, August 30, 2007

Celebrity Status

Well, I may be 50 years old but I have finally had my 15 minutes of fame! My name was mentioned on the radio show at Mix FM 94.9 this morning. Mrs. Grant (AKA Lisa Zimprich, I have had both of her kids in Kindergarten) told Bobby and Brad that her son Jeremy had lost a tooth. He was so proud because he pulled it himself instead of letting Mrs. Bertoglio pull it at school. You know she is the tooth puller at Lineweaver! How is that for my flash in the pan???

splish splash

The water was the perfect temperature today, so we had a family swim. It took Ellena a bit to get used to the idea, but she immediately hammed it up for the camera.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Birthday Boy

Sister Ivy sent this photo of Scott yesterday. She is making brownies, without nuts, at his request for his birthday treat! I will forward the email of other pictures to everyone.

Monday, August 27, 2007

sounds good to me

"Mom, when I'm big like you and Dad, will I still get to be with you?"
"Seth, when you're an adult, you'll have your own family that you'll live with."
"But Mom! I want to stay with you and Dad!"
"You don't want to grow up and live with your own family?"
"Well, yes...I want to grow up but I want to stay with you and Dad."
"Okay Seth, that sounds good to me."

(Rather than argue, I decided to just agree with him. I'll bring this up when he's a teenager and anxious to move out and be on his own.)

Saturday, August 25, 2007


While I was perusing my pictures on my camera to be ready to print some to send to Scotty, I came across this one. I believe this was taken in the last few weeks before the Illinois Exodus. This was the pre-bedtime story with Papa in his chair bought especially for grandbaby purposes. We love you so Papa.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

just in case you wanted a better view of that combover...

this little darling can get you into a '98 camry for under 5k today!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

months in the making....

Today at the grocery store with Grandma as witness, Ellena was able to suck on her own toes! After months of cousin Jonas observations and daily baby yoga, she was able to accomplish this milestone in her life. That means no more fat jokes Aunt Tina. Ellena weighed in today at 17 lbs. 12 oz. She is in the 50-60th percentile for height and weight, but still the 95th percentile for head size. She loves to smile and laugh at everyone... she must understand it when people say she is so cute. Comb-over included.

Monday, August 20, 2007

disco ball

As my Kindergarteners were doing the Bean Bag Boogie, one of my boys said we really needed a disco ball for our dance!

a tribute to...(you know who you are)

Last night during the bedtime routine, Jon told Maryn it was time to get her teeth brushed. (She hates this.) She proceeded to walk over to the full length mirror we have hanging in our hallway and watch herself cry.

Sunday, August 19, 2007


I have been thinking a lot lately about language acquisition as I have been a first-hand witness over these past several months. It fascinates me that little toddlers learn how to conjugate verbs and create sentences simply by listening to others.Maryn has been speaking in full coherent sentences for quite a few months now, which is both to her advantage and my detriment. She is a feisty little girl who knows what she wants and doesn’t let herself be pushed around by anyone, including her older brother and me. She is also very, very sweet and a true girly-girl. Even before I had Jonas, she loved to wrap her “babies” (any stuffed animal) in “blankets” (any piece of fabric). She has more recently been very vocal about her preference for all things pink, Care Bears, Tinker Bell and wearing her pretty hair bows. Her absolute favorite song is “Twinkle, twinkle little star”. She sings this song to herself all the time when she thinks no one else is listening. When she hears the song played, either by a toy or by someone singing it, she immediately shrieks, “It’s my twinkle star!”

The following are some examples of Maryn’s adorable language.
- In general, she has a very pronounced lisp when she says words with “s” in the end: Sefferths (her brother’s nickname- Seffers), Care Bearsh (which actually ends up sounding like an “sh” sound rather than a “th” sound)
- She never says the “s” sound on words that begin with “sn”: 'nake (snake), 'now (snow), 'poon (spoon), and our favorite: 'nuggle (snuggle)
- She can identify all colors: wed, ornedge, yayo, geen, boo, puple, peenk, wipe (white- I think you can guess all of the others). She also loves to color pictures (I'm pretty sure this is how she learned all her colors).
- Since moving to Champain-Urbana (and even before!), whenever she sees the orange and blue University of Illinois "I" she says, "Oh-noy!" (Illinois).
- She calls her brothers Sefferths (as I mentioned before) and Bebe Donis (baby Jonas)
- She loves singing. Besides “Twinkle Star” she knows: “I Love You” (the Barney song), “The Wise Man and the Foolish Man” (with actions), “ABCs”, “I am a Child of God” among others. During our summer in Tucson, Jon noticed that if you sang the words to “Camptown Races”, at the end of the phrase, she would sing “Do-Da, Do-Da”. So cute. It would sound something like this:Me: Maryn is our favorite girlMaryn: Do-Da, Do-DaMe: She’s the best girl in the worldMaryn: Do-Da, Do-Da day
- Also, you can catch her singing the Star Wars theme song. Star Wars (and Lego Star Wars videogame), as you will read in Jon's recent post, are on at our house a lot lately. Jon is particularly proud of this one.
- If you call her anything: pretty, sweet, little, etc., she says, “I not a pretty (or sweet or little) girl, I "Meh-win".
- She is intrigued by bugs. When she finds one in the house, she tries to smack it with her hand and says “Got you bug!” (meanwhile Seth is running away screaming in terror). She makes no discrepancies between butterflies and fireflies and calls them both “fie-fies”.

