Thursday, January 31, 2008

Marielle on the Runway

Doesn't she look like she could be walking down the runway at some international baby modeling show?? Check out the posture, the head tilt, the power step. Yep, she's got it. (Poise counts! Poise!!)

I had to post this one too, so you could see a close up of her toothy smile. :)

PS Thanks Grandma Shelly for the adorable outfit and accessories!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Important Lessons in a Young Girl's Life

4 in 1 day. It was a growing afternoon.

#86: Just because you can fit something in your mouth, doesn't mean you should. Really, Marielle learned this lesson a while ago, and she will continue to learn it in the future, but yesterday at lunch Mom phrased it just so as Marielle jammed a full wheat thin in her mouth, only to find she couldn't then chew it.

#24: Fingers and drawers don't mix. Marielle's first (of undoubtedly many) smashing the fingers in a closing drawer/door experience.

#396: Dad's aren't perfect. Sometimes they make you fall. I know this is supposed to be one of the later lessons, but Marielle got a crash course at the park yesterday. I was 'helping' her stand up, but apparently let go of her a little too soon. She fell forward, smashing her lower lip on a stair and cutting it on her teeth. Let's just say that Dad freaked out when he saw his little girl with blood spurting out of her mouth. The rest of the afternoon, Marielle kept trying to spit out the taste in her mouth like it was one of those gross vegetable baby foods Mom insists on feeding her.

#103: Catching a bubble is harder than it looks. A friend of ours gave Marielle this little battery-powered bubble blower that cranks out a hundred bubbles in 20 seconds. We loved hearing her squeal in delight as she was surrounded in a cloud of bubbles. In the post-video shoot, she actually tried to catch them, but every time one landed in her hand, it would disappear.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Recommending the Craig Report

Ryan and I have a blog we love to read. It's called "The Craig Report" and it is written by a LDS guy living in Nevada. I found it linked to someone else's blog and bookmarked it on the spot. He writes really funny commentaries about everyday life and although he doesn't put an LDS spin on things, we all know what he is talking about. So if you're looking for a laugh go to:


Sunday, January 13, 2008

a birthday about nothing (now with videos & pictures!)

So, tomorrow is my birthday, but yesterday Mary Karlee and I celebrated. The first present I opened was Seinfeld, Season 9, which completes our Seinfeld collection. Mary Karlee planned a day-long series of challenges that required me to act out 6 scenes from some of our favorite Seinfeld episodes. He's the recap:

Scene #1: George can't return a book because "it's been flagged. It's been in the bathroom."

The backstory on this is the funniest part. Mary Karlee's plan was to buy a book she knew I would not want, and would therefore try to return. At the returns desk, I would meet the same resistance as George: the store would not take back the book, claiming it had been in the bathroom. So MK approached the manager at our local Barnes & Noble Booksellers about taking part in this scene. The 60-ish, career-conscious, humor- & fashion-challenged manager was reluctant to participate, claiming:
(A) "That's not our policy. Anyone with a receipt can return a book for any reason, and
(B) "I can't commit the manager working that day to do this skit."

So Mary took the bait, explaining that the we would come in on Saturday ~10:45am. What manager would be on duty then?

"Well, that would be me."

Which leaves us with reason (C) why the manager would not help with this: "I am not fun. In fact, I don't even like people. Go away."

In the end, my challenge was to take a book of my choice into the bathroom & read for no less than 5 minutes. So I grabbed the latest OSC book and headed for the Men's room. I stationed myself by the sink area and turned to page 1. One guy did come to use the facilities while I was perusing the merchandise, but if he was curious about my reading post, he did not say it, or even acknowledge I exist.

Scene #2: George buys an '89 LeBaron because the salesman claims it was owned by Jon Voight (the actor) only to find out it's previous owner was John Voight (the dentist).

My challenge was to call a car dealer, and "ask if they have any pre-owned vehicles. Pre-owned by celebrities that is." And in case you are sad that you were not be able to see me make this call, you're in luck, b/c we caught it on film:

We also watched the Jo(h)n Voight movie Glory Road while Marielle napped. Apparently MK also considered renting Transformers, but decided against b/c, according to her brother, "the final 30 min. are one long battle. You would hate it."

Scene #3: Jerry & the gang jump in the nonfat yogurt craze & subsequently start gaining weight, which leads to the discovery that the yogurt is indeed fat-filled.

