Tuesday, October 27, 2009

What I Did Last Summer


I have one of those super-economical man brains.

You know, the kind of brain that doesn't remember anything it doesn't have to. I am the perfect example of “use it or lose it.”

And I seem to lose plenty.

Remove me from a situation for a couple of days and the brain cells that are responsible for that particular memory immediately begin self-destructing—like fizz from a pop can. If I were a cartoon you'd see a manic stream of memory cells diving out my ears like sailors abandoning ship.

Nowhere is this more clear than when you compare my brain to Lori's. Lori remembers everything that was ever said in any social setting going back to at least 1973.

Because her brain works that way she naturally assumed that mine did too.

Note that “assumed” is in the past tense.

It took her a while, but she's finally realized that I just don't remember things. However, for years before that epiphany, she regularly tortured me by beginning conversations with, “Remember when...?”

“Remember when we were at the Star Trek Convention in Timbuktu and my friend, Dweezle, from Weiser, Idaho said that she got mistaken for Jane Seymour from that show Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman?”

“Uh...no.”

So I began counting how many times she began conversations with, “Remember when...?”

And I found that on average she asked that question 27 times per day.

And although most of the time I failed miserably at remembering the thing she was referring to, occasionally I had a magical moment when I vaguely remembered something and would excitedly respond with a kind of desperate, tail-wagging, “Yeah...I sort of, kind of, maybe remember that...?!”

But most of the time that particular question led to my utter humiliation.

So I banned the use of “remember when” as the beginning of any question.

And now my personal self-esteem has risen to Tony Robbins levels.

Which is why I like photos.

Because photos have a way of instantly reminding me of stuff that I've forgotten.

I don't know how many end-of-summers have come around and I've said, “We didn't really do anything this summer! How could we have wasted all those sunny days?!”

And thankfully Lori is there with her Wonder Woman memory to remind me of all the fun stuff we did and when I look at her in a puzzled way she patiently takes me by the hand and leads me over to the photos and says, “Look. See? We did all those things.”

Then she wipes the drool from my mouth and lovingly puts me in bed for my nap.

So I've perused the summer photographs and by darn I remember some of this stuff! And I figured I might as well share it.

Weirdly, it all began with a baby bird.

Natalie's an animal lover and we heard that there was this evil farmer (my dad) that was going to do away with a nest of magpies. So we staged a rescue and were able to save one of the little critters.

Thus began one of the most annoying relationships between man and bird.

The little birdie began life at the White house with a cute little squeak when he was hungry—but that little squeak quickly turned into an ear-deafening shriek. We soon found ourselves captive to the gastronomical whims of a constantly hungry magpie. Imagine us tip-toeing around our house so that we wouldn't wake the thing. We even had Tanner and Ryan trained to feed it—in order to spread the burden around.

Then is was time to flex our garden and landscaping muscles. Our house in Orem had a strip of flowers in the front not much bigger than a throw rug. The automatic sprinkler system had 6 stations for a total of about 30 sprinklers.

Well....

Let's just say that our new house has a lot more.

You know when you have to create a spreadsheet to keep track of the sprinklers that you have your work cut out for yourself.

So Lori took a self-taught crash course in flower-gardening and could be seen outside every day during the months of April, May, and June planting flowers and moving them from here to there and back again.

Not long after that I found myself backpacking high in the Uintahs to attend a Scout Camp with Connor. I now declare with a strange mixture of pride and guilt that I witnessed him catch his first fish.

Pride that my boy caught one...guilt that I hadn't taken him fishing before.

But, I think it's a pretty good excuse that fishing really isn't in my skill-set. Shoot, my dad never took me fishing.

So, we learned together—and we ended up catching some nice “brookies.”

Not long after, when I needed a little trackhoe work done on the edge of our property it was my 6 year-old neighbor, H, who did it for me.

No, that's not a typo. He's 6 years-old and his name is H.

The Fourth of July found us swept along in the neighborhood parade. Gotta love it when the entire neighborhood poo poos the traditional, yet highly crowded, Provo Freedom Festival Parade in lieu of creating one of their own—complete with red-white-and-blue festooned lawn tractors.

In mid-Summer, Lori's palette of flowers burst in all the right places and we spent many satisfied moments wandering around the yard commenting on the placement of this flower, and the subtle hues of that flower, and “Whoops, all those weeds we pulled were some sort of perennial—and would ya look at that one! It survived!”

