Thursday, December 20, 2007

It was a dark and stormy morning...

Rain is such a rare thing here in California that on Tuesday morning when I saw the rain I honestly couldn't remember how we're supposed to deal with it. Do we cancel all our plans? Do we curl up into the fetal position until the storm passes? How was I going to travel two whole miles to get to campus? Well maybe I can borrow the car from Vivian today. Let me ask... uh, she said no. Now what?

I was about to admit defeat and go back to bed when I remembered that I own a rain jacket. Then Vivian reminded me that we also own some waterproof pants (the tags were still on the pants... I guess we were saving them for a rainy day). It was decided, I was going to tough it out and ride the bike to school. So I confronted the light rain, mild temperatures, and slight headwind with only my trusty Cannondale to get me through.

I learned on my commute to school that if you forget to tie your shoes before leaving you can bet that all of the water that hits your pants will end up inside of your shoe.

Since the quarter just ended I didn't expect to see very many people on the bike path, and there weren't any except for a stationary Mustang with two girls in it that looked lost. And it is not so strange to find cars in bike lanes, except that the bike path at this point goes through a field and is completely separate from the road. Did they make a wrong turn? Did they think that little road looked cute? I guess, maybe that light rain can be a little disorienting, so be careful out there.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Friday, December 14, 2007

The "Finals" Countdown

One of the nice things about being a graduate student is that you are insulated from just about everything. I don't exactly have to "go to work" or "get up on time", and I don't really have to "talk to people" or "know what's going on in the world" if I don't feel like it. And what's funny is I've been in school for so long that there really aren't any classes left for me to take. Or maybe I should say that the classes just aren't really worth my time anymore (oh academic snobbery, how I love thee).

But as each quarter draws to a close I am reminded that there are actually students at the university that take classes. They come out of the woodwork to take their final exams, and it is in this funny week we call "finals week" that some truly strange behavior can be observed. As you might imagine the students are often times either stressed, or sleep deprived, or anxious, or even sometimes just downright depressed. And when the students travel in packs you'll notice some resemblance to zombies, where they seem unconscious but slowly drawn (as if sleep walking) to coffee carts and lecture halls.

But what truly makes the finals week interesting is that the same pre-finals zombie students that entered the lecture hall exit in a euphoric, energetic mood. Right outside of the classroom they'll be in small herds very loudly cheering or stating things like "Oh, #4 was easy!" or "Man I'm so glad I'm done!". Or you can see them on their bikes swerving dangerously from side to side while talking on their Motorola RAZR saying "Yeah Mom, I think I, like, passed chem this time!". But yesterday I experienced something new. While walking past the chem building I saw and heard a guy leaving his final on his 10-speed bike playing a harmonica. It was an upbeat tune (not too bluesy) which I'm sure meant he was all done, and he was kinda dancing and swaying with the music while playing the harmonica enthusiastically with both hands (none left to steer the bike, i.e. "Look Mom, no hands!"). I got a chuckle out of the scene, and was left with all kinds of questions in my head like: did he specifically pack a harmonica for his last final so he could play his victory march home? Or does he always play while biking? Maybe he awoke from the zombie trance and noticed the harmonica in his pocket and thought, "well that's convenient." Does finals in fact make a person crazy, or do crazy people take finals? Either way, I think that guy will be happy in graduate school.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Monday, December 3, 2007

november photos

Elf yourself

Thanks to Carrie and Claire for helping us get in the Christmas spirit. The site can take a while to load, but its worth it.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Apple, Tree

Since Levi was born we have had many conversations with friends that start with something like "So which of you does he take after?" or "Who do you think he looks like?". I find most of these conversations to be a little puzzling, and they all seem to eventually end up with both Vivian and I modeling our noses, eyes, chins, ears, toe nails, etc so that our friends can take a closer look at our genetic code and inheritable traits. Inevitably I find myself dissatisfied with the lack of scientific rigor in these discussions and am frankly a little embarrassed to say things like "I've had this nose since puberty, not since birth." So I've just let it go... until now.