I love my beautiful little girl.

p.s. Seth still has his moments too: He and Jon are watching Empire Strikes Back right now. When Luke first arrives in Dagobah, he tells Yoda that he is looking for a great warrior, Seth turned to Jon and said, "Dad, what is a great Oreo?" (Jon helped me with the SW details here.)

Friday, August 17, 2007

Theme song for Ellena!

Carlie and Trevor's girl and our granddaughter Ellena is just starting on solid food. Carlie and Ellena were over at the house today and we just started singing about this new stage in her life. So, I sat down and wrote some new words to an old song. Carlie gave it her seal of approval. Here it is:

(with apologies to Madonna)
Lyrics by David L. Bertoglio aka: “Papa”

(Sung to the tune of “Material Girl”)

My mom feeds me milk each morning, I guess that’s OK
But there’s a different kind of food, I just found out today

It is such a new sensation, don’t know what to think
You kind of chew, swirl it ‘round, it’s not something you drink

CHORUS: Now I am living in a solid food world
And I am such a cereal girl
Yes, I am living in a solid food world
And I am just a cereal girl

I can’t wait ‘til my nap’s over ‘cause I know there’ll be
A nice warm bowl of gooey rice meal waiting there for me

Mom can’t spoon it fast enough, my patience running thin
When she pulls the clean spoon out, a full one must go in!


They tell me that there’s more flavors; carrots, peas and beets
But just be careful, if I don’t like it, I’ll spit it on your feet!


Thursday, August 16, 2007

6 months old

I took Ellena today to get her 6 months pictures. We stopped by Dillards first and got this exceptionally cute dress. She was a reluctant smiler at first, but got going when the flashes started coming! She is so proud of herself when she rolls over that is was tricky to get her to stay on her tummy.

not to be outdone...

After I heard that cousin Ellena was sitting up on her own, I thought I should be practicing with Jonas. So I sat him up yesterday and surprise! He can sit up on his own! Of course anytime he reaches for anything, he falls, so we're still in the beginning stages. I also love these pitcures because they show what a smiler he is! Jonas smiles at everyone!

The surprise photographer behind the camera for this picture was Seth (he was very pleased with himself).

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

i don't want to eat it.... i just want to taste it

ellena is very ready for the eating stage of her life. she watches us drink, and wants to try it herself. unlike her cousin jonas, she loves her cereal. no matter how much she eats, she will always cry when it's gone. (why is the milk always gone?)

sitting up

Here is the new trick- sitting all by herself! I have to help set her legs to balance her, but she is a champ. She will sit until she sees something she wants, then she face-plants and wiggles and rolls until she gets it. What a bug.
After the 2nd full day of school, I can confidently say I am going to like my small class of 14 children! Even though a few kids may be spinning on the carpet, they are still sitting. A colleague has a little girl who has cried for a solid 2 days! I am blessed!

Funny story today from a former student's dad. Kenzie is in 2nd grade and I have her little sister this year. Mom was telling the girls they were born at St. Joseph's Hospital when they were driving by one day. Kenzie said, "First I lived in your tummy, then the hospital, then our house." Mom said, "You were in my uterus. Do you know what that is?" Kenzie said "Yes! And I know about Jupiter and Saturn too!" Her first grade teacher is so proud!


Monday, August 13, 2007

First Foods

I tried to give Jonas rice cereal for the first time last night (August 12). He didn't seem to like it very much. He would hold it in his mouth for a while and then spit it back at me "raspberry style". I tried again tonight, this time mixing it with applesauce, and he actually swallowed some (big suprise!).


You probably heard on the news about the Perseids meteor shower which took place over the weekend. Since Tucson is a light pollution ordinance controlled town, it is a pretty good place to star-gaze. We had a tough time convincing Rachel to join us since she had to be to work this morning at 5:30! But she came like a good soldier.

So we tossed some beach towels in the Pathfinder and headed east on Speedway a mile or so past Wentworth and pulled over to watch. Trouble is that the meteors were not supposed to be visible until after 10PM (we later found out that after 11 would have been better). We laid the towels out over the hood and all lay down to watch. It was a good while before we saw any action but finally did see a good number of shooting stars. After about 45 minutes Rachel was antsy to get home and Pat kept saying, "Just one more, just one more!"

