Monday, August 18, 2008

A Few More Things We Missed...

Since we haven't posted any updates in so long, here are a few more notable events that we missed.

Cassie's Birthday!

Cassie turned 9 years old in December 2007. She had a pajama party. You probably heard the squealing, shrieking and giggling. Our neighbors certainly did.

Here's Cassie, Jillian and their friends Megan, Monica, Logan, Gabby, Gabriella, Emma and Brittany jammin' in their jammies.

Jillian's Cheerleading!

Last year, Jillian joined a cheerleading camp. The camp ended with a high-energy performance on stage.

New Tooth, New 'Do!

In March of this year, Jillian's front tooth finally came in. You may remember that Jillian accidentally lost her front tooth at age 2 when she fell and hit the bathroom sink.

But you can't keep a tough girl down. In fact, here she is right after losing her tooth with her dukes up, ready to rumble.

After her tooth came in, Jillian decided she wanted new cut hair to go with her new cut tooth. Here's the before and after.

Talent Show!

Near the end of the school year, Cassie and Jillian performed at the school talent show. Jillian played "Heart and Soul" on the piano and Cassie sang "Breakaway." The performances were so good that the audience was in tears. Or at least Jonathan was.

Here's cool Cassie on the way to her gig.

Lordy, Lordy, Dave turns 40!

In April, Jonathan traveled to San Jose for Dave's 40th birthday. They had a lot of fun driving crazy go-carts, playing Rock Band on the PS3 and generally acting like they aren't as old as they really are.

Here, Dave implies that turning 40 really blows.

During the trip, Jonathan also visited his sister Katie and her husband Ranjan to meet Katie's new baby daughter Samantha.

Here's a picture of Jonathan and Samantha. So cute! And the baby is pretty adorable too.


That's it for this belated update. We haven't even gotten into the past summer yet. Sheesh. More to follow.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Christmas 2007

'Tis the season for more Time-Travel-Blogging...

Rather than going anywhere for the holidays, the Stephens Family spent Christmas 2007 in Murrieta. It was nice to spend a quiet and subdued holiday together.

Here, Cassie and Jillian show off their loot. As you can see from their gifts, Santa was following a music motif. CD Players, I-Dogs and guitars, oh my.

Uncle Joe, Aunt Jennifer and Cousin Reese also gave Cassie and Jillian their own microphone and amplifier for singing.

It's August 2008 and their singing hasn't even slowed down...

Thanksgiving 2007

On with the Time-Travel-Blogging...

Thanksgiving '07 was quite a shindig. Relatives from Utah and California came to our home for our annual Thanksgiving in Murrietatm reunion. This has fast become a family tradition, and we look forward to it every year.

As usual, we kicked off the festivities with a trip to Disneyland on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving.

Here's Maddie, Cassie, Shayne, Dan, Jillian, Josh, Micah and Jonathan looking appropriately Happy in the Happiest Place on Earth. Yes, Uncle Dan wears his sunglasses at night.

Here we are riding Tower of Terror at Disney's California Adventure. We went the cheap route and took a blurry picture of the screen rather than forking over the $35 to actually buy it. If you can make out who is who, you deserve a medal.

Here's Shayne, Josh, Jillian, Cassie and Micah standing on a pile of pirate booty on Tom Sawyer's Island. Shortly after this picture was taken, Micah vanished and it took us about half an hour to find him again.

Fun Fact:
As of the release of Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, Tom Sawyer's Island is now called "The Pirate's Lair."
The rest of Thanksgiving went off without a hitch. Days were spent lounging, watching movies, playing Guitar Hero III and making skits.

In fact, here is a short film we made. Ben wrote and directed and Micah stars as the young man who has a little too much caffeine in the morning.
It's called, appropriately, "The Caffeine Movie."

Thanks to everyone for coming down and making this the Best Thanksgiving Evartm. At least until next Thanksgiving ... in three whole months.