Then the stuff in the garden exploded and all our kitchen bowls were filled to the brim with our own home-grown strawberries, raspberries, zucchinis, tomatoes, and Yukon Gold potatoes. We even had a little crop of Jonathan apples and delectable free-stone peaches.

Then I was off to another high-adventure camp—this time to Flaming Gorge with Jason. Daddies like me are always proud of their sons when they pop right up out of the water and make their first wake-boarding experience look easy. Jason should do more of that 'cause he's a natural.

And regarding home life in the summer, I can also report with no stretch of the truth that I ate breakfast on our backyard deck every morning.

Simply soaked up the quiet sounds and sweet scents of each summer dawn.

That is, until one sunny morning I nearly soiled myself when a huge hawk swooped up from below like some hellfire and brimstone fiend of the infernal pit. Had I been a little furry critter I would have been toast—because I froze solid with a dripping spoon of Cheerios between my cereal bowl and gaping mouth.

Luckily it was going for the magpie and not for me.

And luckily the magpie was inside a stout cage.

And the weird thing was that I was sitting 6 feet away and that hawk couldn't have cared less.

All in all, it was a beautiful summer.

Filled with the smell of honeysuckle and the tang of home-grown strawberries; fresh tomato sandwiches, breezes from across the hollow, groups of laughing kids in the yard, fried zucchini, and lying down on cool, soft grass to count the shooting stars.

I figure my memory cells can jump ship all they want.

I've got the photos to prove it.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Meet Max


Pleased to meetcha. I’m Max.

I guess you could say I’m the newest addition to the White family of cars.

‘Sep, I’m a truck a’course. A ’99 Chevy Silverado with a whole lotta miles, to be exact.

I’m what Derek calls a twenty-footer.

Now, I’m not talkin’ 'bout my length here—although that happens to be 20 foot too.

No, when Derek calls me a twenty-footer he means that at that distance I still look pretty good. Git any closer'n you’ll start to see my scratches and dents.

Which, frankly, is A-OK with me.

Heck, I earned every one of them scratches and dents.

Us trucks ain’t askin’ for a beatin’—but for pete’s sake don’t be afraid to use us. I kinda like havin' a few imperfections—it means I been places, ya know? It means I seen some things.

And Derek don't seem to mind too much neither.

I got a good feelin’ about him.

Ain’t a lot a folks that care all that much for their vehicles. Shoot, an alternator goes out and they think they need a new car. Head straight to the dealership to trade the thing in. Kinda like an ailin’ car is disposable or somethin’. I don’t know...it just don’t seem right.

Funny thing.... Derek drove me to the junkyard yesterday. Ya see, I’ve had this tailgate latch problem fer a while and he figgered he could save some money by gettin’ a used part.

Well, he left me in the parkin' lot and was gone awhile. But when he came back he was kinda quiet. Just sorta set there lookin’ off into the distance. Then I noticed an old, worn Isuzu Trooper manual that he’d set on my seat.

And just about then he grabbed his cell phone and called his wife.

Now I’m not one to repeat private conversations, but I don’t think he’d mind if I told ya that he found somethin’ in that junkyard that he just wasn’t prepared to see.

Seems he saw his old ’88 Isuzu Trooper up on blocks in that ol’ car graveyard.

It was the same one that he and his wife had bought just a few years after they got married.

It was the same little Trooper that carried their kids and them to Yellowstone ‘n’ back.

The same one that crisscrossed the U.S. and took ‘em to graduate school.

Same one where thousands of memories were made.

Well, it was clear that Derek had put a piece or two of hisself into that little Trooper.

He’d dropped the gas tank and changed out the fuel pump.

He’d changed out the radiator.

He replaced the clutch slave cylinder multiple times. In fact he done it once in a parking lot in Cheyenne.

When that little Trooper started to rust in the Pennsylvania heat, he sanded ‘er down and painted it with a spray can. Did a decent job of it too.

He changed out the brakes when she needed it, changed the oil and filter every 3000 miles.

He rebuilt the front when someone pulled out in front of his wife and she properly t-boned ‘em. Used old fenders ‘n’ stuff from the salvage yard.

Well, even I gotta admit that there comes a time when you need a new car. His work was takin’ ‘im up to Salt Lake and he needed to look a bit more professional.

So a good, used Camry did the trick.

But he hung on to that little Trooper for a good while after that.