As we looked into the heavens, the scripture came to me, "...worlds without number have I created".

Saturday, August 11, 2007


I am a vegan who eats meat. My friend brought me some treats yesterday from Trader Joe's that are non-dairy and non-egg, making them vegan. I love them since they are the only treat I can have in this no-milk phase in my life. Even the cherry chunk ice-cream tastes great. Although my taste buds could be tainted for not having real ice-cream in 4 months.

Egg Volcanoes

Seth loves eggs. He especially loves eggs that have a runny yolk. When we first started feeding them to him, I coined the name "egg volcano" to get him excited about the yummy yellow ooze that would come out of the egg when poked.

Since then, we have a ritual for eating them--a song really. Everyone in our family knows it. It's to the tune of "Woody's Roundup" from Toy Story 2:

Egg Volcanoes
Come on and eat some eggs
Egg Volcanoes
They're so good for your legs
Oh well, it's time for egg volcanoes
They're the very best
They're the rootin'-est tootin'-est 'canoes
In the Wild Wild West
Egg Volcanoooes.

It's a cute song. We all love to sing it. We've noticed, actually, that Maryn likes to sing it as well. We'll be driving along in the car and we'll hear her little voice in the back singing "egg bolcanoes..." it's cute.

You should sing it too.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Illinois odyssey

Our journey began last Wednesday morning as we left our house in Tucson a little after 7AM. Tina and Pat were in the minivan and Jon and I were in the big Penske truck towing his Honda Civic. We were in for a 11+ hour drive to Vega, Texas. In New Mexico, I told Jon that I wanted to stop and buy some Albuquerque Turkey jerky. He laughed but I told him not to because it only encouraged me! We had a great time listening to satellite radio as we drove. I was at the wheel and Jon was channel-surfing for good songs.

We got to Vega late and just wanted to get to bed. It rained that night which was a harbinger of future weather. It rained nearly our whole time in Texas which made freeway driving very nerve-wracking. On day 2 we were on the way to Springfield, MO by way of Oklahoma City. We were all very excited to stop for lunch at Toby Keith's "I Love This Bar And Grill" located in the "Bricktown" area of OKC. The food was good and we took lots of pictures (baby Jonas tried to eat his first French fry).

While there we discovered that the Murrah Building Memorial was just a mile away so we decided to go and were glad we did. It is a beautiful place, somber and serene. We came into a guided tour which had just begun and were amazed at the details of that horrendous attack on innocent men, women and children and the wonderful efforts and sacrifices of the rescue workers. While on the OKC freeway, we looked longing and lovingly at the Lawton exit knowing that is where our son Scott is faithfully serving his mission.

It seemed that almost as soon as we crossed the state line from Texas to Oklahoma, the rain stopped and the scenery turned green and lush. We noticed something there we will never see in Tucson, AZ; enormous lawnmowers cutting the grass which naturally grows in the median and along the sides of the road.

One of the challenges of driving such a long truck and trailer is that it is very difficult at times to negotiate turns, especially in close quarters. So when we arrived at the Springfield Comfort Inn (located, no kidding, on Evergreen St. fr all you Simpsons fans), I tried to circle the neighboring hotel to get back on the street but the lot did not go all the way around. I attempted to back up... well, suffice it to say that I sort of jackknifed and bent a piece of metal on the trailer. Not too serious but a lady who had just parked her car nearby and walked into the hotel came running back out when she heard the noise thinking I may have hit her car! So I just put it in drive and pulled out onto a lawn between the buildings and turned there. We had been about 10 hours on the road on day two.

The instructions for the truck said that we should only go 55 top speed. We maintained a pretty consistent speed of 63-64 MPH. But, of course, the van could travel upwards of 75-80 so we thought we would have to play catch-up most of the time but with their stops, we played passing leap-frog most of the time. Once, we had passed the van and soon it came up in the lane to our left. We look over and saw grandma Pat shooting us a fully-clothed "moon" against her passenger side window! As Jon and I laughed about it, I commented that it was a good thing it hadn't been a traditional "mooning" as poor Seth would have been scarred for life. Jon said Seth would not have been the only one scarred for life! I must say that Seth (4), Maryn (2) and baby Jonas did amazingly well on the whole 30 or so hours they were in their car seats. Just stops for potty, diaper changes and nursing. They did have their two-screen DVD movies running most of the time which kept their interest but still... Great kids!

We left Springfield heading toward Illinois and stopped in St. Louis to visit the Arch. In the first place, it is very hard finding a parking place not to mention driving a truck and trailer around streets originally designed for two-way buckboard traffic But we finally did park and hurried over to the arch with its air conditioning and restrooms! It is breathtaking but tickets for the trams which go to the top were not available for over two hours and we just couldn't wait that long. So we toured the very nice museum there and headed back to the vehicles. There and pretty much everywhere we stopped in the Midwest was hot and humid! Of course, this is not news to those familiar with that part of the country but we certainly weren't used to it! On Sunday Tina commented that she had always heard that Arizona was a "dry heat" and that now she understood what that meant!