Halloween 2007

Okay, so it's August 2008 and this is a post about October 2007. Halloween, to be specific. We're a little behind the times.
Fun Fact:
The remake of the horror classic Halloween was released in August 2007.
The Stephens Family had Halloween 2007 in Murrieta. Cassie was a ballerina and Jillian was a cheerleader.

The sheer amount of cuteness was scary.

Cassie and Jillian went to a Halloween party at the neighbor's house. Afterward, they trick-or-treated with a vengeance. They got loads of candy and loads of cavities. We know because it's now August 2008 and we already got the dental bill. That's one of the advantages of blogging about events long past, or "Time-Travel-Blogging," as we like to call it.

Here's Tiffany, Logan, Jillian, Emma, Gabriella, Elyse, Monica and Cassie in their Halloween costumes.

Catching Up...

So it's been a few months since the Stephens Family Blog has been updated.
Fun Fact:
Yeah, try EIGHT months.
Sorry. We've been busy. I blame global warming.

Anyway, we have a lot of catching up to do. So let's get started...

Saturday, December 1, 2007

You Are Grounded, Mister!

You: "Where have you been?!"
Us: "Uh-oh."
You: "It's way past curfew!"
Us: "Um..."
You: "We have been up all MONTH waiting to hear from you! No blog posts, no messages... We were worried sick!"
Us: "Sorry."
You: "You'd better have one heckuva good explanation!"
Us: "Well--"
You: "--I don't want to hear it! We're so mad we could spit! Give us one good reason why we shouldn't throw you out on your ear."
Us: "Uuh--"
You: "--Not good enough! You are GROUNDED!"
Us: "Awwwww!" *kicks ground*

Okay, so it's been a month since our last blog update. Sorry about that.

We've been busy with Halloween, Thanksgiving and getting Jaime's new Molly's Clothing website up and running.

In the next few posts, we'll tell you all about it.


Can we be ungrounded now?

Monday, October 29, 2007

A Long Time Ago...

Bit of a "blast" from the past here...

Back in June of 2005, 6 year-old Cassie asked Jonathan if she could watch Star Wars.

Apparently, she'd found Jonathan's old VHS copy of the original Star Wars Trilogy (not the cheesy "Special Edition" re-release) and she decided she really wanted to see it.

So Jonathan popped the tape in and watched Star Wars with Cassie.

Aterward, Jonathan asked Cassie to talk about the movie. Here is 6 year-old Cassie's "review" of Star Wars, word for word.

(“Can you tell me what happened in Star Wars?”)

Uuuummmmmm. C3PO and R2dar2 went different ways. After they went different ways the little guys went and got ‘em, including R2dar2. They also got C3PO even though I didn’t see that part but I think it happened. But they shot R2dar2. They were going to sell C3PO too. They were going to sell both of them, but C3PO put his hands up and said "don’t shoot!" What are those little guys again? What are they called? (“Jawas”). Okay, they caught them - they’re the ones who shot R2dar2. And after that, little robots came and they did the red one, but just as they start going with the red one he says, "Stop, dad, maybe we should choose the blue one." So they put the red one back in place and started with the blue one, which was R2dar2.

Then they went with R2dar2 and found C3PO cause they, ummmmm, and they all tried to fit into the car. So he shows a movie of the girl and she does this (leans over) and it starts over and starts over and over. And so then he said, “I don’t like you,” cause R2dar2 wouldn’t finish the message.

And then there was this big, huge furry guy. Chewy. His name is Chewy. So I’ll tell you about Chewy. Chewy tries to stop the door because it’s a garbage can. Then the guy that owns him, he, like, kicked him into the hole. C3PO isn’t there.

(“Do you remember the Sand People?”)