I present for you a side by side comparison of Levi at 4.5 months (on left) and yours truly at about 6 months old (on right). So I guess I should ask you, do you see any resemblance? Maybe the better question is who is fatter?

Friday, November 30, 2007


Levi has increased his noise level and likes to let himself be heard. One time I was talking to mom on the phone and he was squawking and she thought he was really upset. No, he just likes to yell.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Friday, November 9, 2007

4 months old!

The Flying Spatulas

Game: Ultimate Frisbee
Team: Flying Spatulas
Team Color: Red
Team Mascot: Spatula
#of losses so far this season: 0

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Happy Halloween!

I had forgotten how cute little kids are on Halloween. Seeing the true spirit of the holiday last night really renewed my liking of the day. Its all about the little kids in their capes and their wings trolling around in little packs hoping to find a promising looking house with the porch light on. Long live halloween.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

A Football Weekend

We went home to Fresno this weekend for the big Boise State, Fresno State football game. Since Grandpa (from Boise) came down and bought us all tickets, he made sure we all sat in the Boise State section which meant we got to enjoy the game from the "visitors" angle. Our seats were next to the aisle so we had a sea of Fresno fans on our left and the visiting Boise fans to our right. Even though I was wearing Fresno State colors I still felt persecuted. Most everybody talks cordially to the opposing fans, and some are even friendly, but it is hard to focus on this cordial majority when the vocal minority is literally barking like dogs at you after every play. Despite my reluctance to be associated with a few of these fans I was still rooting for Fresno, so I was sad to see them go down this week. I was hoping this would be the year for Fresno to take back the conference title, but I guess our Bulldog bark is bigger than our bite.

On an unrelated note, another game this weekend had an incredible finish. Anybody who appreciates the improbable come-from-behind win should take a look at this video.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Friday, October 19, 2007

Sunday, October 14, 2007

A Baby Blessing

This Sunday Levi received a blessing in church. The blessing was done by Jerry with TJ, Grandpa Mike, the bishop, and his counselors in the circle. It was very special and so nice to have family there to share it with.
We feel so lucky and blessed to have Levi in our life. We love him and know that he has a Father in Heaven who loves him too.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

A note to Uncle Max

I know it must be hard to watch your USC Trojan football team lose after being ranked #1 all season long. It must also be tough to watch your alma mater's 35 home game win streak end. But to have the loss come at the hands of the lowly Stanford Cardinal, in the final minute of the game, on a 4th down, must really hurt the worst. Maybe you should root for Oregon this year.

I'm probably just adding insult to injury but I couldn't resist posting this picture. Levi's trying to look tough to prove it wasn't just a fluke.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Heavy Cheeks

A little compilation of recent photos and a video clip. I think in the video it looks like Levi is trying to hold up his heavy cheeks. Also notice the song is about a Levi. Another great addition from the cd from carrie and claire.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Finger Popsicles

Recently Levi has begun to test out which finger flavor he likes best.

We traveled to Fresno this weekend and he did very well in the car. We enjoyed getting to introduce him to more of his relatives.

Monday, September 17, 2007

2 months old

Levi is two whole months old now. He has been smiling and making a lot of little noises. It has been fun to see him show an interest in people and toys. He got his immunizations today. He weighed in at 15 lbs exactly.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Play time

I retrieved the play gym from the closet with some skepticism. I haven't seen Levi display any interest in anything smaller than the stairs or a wall so I did not expect him to be amused. When I put him underneath it, he actually did not look away bored as I was expecting. He broke into a big smile and started moving his feet and hands around. I surprised and started taking some pictures and video.

Warning- The video is not interesting unless you've been staring at a baby all day. Or maybe if you're at work...

