Friday, January 28, 2011


Jenna is approaching her two year old milestone and pleasantly beginning to play with and emulate her big sister Marielle. It's fun to watch her follow on the heels of Marielle and try to keep up. Yesterday, Marielle wanted to play Guess Who? while MK made dinner. She decided to enlist the only available opponent, Jenna. Marielle got out both game boards, drew a character card and started asking questions.

"Jenna, does your guy have a yellow hair?"
Jenna flips random tiles.

"Jenna, does your guy have bald?"
Jenna says, "Ooh" and flips random tiles and attempts to pull cards out of slots.

After 10 minutes of this, Marielle says to MK, "Ummm...Jenna's not really playing." At this point MK, cleaned up the board game knowing card destruction was imminent.

Later at dinner Jenna was acting a bit temperamental. She has become a picky eater of late, and often even when we put food she likes on her plate, she'll react by screaming. If you push her to eat, she'll respond with her characteristic I've-been-chastised-pose: head bowed and eyes squinted down to slits. So last night, when Jenna wouldn't touch a thing on her plate, MK took several bites in attempt to show her that it was indeed food (and good food at that)! No luck. MK finally turned to Marielle, "Show her that you like it."

Marielle took a big bite of her couscous. So did Jenna.

We attacked the peas with the same strategy. Marielle takes a big bite and smiles. So does Jenna. In the end, she could have licked her plate clean it was so empty.

To finish out the day it was bath time for Rex. It took one bath tub and three women (Mom, Marielle and Jenna) to complete the job. Rex didn't appreciate his soapy scrub and screamed his head off as they toweled him down and dressed him in a warm sleeper. The continuing dialogue accompanied the screaming like so:

Mom: We're almost done...almost done...almost done.
Marielle: Ohhh Rex! Almost done! Rex, almost done!
Jenna: AHH dun, AHH dun, AHH dun.

When Dad came home to an empty house and his whole family closed into a shut bathroom, it must have seemed like one of those "How many _________ does it take to screw in a light bulb?" jokes.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Debate Settled: Jenna's Compassionate

Marielle received a blue sleeveless dress from one of our neighbors. She told me yesterday that she was very excited to wear it to church. I asked her, "Did you decide if you're going to wear a shirt under it or a sweater?"

Her response: "Umm, we're still debating that."

What 4 year-old uses words like "debate"? Just another sign that this girl is growing up too fast.

Also, Rex and I survived Mom's first extended absence today. MK went to church today to teach Gospel Doctrine. Rex did great, until T-25 minutes to Mom's return. Then he let me know, quite vocally, that I am his second-choice parent. When Rex started crying, Jenna's head popped up, like she just remembered we have this baby now, and she sprinted out of the room. She returns carrying a pacifier. Sadly, this wasn't quite the cure-all I'm sure Jenna thought it would be, especially because I was already holding one in Rex's mouth. A few minutes later, however, Rex did settle down. Jenna walked up to me saying "Baby!" So I bent down, to let her get close. She noticed Rex had a tear on his cheek, so she ran and brought me a cloth to wipe it away.

You're in good hands, Rex.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Mr. Rex

As a mom of previously only daughters I'm now adjusting to a new vocabulary of boy appropriate language. I check myself from saying, "Isn't he sweet??" and insert, "Isn't he handsome?" I'm enjoying exploring new phrases like, "Don't you think it's charming when Rex..." or "There's my little man" and my favorite, "Hey Rex. You're looking dashing as usual." So in honor of my dashing little guy here are some recent pics,

These are from the newborn shots I took for his birth announcement

Wearing Ryan's vintage knit jumpsuit saved by his mother all these years!

Rex and Dad: The big and little kings.

Jenna is obsessed with Rex's swing

Stylin' in his first polo shirt. Too bad we don't have any khakis.
I just love this little guy!

Friday, January 14, 2011

The Get Smart Birthday

If you haven't received an email from me in the last 2 weeks, or we're not best (facebook) friends, or you've been hiding under a rock, then you might not have known that today is my birthday. I turned 29 today. And in the Mullen home, that means we kick things off with letter pancakes in a birthday tent.

Marielle & Jenna got me an artisan pancake set. Goodbye boring circles; hello guitars, TVs and stick-women.

MK's new suspended-from-the-ceiling tent design collapsed when the HUD inspector showed up, so we reverted to our standard stretch-the-blue-blanket-between-chairs model.

Even Rex got a D pancake for breakfast. Don't worry: he didn't eat it. Probably because we wouldn't pour him any syrup to go with.

Rex's first chance to be a Boy of Rock n' Roll in our Chipmunks-soundtracked Rock Off. Marielle maintains the Girls still won, despite my extra help.

Apparently, my family thinks I'm falling behind the curve in school, so after breakfast, MK scheduled our day into 8 study activities. Each was designed for me to get smart.