We stopped for lunch at a unique McDonald's. It was built in an arch over the whole freeway. Pat was a little disconcerted eating while 18-wheelers rumbled under her feet! And to add to the discomfort, No A/C in the place! Ick.

On the last leg of our trip, Jon and I had a terrifying experience. We call it "the flying freeway tire of death". There was an older couple in a pickup towing a fifth-wheel. Now, this trailer had two axles and four tires. All of a sudden, the left rear trailer tire flies off and starts bouncing first onto the median and then into oncoming traffic. It bounced right near a car and mercifully, bounced over it and into the woods. It could have been bad! It did not appear that the driver knew anything was wrong and a car ahead of us rolled his passenger side window down and motioned to the driver of the pickup. Then an 18-wheeler that had seen everything, pulled in front of the pickup, put on its emergency flashers and started slowing. By now we were alongside the truck and I was going to try to box him in with the big rig but he indicated that he knew what had happened and began to pull over. As we passed, I saw the extra weight on the now one tire on the left and thought that he still might have trouble if the hub scraped the ground or the other tire blew... who knows? We were just glad to be in front of the guy and not behind anymore.

We finally arrived in Champaign in the late afternoon. We drove to the kids' new place and the landlady met us there with the keys. They live in a beautiful green, tree-lined neighborhood within sight of the playground of the local elementary school. We looked the place over, kind of wondering where we were going to fit all the stuff the next day. It is a type of a row house, four or five 3-level units in one building built maybe in the 1950's. There is a kind of small common back yard that slopes up to a back fence. At dusk, we saw something there that none of us except Pat had ever seen before... Fireflies! They were so cool! Jon said that it was a good omen! Well, except for later when we tried to turn the truck/trailer around in the cul-de-sac. There was one car in the way which prevented me from making the turn. So we had to back the Honda off the trailer, swing the trailer around, move the truck and reconnect the trailer empty. We then unhooked it in the corner of the Catholic church parking lot across the street where it stayed until Monday when Jon took the rig back.

The next morning, we headed over to the house early and got ready to unload. At 9AM the first ward member, an older brother, arrived to help us unpack. We got a bit worried hoping that someone else would show up! Of course, they did; 10 brothers including two missionaries. These two were a kind of unlikely pair. One was way over 6 feet tall and the other was a short redhead who did not look nearly old enough to be serving a mission! But we were glad for the help! Especially when they did not seem to mind carrying boxes up and down stairs.

After about 1 1/2 hours, all the stuff was inside and we set about putting it away! Pat noticed right away that in order to use the bathroom, you had to either go upstairs to the bedroom level or downstairs to the basement. She suggested to Tina a chamber pot for the main level! The rooms are small, there is no outlet in the upstairs bathroom, the lever in the tub that drains the water and lets it fill up creeps up during your shower and fills the tub, some of the outlets are not three-pronged. Just a few of the minor irritations of an older house. That night Tina's visiting teachers brought over dinner (soft tacos) and pie and ice cream for dessert! Yum!

Their ward is very friendly. Tina was a little disconcerted that everybody already seemed to know her name! Seth did great in Primary, Maryn not so great in Nursery, at least for now. After church and a delicious chicken cacciatore dinner, we drove over to the campus and walked around. It is gorgeous! Lots of green grass, old, established trees and stately buildings with white trimmed and paned windows.

At last, it was time for Jon to drive us to the Indianapolis airport for our flight home. It was a very teary scene for Pat and me. Tina held on till the end and cried a little. The kids really don't understand. I wish we had called the airline because our flight was delayed an hour, which we could have spent with the kids! Before we left, I found myself alone downstairs and I said a quick prayer to this effect: "Heavenly Father, please watch over our kids, especially now that they are so far from home." Then a thought occurred to me, they ARE home. This is their time and their adventure. Before they left we bought webcams so we can stay in visual touch.

Here is a postscript. We sat next to a clean cut young man on the plane from Indy. In conversation we found out that he was a soldier had just ended an 18 day furlough and was headed back to Ft. Riley in Kansas to return to duty in Iraq. He explained that he was stationed in a FOB (forward operations base) pretty much in the middle of the action. He had already lost 4 friends in combat. We expressed our support and admiration for his service. Pat noticed he was a little teary-eyed at one point and was looking at photos of home on his cell phone. She also got emotional thinking we had just left our kids in Illinois but that they would be safe there. She felt a great empathy for the mother of this boy (he was a boy to us). It sort of put our puny-in-comparison "trials" in perspective.