I feel the earth move under my feet . . .

Today we experienced the first earthquake of any real significance since we moved here to southern California in September '06. I have to say it left me a little queasy. And not just by thinking of how bad it could have been; we had hanging lights swinging and the blow-up pool jiggling, and we lost 2 jars of spaghetti sauce (I probably shouldn't stack those, huh?), but we didn't experience any lasting damage. Rather I actually got a little sick to my stomach once the shaking stopped. Who knew sea-sickness (or is that land-sickness?) was a side effect of earthquakes? The epicenter of the magnitude 5.4 quake was about 28 miles north of us, outside of Chino Hills. It only lasted 20-30 seconds and we haven't felt any of the after shocks. The shaking made Jack a little nervous and he spent the next hour or so outside, watching for the next one to start. Hopefully he'll have to watch for a good long time before we have another trembler.


Addison is Nuts! (or is that 9?)

Addy has finally reached that milestone of 9 years breathing. Whew! Sometimes with all the talking she does I'm afraid she'll forget to inhale. Luckily she loves to read, and reading requires a blissful break from the motormouth:)

So, all about Addison. She just finished 3rd grade and can't wait to get right back to it. School really is her element, especially since being placed in the GATE program. She's no longer that one weird kid in her class that wants to play "inventor" instead of "Hello Kitty" or "Pokemon". Instead she's now in a class full of weirdos who are proud of being weirdos and don't care who knows it. I've really been impressed with how kind and supportive of each other they are. You'd figure they'd all be competitive and intense, but rather they cheer each other on and share in each other's accomplishments. Since she'll be with this same group of kids through 6th grade I sure hope the dynamic remains.

Addy's favorite things. As stated above, she loves books. Addy loves stories that most would consider spooky or macabre. Monster House, Harry Potter, Ghost Whisperer, Corpse Bride, Series of Unfortunate Events, etc. Her favorite TV shows deal with the human body, particularly if it is on a medical examiner's slab. She loves to draw, paint, and create sculptures - especially from items salvaged from my recycle bin. She loves fish and sea life - she's gone so far as to take each of her betta to school for sharing. DON'T talk about fish dying or being eaten while she is in the room. Her sad face will quickly appear, along with red eyes and quiet sobs. She's indicated that she plans on being a marine biologist when she grows up, but I've promised her a salt-water aquarium as a dental school graduation gift. She wants one so badly she may actually go that far.

Addy's gifts. She's one smart cookie, a little too smart for her own good, if you ask me. She's an excellent communicator - through drawing or writing, but most particularly through speech. (She gets her verbosity from her father.) Addy also relates so very well to people. She charms the grown-ups and engages the little ones. She makes friends very easily, although I think she may leave them a little confounded with all the talking. She's kind and she's genuine, and she cares about the most important things in life.

You make me proud Addy Paddy Puddin' n Pie. I love you . . .


Introducing Franklin

He's now a month old so I figured it was time to give some details on the newest member of our family. Franklin (or Sketch) now weighs in at 10 pounds 6 ounces. He's 22 1/2 inches long and sleeps at pretty inopportune times, ie, not at night. So, needless to say, I'm tired. His siblings are completely enamoured, to the point of near smothering. Addy wants to hold him all the time, Jack wants to carry him (SCARY), and Ellie thinks he always needs at least one more blanket to cover his face.
So far I think he looks most like Addison did as a baby. His hair is not quite as dark and not nearly as long, but it's closer than Ellie or Jack's was. As far as I can tell, Sketch has a dimple on each cheek. He's hasn't given an official smile yet, so I'm still watching and waiting.

About his name . . . we had the hardest time settling on a name for this baby. It got bad enough that the social security lady at the hospital started to harass us. You'd think 9 months would've been enough, especially since Things 1, 2, and 3 were all named before conception, but it wasn't.

Before we moved to California I decided we'd name our next son Cooper (Nate typically only has veto power), but then we made friends who have a son Jack's age named Cooper. And I really can't use a name that a friend has used. And I can't use a friend's name. Or a friend's neighbor's name. Or a friend's dog's name. I know, a little excessive, but we all have our issues.

I really like names that end in "son" (Harrison, Edison, Jamison, etc.), but I've got two kids with that characteristic. I figure two is coincidence while three is intentional. Couldn't have that. Nate got more involved than usual. He declared he didn't want a name that ended in an "ee" sound, and definitely no "M" names. So that eliminated Henry, Mitchell, Marshall, and McCormick. He said no to Dexter - he's a serial killer. And no to Hamilton - "Ham" is too unfortunate a nickname. Canaan, Xavier, Maverick, Sawyer, Remington, Fletcher, Gideon, and Oswald are a little too "out-there". And Holden is a place in Utah. Haydn is morphing into a girl's name, and Lucas and Edward are too popular (thanks a lot OTH and Twilight!).

I asked the kids for input, but they were less than helpful. Lots of anatomical suggestions, most involving the posterior. And Jack thought "Football" would be good, because then we could kick him. Or maybe "Jesus", because then he could guide us. Ummm, no, no, and . . . no.