My challenge was to go to TCBY and "demand to know if the yogurt is really nonfat." Now TCBY does not claim that their yogurt is fat-free, but that didn't matter. This challenge was made all the better by the fact that our local TCBY is owned by an Asian family that speaks little-to-no English. After we enjoyed our delicious 96% fat-free yogurt, I dutifully went up to the counter and said,

  • Me: I demand to know: Is this yogurt really fat-free?
  • TCBY (thick accent that doesn't come across in print): Yes, it is 96% fat-free.
  • Me: So it does have some fat in it?
  • TCBY: Yes, but very little.
  • Me: Well how do you know you got 96% of the fat out?
  • MK: What he means is, how much of regular ice cream is fat?
  • TCBY: Oh, 100%!
  • MK: Really? That much? (while thinking: What? No milk? No sugar? All fat?)
  • TCBY: Oh, yes. Very bad for you.

Scene #4: Jerry makes Elaine laugh uncontrollably during a piano concert by placing a Pez dispenser on her leg. After Elaine leaves, Jerry gives the dispenser it's own seat, which George does not find amusing. As the crowd applauds, Jerry holds his dispenser in clasped hands, applauding only with his index fingers.

My challenge here was to attend a piano concert & applaud with my new Pez dispenser. We found a piano contest we thought would be baby-friendly, but, alas it was not. We sat inside for ~4 minutes before Marielle fussed and we had to leave. We finished listening from the foyer, where we could still hear the music & Marielle could run around. (Funny enough, the music was also streamed into the restroom, which had better acoustics than the foyer.) At the end, we applauded with hands clasped around Pez dispensers, and true to form, Mary Karlee thought it was so funny she started to laugh uncontrollably.

Scene #5: Jerry, George & Elaine go to a Chinese restaurant. The entire episode shows them waiting for a table that will be ready in "5, 10 minutes."

My challenge was to eat at a Chinese restaurant with Mary Karlee, giving the hostess the name "Jerry Seinfeld" and wearing my new 'kimono' (a top to Mary Karlee's pajamas). Thinking I would face a non-English speaking hostess, I confidently strode into our chosen restaurant (3-6-9 Fine Chinese Cuisine) only to face a fluent 16 year-old girl. Also, there was not a soul in the place, so she didn't ask for a name, just a "How many?" So when I said replied with "3. Jerry Seinfeld." she did a double take and looked very confused. While waiting for our food, Mary Karlee suggested we go down to the bookstore on the corner, which had a double purpose: keep Marielle entertained, while giving my wardrobe increased exposure.

Scene #6: Kramer lands a part in a Woody Allen movie. He has one line: "These pretzels are making me thirsty."

We went to a play, and my challenge was to say to three people in the theater "These pretzels are making me thirsty." I played my Even Steven card on this challenge, which meant that Mary Karlee had to do it with me.

  1. Will Call Window Girl. As we pick up our tickets, I give the line and am told that there is a water fountain around the corner.
  2. Water Fountain Guy. Standing next to the water fountain, I wait for this guy to get a drink. As he stands up to walk away, I clear my throat and give the line. I know he hears me b/c his head reacts in my direction, but he stares blankly past me, not indicating I spoke or am even alive.
  3. Ticket Taker Girl. This was Mary Karlee's turn. She tries to work up the courage the whole time we wait in line. Just as I hand the tickets to the girl, an usher comes out of theatre and tells Mary Karlee, "No food is allowed in the theater." To which Mary Karlee replies, "Good, cuz these pretzels are making me thirsty." The usher shot her a quizzical look and then walked away without replying.

Sadly, the play which the stage manager claimed "you could bring a 10 year-old to" was filled with plenty of innuendos & borderline sacrilegious humor. So we left early. We stayed 15 minutes longer than we planned b/c the only way to exit the theater from our seats was to actually walk on the stage, and since there was no intermission, we walked right through the actors on our way out.

All in all, it was a very fun birthday. Mary Karlee put to the test my claim that I have "no inhibitions within covenant." I apparently passed and get to keep the claim for one more year. And now that I know birthdays are about embarrassing your spouse, next Aug. 30th is going to be a lot more fun.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

An Overwhelming Amount of Photos....