Friday, September 7, 2007

Carrie, Claire, and Lucy come to Santa Barbara

We had a good weekend with two aunts and a cousin coming to visit. We went shopping, went to the beach, ate snickerdoodle cake (mmmm), experienced the pleasure that is Eller's donuts and thai food, watched a girly movie that jerry loved, had fun at the park, and ate at a backyard bbq. fun times.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Lunch and Bowl

Last week we went to lunch and bowl with the Daugherty lab. Here are some photos of that event, plus some funny Levi faces at the end.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Smiling happy baby laughing

Last night all of a sudden, Levi started to smile and once he started, he couldn't stop. It made me happy because up until this point, we had our suspicions that our baby was a bit of a snob. We would try to make eye contact and talk to him and he would just look away. Jerry would say "He snubbed me!" Last night was a different story, but it still took some work for him to crack. I don't really want to talk about the amount of silliness I displayed to elicit the smiles for these pictures. So enjoy.

Monday, August 20, 2007


I remember enjoying a lot of things about elementary school (recess, frozen juice cups, Oregon Trail, more recess, reading time, dodgeball, more recess) but art class was not one of them. I detested art, and to this day still find it hard to cut in a straight line or draw a stick figure. Since grade school I've avoided art at all costs, but now in the 21st grade I might be ready to give it another try. Here is my renewed attempt. I call it Untitled-1.

Maybe I'll have to try it again with a video camera instead of still frames, but I thought it was pretty good... for a first grader.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Childhood Obesity

Levi now weighs a whopping 11lbs, 14 oz. Although, we suspect he might have been hiding weights in his pockets. The nurse told us that he is in the 90th percentile for his age. Whoa.

So, if we're going with the Price is Right rules, then the big winner is long time friend Micah Martin who guessed 11lbs 11oz. Micah and Lauren just had their own little baby boy in February, so that is kind of cheating, don't you think?

The prize is Levi's weight in tomatoes from the garden. But you'll have to come visit us in Santa Barbara to collect.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Step right up! Step right up!

Levi has his next weigh in on Thursday. We invite you to wager a guess on his weight. It will have been 17 days since his last appointment, when he weighed 9 lbs 11 oz. What will he be this time?

If he keeps up the same rate as between the last two appointments, by the time he is 5 years old, he will be over 200 lbs.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

How does your garden grow?

Disclaimer: This is not a baby pictures post, but don't worry more will be posted soon enough. This note is a big thank you to my Grandma and Grandpa Mortensen and our friends, Vince and Tamara, for inspiring and teaching us to grow our own vegetable garden.

Until my friend, Vince, showed me that passion fruit could be grown in Santa Barbara I never would have thought I would come anywhere near a garden. But Vince is very persuasive, and the passion fruit from his organic garden (where he worked until recently) was very tasty, so I guess that was the moment when things changed (I guess, if you will, you could say that was where the seed was planted... I mean c'mon it's a note about gardening). I don't know what changed exactly but it started small. I started remembering to water the few plants we had. Then we started acquiring more plants. Then Viv was giving me things like hoses and shovels for my birthday. Before I knew it I was harvesting passion fruit and tomatoes growing on our backyard porch. Well, this year we decided (actually I decided) to jump in with both feet, and we requested a plot of land in the "family housing community garden".

Well, the pictures below pretty much tell the story but as a quick summary we planted 7 types of tomatoes, 7 types of peppers, yellow squash, and zucchini. We started the seeds in February, transplanted in late March, and started getting produce in May. Viv was pregnant through all of this but was still a good sport, helping me move dirt, lay down drip line, etc.

Lately we're getting baskets full of stuff every few days, and surprisingly very little appears to have been stolen. I haven't quite figured out what went wrong with the peppers, but other than that we've been getting more than we know what to do with. I've never been so excited to eat steamed vegetables in my life. All I can think to say is thanks Vince & Tamara and Grandma & Grandpa for showing me how real gardens grow.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Monday, August 6, 2007


At Levi's pediatrician appointment last week, he weighed in at 9 lbs 11 ozs. That's 19 ozs in 10 days. So that can only mean one thing, we have a FAT baby!