Shoot, the only reason he eventually sold ‘er was because he just couldn’t stand to see a good little vehicle sit and rust.

Figgered someone else could use ‘er.

Well, yesterday at the junkyard with him just settin’ there starin’ off in the distance—I could tell that he wished he still had that old Trooper.

And I kinda like that.

Just means that he’s the kinda guy that’ll take good care of me.

I figger someday I’ll be settin’ up on blocks in a junkyard somewhere.

But when that day comes I’m just sure I’ll be plum filled up with a thousand memories.

And that ain’t exactly a bad thing.

Anyway, nice to meetcha.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Better than a Staple in the Head


Last November we moved into a new house because Tanner was sleeping in the hallway. There just wasn’t enough room for him anywhere else. And he only weighs, like, 25 pounds. Standing, he only takes up half a square foot. It’s not like he’s chunky—I mean, nobody’s ever asked him to buy a second seat on Delta.

But if you take 8 people and all their stuff and ask them to live in a small house, it’s bound to get a little awkward.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten out of bed in the dead of night to do whatever it is you do in the dead of night—only to step on somebody’s head.

And nothing can bring a dad a pang of guilt like stepping on his child’s head.

Imagine sleeping peacefully on the floor when suddenly your dad’s size 10 medium gets planted on your skull. And dad isn’t exactly light-footed at 3 o’clock in the morning.

Which is all a long way of saying that the White family is a bit neurotic about square footage.

So last November we moved into a bigger home and promptly spread ourselves luxuriously throughout the house. No more running hurdles over little people sleeping in the hallway.

Which is also why it’s mighty ambitious of us to go camping—because there’s still 8 of us—and we’re all getting bigger—and our Coleman Trailer has exactly 32 square feet of floor space.

For those of you who think that 32 square feet sounds like a lot, let me remind you that that’s a space 8 feet long by 4 feet wide.

Which is just enough space to play a really tough game of Twister.

You have to ask yourself what would prompt us to want to pack up all the camping gear, cram ourselves in the Suburban, drive 4 hours down the interstate—just to stuff ourselves in our little trailer.

We were calling it Spring Break 2009: Zion National Park.

And Murphy’s Law was in full force for this one.

An hour before we were scheduled to leave, Tanner, our 3 year-old, fell and split his scalp open. If you’re a parent you know the drill. Dad thinks it’s not so bad, but Mom thinks he needs stitches.

DAD: “Shoot, it’s not that bad… Just keep holding that blood-soaked rag against it. It’ll stop. Sometime.”

MOM: “But he needs stitches or he’s going to have a scar for life!”

DAD: “So what if he has a scar…it’s in his scalp. His hair will cover it.”

MOM: “But what if he goes bald someday?!"

DAD: “Well, that’s what comb-overs are for. Besides, if he goes bald that’s your fault. It comes through the mother, you know.”

MOM: “Well, maybe we can super glue it. I’ve heard that works.”

DAD: “Are you serious?”

MOM: “Yeah…I heard it somewhere.”

DAD: “Okay, that’s too weird. Go take him to the doctor and get some stitches.”

So Lori takes the kid to the doctor while the rest us sit glumly and tap our feet because we’re all ready to go and time’s a-wastin’.

And I’m sure you know the drill at the hospital. Fill out some paperwork. Then fill out more paperwork. Then wait a really long time while the rest of the family is back at home sitting glumly and tapping their feet.

Then it’s finally time for the great procedure. The thing that Lori literally crossed town for. It’s like climbing the proverbial mountain to consult the wise guru.

We have an injured child here and we need your expertise oh Great One!

DOCTOR: “Okay, we’ll just put a staple in it. (CHACHINK!) There. All done. You’ll see a bill for $485.00 dollars. It will arrive in your mailbox before you get back home where your family is sitting glumly and tapping their feet. Thanks for coming in!”

Later, I’m looking at Tanner with a single glittering staple sticking out of his head and I’m thinking that if he ever goes bald he can thank me to the tune of $485.00 that there’s nothing to mar his shiny noggin.

And I’m thinking, Sheesh, I have a stapler….

So, off we go down the interstate—our Suburban looking like a General Motors pin-cushion—bikes sticking out at odd angles—the inside like Hurricane Katrina—pillows, blankets, and bare feet all around….