Oh, they found the Sand People and one of the sand men, like, wait, before that they were riding on a kinda big moose. It’s like a cow with a long mustache and big horns on its head. And then the Sand People have points on their head somehow. Like, they had five spines on their head and kinda funny eyes like round and white and green inside. They can blend into the sand. Then he hurt him and this guy who tells him the force will be always be with you – the guy that disappeared – helped him up. And I remember the part where he kills him and he disappears. Magically. You can still hear his voice but you can’t see him. Somehow he’s invisible.

They go somewhere where all the robots are. They go somewhere where, like, then they go to this costume place where that furry guy is – Chewy – and the guy, what’s his name? (“Han Solo”). Han Solo, he has Chewy, he’s the owner of him. And he, like, shoots that guy and then he gets into a uniform – do you remember that part? Then he takes his hat off and he’s only in the uniform.

(“What happened?”)

He shoots the guy. The guy that, ummm, that has, like, things (puts her fingers on her head) and red eyes and kind of a funny mouth like this (pinches her mouth shut). The guy that has Chewy. He shoots the blue guy because he doesn’t like him. Pretend this is, like, the blue guy with the kinda funny mouth (puts up her hand) and pretend this is the guy that has Chewy (other hand) and he takes his gun out and shoots him and the guy goes like this on the table with his head (slowly drops her head).

(“Then what?”)

They have a big, huge car with LEGOS inside of it and there are big poles in it. And you open the thing and you take the LEGOS out and you shoot. And there’s these white guys who have guns that shoot red. You know, the guns that make the red things. And those things that go “mm-mmm-mmm” every time they move. “mm-mmm-mmmm.” And you fight with them. They’re better than swords. What are they called? (Light sabers). And I remember the part where they use the light sabers to fight. C3PO won’t use the remote thingy. He accidentally turned it off. So he couldn’t hear them. And then the thing stops and they’re like, “We’re okay! Wooo! You’re okay?! Well, that’s good!”

And I remember the part where they shoot the white guys and they go like this (puts her hands up and falls backward) and they fall down.

(“What happens at the end?”)

At the end the girl, like, hugs him and the guy holds her up and turns her around. And then he puts her down and he won. Every guy got shot except for, ummmm, what’s his name again? (“Luke”). Except for Luke. Everyone died except for Luke. And then R2dar2 was going like this (rocks back and forth). And Chewy was there and C3PO. So, that’s it.

(“Anything else?”)

Do you want me to tell you about Darth Vader? Where he walks with the white guys? But before they can get to him he flies away to his station. It’s, like, SO big. Then he had to land back on his ship. He would go like this, “Hoooooo-hooooooooo-hooooooo”. He has teeth in the front, like dark teeth. And he talks without moving his mouth, like this (talks through her teeth) “We must get the ship!” I can’t talk like that. Darth Vader died at the end.

And that’s all I can remember.

The force is strong with this one.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Fired Up

As most of you probably know - unless you're living in a cave, and if you are, you have your own problems to worry about (cave plumbing?) - there have been some fires down here in Southern California the past few days.

We've received several calls from friends and family asking if we're okay. Thanks for checking in. Other than a lot of ash and smoky air, we're okay here in Murrieta so far.

The fires haven't gotten too close to our neck of the woods. The closest was a fire in Temecula about 15 miles away, and as far as I know that one was contained late last night. The winds seemed to die down today, so hopefully that helped stop the seemingly inexorable spread of these wildfires.

We just learned that all local schools will be closed tomorrow due to the bad air quality and the general uncertainty about the fire situation. They're using some of the schools as shelters for those who have been evacuated from other areas like Fallbrook.

We'll keep everybody posted if anything new develops.

Our prayers go out to the hard-working firefighters and to all those who have been so affected by this terrible situation.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Speaking of Crazy Hair...

Holy cow.

Jaime cut her hair.
Fun Fact:
And she looks gooood.
Here she is at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in L.A. earlier this week with her new 'do.

The last time Jaime's hair was this short ... she was born.
She donated the excised tresses to Locks of Love.

I like mom's new hair cut. She looks really cute. Now she and my friend Emma look like twins.