Apparently the expected weight gain is about 1 ounce per day. At a rate almost twice that, Levi amazed and impressed the nurse and the pediatrician.

Levi is currently denying all doping allegations.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Little Levi's Theme Song

Carrie and Claire found this song for Levi. Carrie made a cd with this and other hilarious and fitting songs such as "I don't want to cry tonight" by Volebeats and "Baby did a bad bad thing" (a diaper song) by Chris Isaak.

Click here to listen:

Levi - By Greg Ross
(lyrics written here are the way we like to sing it, Levi O instead of Levi Shane)

Born to put a smile on anyone's face
He can put a song in the whole human race
So I sing this song for Little Levi
Levi - O

Born just west of the cascade range
In a world in need of change
Could you please make it better?
Little Levi
Levi - O

There's a whole lot of love, Little Levi
A whole lot of love is gonna get you by
There's a whole lot of love, your momma says, Levi
Levi - O

Born a part of a big a family
Will you be what you need to be?
What would you like to be? Little Levi
Levi - O

Born a small child
but it won't be long
You'll be a man big and strong
Right and wrong you'll know, Little Levi
Levi - O

New Faces

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Awake and Happy

The last few days with Levi have been fun to watch. He has spent more and more time awake and, thankfully, all of that awake time has been during daytime hours. I love to watch his eyes study everything around him. As I contemplate that his "due" date is tomorrow, I am so glad that he decided to come live with us when he did.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Levi and Stellan- ready to be friends

Krissie Cook and I have been friends for 9 years. By an auspicious turn of fate the housing office placed us in apartments that share a backyard. Our birthdays are both in September and we like to have joint birthday parties. We delivered our first-born sons just 9 days apart in the same hospital. I think I can see another joint birthday party coming....

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Aunt Lauren

After we came home from the hospital Aunt Lauren and Uncle TJ came by with some tasty dinners for us. 1,000 times better than hospital food. This is a picture of Lauren and the amazing quilt that she made for baby Levi. Thanks Lauren!

Friday, July 20, 2007

After 3 days of hospital food and a lot of newborn care instruction, Jerry and I got to leave the hospital and take little Levi to his new home. Not too long after we arrived back, Grandma Mona came in to stay with us. Aunt Lauren and Uncle TJ have come by and brought us dinners. Levi has been a happy and content baby and we are crossing our fingers that it lasts. Today we went to his first pediatrician appointment. He weighed in at 8lbs 8oz, so he has already gained his birth weight back. What an overachiever.

Thoughts: How being in the hospital is like being on a long airplane flight.
1. Right when you fall asleep, people wake you up for annoying reasons. "We have now turned on the seatbelt sign" or "I am here to take your blood pressure".
2. People bring you food on a little tray at regular intervals. For some reason this looks like normal food, however, it tastes like a close imitation of the real thing.
3. Time passes, but the scenery doesn't.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Surprise, Surprise

Vivian and I would like to announce the birth of our son Levi Orlando Thomas. He was born at 2am, monday morning weighing 8 lbs 8 ozs and 20.5 inches long.

We have to admit we were a little surprised. The due date we were told was July 25th but we were out walking before sunset last night by sands beach when her water broke. Naturally I thought she was deceived. But she persisted and the "practice" contractions started turning into real contractions so we went into the hospital at around 10pm. I don't know that much about labor but all I can say is Vivian is a champ. The labor progressed quickly and by 2am we had a baby boy.

He kinda snuck up on us, so we hadn't actually packed any bags yet. I still haven't set up the crib at home. And we didn't even bother putting the car seat in the car until about 9:50pm last night, so I guess I've got some projects for the next few days. Anyway, I hope you enjoy the pics, and hopefully we can post more on this site soon.

Saturday, June 30, 2007


Here is the first picture of our baby boy.