Christmas has come and gone and it was wonderful. We had so much fun on our trip to California. We took lots of pictures, so beware we're posting them all! Ok, maybe not all of them, but the really cute ones which turns out to be a lot. :)

A Visit from David's Family
This was in Houston before we left on our trip. The visit was short, but fun!
Christmas Lights at Candy cane Lane
What better way to get in the spirit of things than decorating Santa's pickup?
Christmas Eve

Poor little Marielle had to miss all the Christmas Eve festitivites. She was in bed by 6:30! The time change really threw her for a loop! Dinner was delicious and afterwards we had our second annual road rally! Thanks Dad for putting it together again! :)Here's Emily's lovely trifle dessert.
No room in the inn for Ben. He had to sleep in the kitchen. :)
Christmas Morning
Ryan is going to be sporting this cool new lunchbox to work each day now.
Marielle the firebaby
More Guitar hero -- Ryan hit a 450 note streak!!
Breakfast on the beach
I kinda envisioned this as a bigger family event, but most everyone had to go back to work! :( The morning was windy but we enjoyed our muffins and fruit none the less. And it wasn't loud.
Visiting Cousin Kurt
I wish we had more/better pictures. But this one is the best we've got. Getting two kids to smile at once seems impossible at times!
Reunion with Katie at the Wild Animal Park
It was great catching up on the old and the new with my GNO girlfriend Katie!
Who makes the better gorilla? Ryan or Marielle???
The Kidspace Museum in Pasadena
Marielle had a blast in the Early Education Center. It was baby paradise toys just perfect for her age. We loved watching her explore and play.

Here's Marielle and Ryan after climbing a very tall tower. I know you can't tell from the pictures, but it was impressive.

They had a really fun New Year's Party for the kids at 12 noon. Party hats and drums for everyone!

Marielle's newest love: drinking from a straw!
Future College Roommates Finally Meet!

My friend Kelli and I had our babies three weeks apart. We've already decided they'll be roommates someday! :) The two of them were adorable of course, but haven't really figured out how to play yet.

Friday, January 4, 2008

2007 Mullen Mottos & Sycamore Slogans

Seems like last year we did it all – graduation, new state, house, job and baby, so this year there’s not too much to talk about. But we’ll give it a whirl.

Besides being an adoring dad and husband, Ryan earns money by showing up at ExxonMobil each day. He does important things like checking email and attending meetings where they decide to have more meetings. He’s been to Wyoming four times this year and even got to go whitewater rafting in Jackson Hole to boot. His supervisor named him safety leader for the year (perhaps due to his witty safety motto: No one goes to heaven in 2007!), and he planned a team building event where everyone went shopping on company money during company time. Wouldn’t you want to be a part of this team? At church he teaches Primary each week and peeks his head in Elders Quorum to take roll when he remembers. He just got called to be a ward missionary and is very excited to bring his rusty Houston South English missionary skills up north.

For myself I love being a stay-at-home mom. It is so fun taking care of Marielle and watching her grow. It is by far, the best job I have ever had. (And I don’t even get paid. Take that minimum wage!) Besides my daily routines, my callings at church keep me busy: I teach Primary with Ryan, plan activity days for the 8-11 year old girls and play the organ on Sundays. I’ve really enjoyed the new challenge of learning to play the organ. I look forward to Thursday afternoons when I drop Marielle off and practice the hymns for Sunday. I’ve also starting teaching a few piano lessons to fund dance classes with Ryan every Friday night. He loves to see me smile, and since I grin so readily while doing the merengue*, it was an easy sell. Watch for us next season on So You Think You Can Dance. One of the highlights of my year came when Ryan backed up all our files on an external hard drive, then let me delete any music I didn’t want on iTunes. First thing I did was say, “See ya, everything alternative & punk!” That’s my slogan for the year.

Marielle** continues to be the center of our existence and we adore everything she does. Although she’s quickly leaving her baby status behind, we think our little toddler is pretty wonderful. She is in constant motion around our house and likes carrying things from room to room and dropping them in hard to find places. She has a special liking to shoes, which she often brings me to help her put on. Really, she likes anything that comes in a pair. Makes sense after all, one thing for each hand. If you want more updates on Marielle, check out her blog, by clicking the following link: http://marielleshow.blogspot.com. It’s mostly pictures of her with a few side notes from Mom and Dad. Enjoy!


The Mullens

*Umm…just kidding, this dance is an aerobics workout set to music...not cool. But we do love the tango, cha-cha & swing.
**Marielle does not have a slogan or motto. She can't talk.