ACTIVITY 1: Study the Alphabet. Marielle & I went to her Letter School this morning. The letter of the day was I, so she brought "an infanent" for show & tell. Also, Me announced to the class: "I had a baby this week!"

Marielle, in her self-declared superhero outfit, her "infanent" & I. Me told me I got more power today since I'm 23. Also, kid superheros don't need sunglasses.

ACTIVITY 2: Study Nature. MK dug up magnifying glasses at the...wait for it...swap shop! So we went to the monarch butterfly preserve nearby to view nature at a whole new level.

"This tree was murdered."

I know this picture only shows 4, but we saw thousands of butterflies. Aunt Julia would have been terrified.

ACTIVITY 3: Study your Love. MK gave me a scrapbook updated with all the keepsakes Shula saved from my childhood. I now know that:
  1. my mother Sherry (?) delivered me in rm. 420
  2. in 1991 I found my Easter basket first. Guess who was last?
  3. I did a book report in 4th grade on a Where's Waldo? book. MK's reaction: "There's like one line of text per page?!"

A photograph quality drawing depicting a real life event. That's me in green, approximately 1.4 seconds before I hit the concrete and broke my arm. My narrative on the back states that mom "rushed me to the hospital," though I distinctly remember her making me sleep it out on the couch to see if it was really broken.

ACTIVITY 4: Study the Menu. MK's extended family joined us for dinner at the Palace Grill, my favorite restaurant from our stay-cation (pronounced "KAY-shun", not "CAT-eye-on" for you science nerds out there).

Rex Leonis. That's Latin for The Lion King. Think Simba's presentation to the animal herds.

Jenna was in a great mood.

Five, not four, Mullens.

ACTIVITY 5: Study at the Library. We only made it as far as the parking garage. The garage has a circular ramp we've dubbed "The Whirly Twirly." We like to coast down all 4 floors without using our car brakes. Wheeeeee! Today, we took it to a new level by piling 10 people in Jackie O, our minivan. Aunt Apple got carsick after the 2nd run (of 4).

Unrelated video.

ACTIVITY 6: Study an Experiment. We used vinegar and baking soda to inflate our party decorations, because really, who wants to put their lips all over a balloon.

I love the wonder on Marielle's face.

ACTIVITY 7: Study deliciousness. The once-a-year not-from-a-mix Oreo Cheesecake. I'd eat one of these a week if I could.

I needed help. My formerly asthmatic lungs aren't up to the task.

ACTIVITY 8: Study your presents.
I opened this present and held it up for the crowd to gawk with envy.
In response to the confused looks I got instead, MK stated "It's what he wanted."
Grandma Sycamore: "Is that from another church?"
Justin: "Yes, it's the great and abominable edition."

Thank you to my wife & kids for making my much-touted birthday as memorable, and educating, as I hoped it would be. I can already tell that this year: Me Enjoy kNowing Smart Answers.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Through Mama's Eyes

At Rex's doctor appointment today, we received the standard new patient forms to fill out. One line asked us to "Describe your child in just a few words." I came up with:
  • precocious,
  • kingly,
  • noble,
  • somewhat gruntled.
MK's one contribution:
  • suspicious.

I just don't see it. You?

Monday, January 10, 2011

Woohoo, We Have a Baby!

The wait is over. I'm so happy to be sharing the news that our baby is here. We left for the hospital Sunday morning around 6am and Rex emerged at 11:05 am to jubilant parents. We were both thrilled to know we had a BOY!!! He weighed 8lbs 10ounces and was 21 inches long. Everyone kept saying, "Wow, big baby!" but I was thinking, "Hey, he's my smallest baby yet" (by an ounce). Marielle and Jenna came over that afternoon and loved meeting their new little brother. We loved seeing them and all the rest of the family that made the trek to meet the newest Mullen.
Name that emotion: (a)shock that we had a boy, (b) relief that the birth is over, (c) joy that our baby was here, (d) all of the above.

Hopping mad after his bath. He got back at the nurse by peeing all over her.

Little baby feet... I just wish they stayed tiny just a little longer.

He's like his dad, already a deep thinker.

One of the few moments Rex was awake.

Rex was soo sleepy the first day.

Marielle and Jenna LOVED my hospital bed. Beds that move up and down? Can we bring this home please?

Ready to GO HOME!

First family picture. We are not all pink anymore!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Contest Winner


More details to follow.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Little Ryan

Want to see Jenna in a vintage 1983 style picture looking a little boyish?
That little tot is not Jenna, but her father. That little face is so, so, Jenna!
And here's a recent one of Jenna for your comparison. (Since I know not everyone gets to see Jenna's cute little face day in and day out.)
I've always said Jenna is Ryan's baby, but this picture just takes it to the next level. Maybe when she starts talking I'll be able to see the 50% of genes that I contributed.