I like it very much because she looks prettier in it. When I first saw her I thought she was somebody else, then I saw her shirt and I noticed it was actually her.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Totally Crazy

Today is "Crazy Hair Day" at Tovashal Elementary School.

<---- Here are Cassie and Jillian's 'dos.

After the kids got their crazy hair-dos this morning, Jonathan drove them to school. But as the car neared the grounds, Cassie and Jillian noticed that NO ONE ELSE had crazy hair.

The conversation that followed transpired thusly:

Cassie: "I don't see anybody with crazy hair."

Jillian: "Are you SURE it's Crazy Hair Day, Cassie?"
Cassie: "My friend told me it was."
Jonathan: "You're friend?!"
(Jonathan quickly calls Jaime on his cell phone.)
Jonathan: "Hey, we're sitting in the car outside school and nobody has crazy hair."
Jaime: "What?"
Jonathan: "I'm telling you, there are kids everywhere, but they all have normal hair."
Jaime: "I'm sure there are other kids there with crazy hair, you just don't see them yet."
Jonathan: "I dunno. A kid just walked by with totally normal, respectable hair. Hey, maybe I could jump out and mess his hair up..."
Jaime: "Probably not a good idea."
Jillian: "Dad, I see a girl with pink hair!"
Jonathan: "Okay, apparently, there's a girl with pink hair."
Jillian: "And that kid has a mohawk. Let's go!"
Jonathan: "All right, maybe this is a false alarm. Bye."
(Jonathan hangs up)
Jonathan: "Okay, we've got kids with pink hair and a mohawk. You and your crazy hair are good to go. Unless that kid normally has a mohawk."

Jillian is ready to go, but Cassie isn't. Cassie looks out at the playground full of normal-haired kids and hesitates. Then she looks at Jonathan with imploring eyes, and in that second, Jonathan's heart melts with empathy a thousand, million times.

Jonathan: "What do you want to do? You want to keep your crazy hair, or do you want to go home, we can fix it and you'll be a little late?"
Cassie: "Can I take my hair out? It'll just be a little poofy."

So she does. Cassie pulls out the plastic cups making her hair stick out and climbs out of the car to go to school. And then something weird happens...

Suddenly, every Crazy-Haired Kid in the world comes out of the woodwork. All over the playground, we see green hair, purple hair, hair with sparkles, hair sticking straight up... It's a sudden cornucopia of Crazy Hair.

Everyone has Crazy Hair . And they're all having a fun, crazy time.

Cassie sees this and visibly slumps. She just ruined her crazy hair-do. And she doesn't know how to fix it again. Neither does Jonathan (for Jonathan only knows how to do his own patented "Cool Hair").

Jonathan watches as a disappointed Cassie trudges into the playground of crazy kids with her no-longer-crazy-hair... and Jonathan's heart simply breaks. It's a shattering of sympathy that starts in his chest and tinkles down into his entire body, until every fiber of his makeup feels fractured and broken.

As a parent, you never want your child to be in pain. Physical, emotional... it doesn't matter. A parent wants their child's entire life to be bliss, for their every moment awake and asleep to be perfect, happy and trouble-free. The very thought of pain of any kind for your child is ... painful.

And here is Cassie, first excited about a fun day, then fearful that she'll be alone and ridiculed in her fun, then utterly devastated when she sees the fun after all, but it's too late to go back.

What's a parent to do?

Luckily, Jaime knows Crazy Hair (her hair used to be five inches high). Jonathan calls for reinforcements and Jaime rushes to school with brush and hairspray. She finds Cassie sitting sullenly with her totally normal, totally boring hair. Jaime works her magic, and in minutes, she has re-crazified Cassie's 'do.

And like that, all is well. Cassie grins and runs off to play with the Crazy-Haired kids.
Fun Fact:
If a child's sadness causes their parent's insides to shatter, a child's happiness is like organ Superglue.
What a morning.

Kids. They're enough to drive you crazy.