Lori opens a bag of sandwiches and passes them around—no mayo for Jason. We’re listening to an MP3 mix on the stereo that I’ve imaginatively called Good Songs that randomly switches from Black Water to Yo Ho, a Pirates Life for Me to Hotel California, and then to Lori’s all–time favorite, Muskrat Love.

Okay, so that’s not her favorite. And maybe that’s because I sing along and stare at her with a twinkle in my eye.

By the time we finally arrive at Zion National Park we’ve sung along to Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody, A Bug’s Life version of Beauty and the Bees (you have to hum that one), Johnny Cash's I've Been Everywhere, K.C. and the Sunshine Band's Shake Your Booty, and Doby Gray’s Drift Away.

And the sandwiches have been reduced to crumbs.

Now let me be clear that we go to Zion in April for the sunshine.

Not the snow.

Which, according to Murphy’s Law, is what we got.

So instead of having thousands of acres of national park as our home-away-from-home, we had 32 square feet of trailer.

So we busted out the Twister game.

Just kidding.

Poor Natalie was beside herself because she came for the lizards and toads—and cold-blooded animals aren’t exactly fond of the cold. She did manage to catch a couple of lizards that had missed the “Feeling Sluggish? Perhaps it’s THE SNOW” memo. But the toads were another story.

And I suppose that’s what dads are for. When you just can’t bear to break your daughter’s heart you bundle up, grab a flashlight, and go out into the frigid night hoping that there are such things as Eskimo toads.

And somehow it’s okay that you don’t find any. The important thing is...you tried.

And I suppose it’s okay that Tanner had to get a staple in his head—and that it snowed during our Spring vacation—and that we ran out of propane for the furnace in the trailer—and that the sway bar on the trailer wasn’t working right.

The important thing is we did it.

And we actually had a great time.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

First of the Season



We’re jumping the gun here.

March 1st is hardly spring in Utah, but the months of snow are gone.

There’s a warmth in the air and the sense that winter’s ending. The idea of an impromptu hotdog roast is simply too good to pass up.

A bit of backyard bliss with the smell of smoke, mustard, and Ballpark franks….

Thursday, January 22, 2009

How to Fell a Tree Without Hitting the House


Step 1
Find Yourself an Ol’ Codger Who’s Done it a Hundred Times.


In this case, he’s easy to find. Look no further than my dad. A year and a half shy of 80 years old and he can still work circles around me.

I work with old people every day—so I know old. This guy's in better health than most people half his age. He could’ve been a card-carrying member of AARP for the last 28 years—but he doesn’t need ‘em.

Never even swung a golf club.

Gets up every day at 6 AM. Pulls on his overalls, laces up his boots, walks outside and tackles any job he has a mind to.

A dying breed.

Jack-of-all-trades.

Master of all.

I’m not kidding.

This guy can do anything if it’s even remotely related to plumbing, electrical work, concrete work, welding, design, engineering, woodwork, heating, auto mechanics, roofing, finish work, farming, etc.

He’s an artist with a shovel.

Need a custom part made from steel? He’ll fire up his blacksmithing tools and pound you out a piece on the anvil.

And he’s no hayseed either.

Yeah, he was a typical Utah farm boy—until he left home and went to school…. Then he turned himself into a scholar with bachelor's and master's work at BYU, Ph.D. work at Columbia University, and a Fulbright scholarship to study northern European economies.

Step 2
Fire Up a 91 Year-Old Tractor.

That’s right. 91 years old. As in built in 1918.

Really—who has a 91 year-old tractor out in the shed that they crank up on a regular basis and use for real work?

Seriously.

The thing’s beyond antique—it’s ancient!

My kids asked me what color it used to be. I didn’t know how to answer them. I’m sure it was a nifty color once-upon-a-time, but now it’s just rust and grease.

My grampa bought the tractor "used" in 1925. Farmed hundreds of acres around his home. Dad learned how to drive it when he was six. At the time he could barely push in the clutch.

Unlike most tractors at the time, this one uses tracks instead of wheels.

Last Saturday Dad calls me up and says, “I’m taking down a tree with the old tractor. Do you and your kids want to watch?”

Well, I’ve seen this routine plenty of times…but my kids haven’t, so I say, “Sure, we’ll be over in a few minutes.”

We arrive a while later and he laughs at my oldest son, Jason, because Jason’s wearing shorts. It’s about 20 degrees in the shade.