So we narrowed our list down to Frederick, Franklin, Edward, Henry, Cooper, Lincoln, Fletcher, Harrison. I know, I know - 5 of these 7 names were previously eliminated. But they kept creeping back onto our list even though they broke our own self-imposed rules. This was one instance where I could no longer be rational. Can you really blame me?

After hours of back and forth, settling on a name and then changing our minds, throwing our hands up in frustration and annoyance, we decided to let Things 1, 2 and 3 decide. Jack decided that he would look at the baby's face and the baby's face would tell him his name. Made sense to me. Jack looked at his face, pondered it for a minute, then declared, "His name is Sketch". Hmmm. . . . I haven't the foggiest where he came up with that one. But it works for us.

Fortunately for this kid, I have a thing about baby names (who knew?). My biggest requirement is that they have to sound good when preceded by "Supreme Court Justice . . ." Hence the strong and distinguished name, Franklin Thomas Mangum. And no, we don't have a thing for Presidents, or for the Roosevelts. That is purely coincidence. Franklin is a name I came across a while ago but had ruled out for a couple reasons - the fact that I have an Eleanor is just one of them. But like so many other names it ended up back on our short-list. As it happens, Franklin is a family name from way back on Nate's side (thank you familysearch.com). And Thomas is Nate's middle name (and Nana's maiden name).

So that's how Franklin (not Frank or Frankie) "Sketch" Thomas Mangum came to be. Well, his name anyway . . .

A Note on Hannah Montana

In my previous post I mentioned that the kids like to watch Hannah Montana on Disney Channel. This is a relatively new occurance. Up until a month ago Jackson was deeply opposed to anything Hannah Montana. Actually, I'm being kind with my description of his feelings. In reality, anytime Jack saw a photo of Hannah Montana or heard someone mention her name, he would start to seeth - you could instantly feel his anger and irritation, almost to the point of steam rising from his ears. Nate and I were pretty amused, and I'm ashamed to say, would often provoke Jack's reaction as comic relief.

I didn't spend much time trying to figure out where this intense dislike came from. Jack told me that the girls at school liked to play Hannah Montana and wouldn't play with him unless he was willing to participate. I chalked it up to Jack being jealous of Hannah - jealous that she effectively had stolen his friends. It wasn't until a few weeks ago that I found out why all the little girls wanted Jack to play - it seems that Hannah Montana's brother's name is Jackson. So it was only appropriate that my Jackson be the stand in during their recess games.

Apparently Jack wasn't aware of the reason behind the little girls' fascination with he and Hannah until I pointed it out to him. Once I turned the Disney show on for him to witness first-hand he decided that Hannah Montana wasn't that bad after all. And maybe sharing his name with her brother was kinda cool. I guess it really is the best of both worlds.


Isn't summer supposed to be slower?

I'm so worn out already, and summer isn't even half over yet. I find during the spring that I look forward to the lazy days of summer. Days I can sleep in and hang around the house in my pajamas. Days where I don't have to run errands or attend meetings. Days when the kids are content to play in the backyard or read a book. Why don't those days ever come to past?

I guess I should just be grateful that school's out and my schedule is more flexible. Grateful that I don't have to cut my day short to be home at 2:30pm to meet Addison so she's not waiting at the front door after school. Grateful that pre-school carpooling is done and over with. Grateful that Activity Days are on hold for the summer. But the meetings seem to have increased, thanks to a new calling at church. And the errands haven't been eliminated - I guess you still have to eat during the summer. And for some reason the kids seem to be bored with staying home everyday.

So now I find myself looking forward to school starting again and having some sort of a routine. I'm excited for Jackson to start Kindergarten and for Addy to be in 4th grade. They both love school and I can't seem to keep them academically stimulated on my own - for some reason Hannah Montana and Veggie Tales have gotten old already. I also can't wait to have only 2 kids home during the day. Ellie needs more attention from me and I haven't been able to give it to her lately. Maybe that's why she's become so much louder. And once school starts soccer will start too! So I guess more errands and more meetings will mean more friends for the kids and more quiet time for me. Summer's really not all it's cracked up to be.


Today's "Monster of the Minute" Award . . .

goes to Jackson!

After promising three times not to touch anything, he entered the partially-constructed bathroom and ran his finger down a piece of freshly painted trim. He then managed to kick Addison while he was wearing her Heely's, whip Ellie with the vacuum cord, and finally burn Ellie with super-hot shower water. When asked why he was so willing to hurt his sisters he replied, "I don't know why." Well if you don't, Spratacus, then who does??

Jackson really is one of the kindest-hearted 5 year old boys you'd ever meet. He doesn't have a truely mean bone in his body, although you'd never know it if today's actions were your only evidence. He's never met a stranger and many a random cashier has mentioned that he's charismatic enough for politics. More than a little scary if you ask me. I mean, can you ever really trust a man with a pantyhose on his head? A closing comment in his defense - Jackson was willing and eager to profess his apologies to his sisters, and at bedtime his one request was for a gentle hug and kiss to his baby brother.