Dad's holding a bucket of warm water. As he pours it into the tractor’s radiator he explains that it has to be warm—because the tractor’s massive block is so cold that cold water would instantly freeze.

I’m thinking: Huh. Smart.

1918 was a while before electric starters, so this ol’ Cletrac needs to be cranked. I watch my dad with his left hand on the choke and his right hand turning the crank. It occurs to me that the tractor looks like an extension of himself—he’s done this so many times that the tractor and he are one. He casually turns the crank and I’m thinking: you better give it a little more elbow grease or it will never start.

Click on the play button to see and hear it.

video

But he knows his tractor.

And after a few nonchalant—almost effortless—cranks…it fires right up.

Back in the day when this thing was built they didn’t bother with mufflers—so the fire shoots straight out of the manifold. And there’s no doubt if it’s running or not—it’s loud.

Step 3
Drive Through the Snow, Hook a Long Chain Between Tractor and Tree, and Put Tension on the Chain.


Click on the play button to see and hear it.

video

I wondered about the wisdom of driving the old beast through the pasture and orchard—all the while grinding through a foot of snow. Would it get stuck? Would this turn into an oh-shoot-the-thing’s-stuck-now sort of a day?

But again, no worries.

The Cletrac busted through the snow like it was the ancestor of modern-day snowcats.

Which, come to think of it, it is.

Step 4
Make Son Nervous By Nearly Cutting All the Way Through Tree.


So what do you do when the ol’ codger (who's done this a hundred times) is wearing earmuffs, focusing intently on where he’s cutting...and can’t see the tree start to sway above him?

Suddenly his son (me) starts imagining all sorts of scenarios:

1) The tree does a slow pirouette and comes crashing down on Ol’ Codger—all while his son and grandchildren look on in horrified silence.

2) Ol’ Codger’s quick and valiant son (me) jumps forward at the last second and tackles Ol’ Codger to the ground while the tree narrowly misses them both. After an enormous sigh of relief, they both look down to see the chainsaw imbedded in Ol’ Codger’s leg.

3) Ol’ Codger’s son (me) sees the danger, shouts at Ol’ Codger (who can’t hear him), then strides quickly forward and grabs Ol’ Codger’s arm to alert him. Ol’ Codger is startled, nearly drops the chainsaw, is decidedly unhappy with his jumpy son, and lets loose with a string of cusswords.

None of those scenarios seemed particularly pleasant, so I just crossed my fingers and reminded myself that he’s done this a hundred times.

Step 5
Drop the Cletrac into Forward Gear, Let Out the Clutch, and Pull the Tree Down in Precisely the Direction You Want it to Fall.


Click on the play button to see and hear it.

video

Slick as a whistle.

Step 6
Give Rides to All the Grandkids.


And let the seventeen year-old in shorts drive the thing himself.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

White Family Dictionary

burger \BĔR-gĕr\ noun.
1: booger.
Word Origin: When a father wishes to call his child a booger but is afraid that the neighbors may not approve, he uses the euphemism, burger, instead.
Unintended but Inevitable Word Usage:
Ryan: “Dad, can you get this burger out of my nose?”

but-but (BŬT- BŬT) noun.
1: butter.
Word Origin: A classic Derek word-morph. Used extensively and with gusto by Emily, who knows that it’s okay to say but-but, but it’s not okay (in our family) to say butt.

Chopper \CHŎP-r\ proper noun.
1: Nickname applied randomly by Derek to any one of our children at any given time.
See also Chops, Monkey, Monkey Chunk, Boot Monkey, Turkey, Turklet, Potlicker, Bucketmeiser, Crazy, Lippy-Lou-Lou and Boutros Boutros Ghali.

cim-cim \SĬM- SĬM) noun.
1: cinnamon roll.
Word Usage: “Holy cow! Mom just made a batch of cim-cims and she’s not giving them away to the neighbors! They’re for us!”
Word Origin: Word coined by childhood friend, Craig Dalley, who, during High School was always joking about being on a diet. Derek and his friends teased him mercilessly about giving up his cinnamon roll at lunchtime—ostensibly for the sake of his health—but more accurately to acquire and eat his cim-cim.

Dog-Head \DŎG-hĕd\ proper noun.
1: Nickname for Annie, our Boston Terrier.
See also Doggie, Dogtard, and Snoot.

edam \ĔD-ŏm\ noun.
1: Our favorite cheese.
Pronunciation: Finnish.

fresca \FRĔS-kah\ noun.
1: Any soda if you’re Ryan or Tanner.

Girlfriend \GĔRL-frĕnd\ proper noun.
1: Derek’s nickname for Lori.
See also Chick, Chicklet, and Girl.

hat chak \HĂT CHĂK\ noun.
1: hot chocolate.
Word Origin: shortening of the word hot chocolate with Fran Drescher-like pronunciation.

hustle \HŬSL\ verb.
1: Intended by parents to mean I want to see you move faster than I’ve ever seen a human being move before, but interpreted by children as go ahead and take the next few millennia and throw in several epochs—in fact, mountains shall rise and be laid low—whole seas shall form and dry up again—the stars will fall from the heavens and new suns shall appear…all before you need to complete that little task.

iwillkillyouandmakeyoudead \ī-wīl-KĪL-yū-ānd-māk-yū-DĔD\ statement.
1: Statement directed at our children to make them laugh.
Statement Usage: Said with a goofy voice while chasing them through the house.

Jazz \JĂZ\ proper noun.
1: Nickname for Jason.
Word Origin: Ideal example of Derek’s penchant for deliberately mangling people’s names through multiple evolutions. What began as simply Jason, was soon pronounced Jăhs-SŌN (with a quazi-French accent), then (due to the opening of Disney's Aladdin) it morphed for a short time into Jasmine before Jason was old enough to know that Jasmine was a girl’s name—then (to Lori's relief) it evolved into the much more manly Jazz—which is appropriate because he's a jazz drummer. And he's manly.
See also Jazzy, Jazzarooni, and Jazzman.

Please don’t tell him about the girl-name thing.

microwave popcorn \MĪK-rah-wāv PŎP-kōrn\ noun.
1: Food item we have totally banned from our house after multiple scorchings and subsequent openings of every door and window in an effort to remove the smell.
Word Usage:
Julie Porter: “Our microwave has a pre-programmed microwave popcorn button so that doesn’t happen.”
Derek: “So does ours, but nobody is smart enough to use it.”

nerdgirl \NĬRD-gĭrl\ noun.
1: Term of endearment for daughters and any other cool, non-nerdy girl.
Word Caution: Not to be applied to actual nerd girls.

nab \NĂB\ verb.
1: A lighthearted command to purchase or acquire something immediately with no further complicating discussion.
Word Usage:
Lori: “Wow, that’s a good price on a pancake griddle.”
Derek: “Nab.”

ornch (ŌRNCH) noun.
1: orange juice.
Word Origin: A classic shortening of a word—from orange juice to orange to ornch. Pronounced with glee after pouring a nice, cold glass.
Word Usage:
Natalie: “Hey Dad, look! ORNCH!”
Derek : “Awesome! Will you pour me a glass?!”

sammy \SĂ-mē\ noun.
1: sandwich.
Word Usage: “Hey Mom, will you make me a PB&J sammy?”
Word Origin: unknown.

I’ve heard that Quizno’s now sells “sammys”.

They stole that word from us.

skinny lips \SKĬN-ē LĬPS\ verb, noun.
1: To make skinny one’s lips while flaring one’s nostrils.
Word Origin: While Derek was dating Lori he would tease her by attempting to kiss her with skinny lips—whereupon she would promptly reject his advances. Nowadays this facial expression is performed often and with zeal by all of the children in order to annoy her.

shmampin \SHMĂMP-ĭn\ gerund.
1: camping.
Word Origin: Lori’s contribution to what a brain can come up with when put into random mode.

Sweetie \SWĒ-tē\ proper noun.
1: Term of endearment used by Lori only when she’s mad at Derek.
Word Usage: “SWEETIE, get OFF that computer and help me with the KIDS!”
See also, idiot.

Tepanyummy \TĔP-ahn-yŭm-ē\ proper noun.
1: Nickname for one of our family’s favorite restaurants, Tepanyaki.
Word Usage: “It’s not TepanYAKI, it’s TepanYUMMY!”

toast \TŌST\ noun.
1: Food item thought by Lori to have full and complete nutritional value when consumed daily with a cup of hot chocolate.

whodidthis \hū-DĬD-THĬS\ question.
1: Question asked multiple times daily by Lori and I—and always answered by the kids with “Not me.”

Yelly \YĔL-ē\ proper noun. 1: Our favorite camping destination, Yellowstone National Park.