Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Underwater activity at the Denver Zoo

Lots of new sights to see on this family outing, despite the fact that we've been countless times to the Denver Zoo.


This tiger doesn't usually get this close to the window. . . Learned that these guys are loners, solitary, I mean. His dad and he take turns coming out.

Love looking at these pelicans, always looking bright.

We were amazed that not only was the water clean enough to see these creatures, but these sea lions were very active. So active, taking decent shots was very difficult.

This guy was super close when we first approached.

Isabella loved sitting on this guy so much that when were at a different part of the zoo, she asked, in Chinese, "can I sit on the cow?"

Wednesday, January 21, 2009



I taught Isabella that instead of shoving her sister away from the piano and hence making her fall, another, more friendly alternative is for both of them to play together.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Any photography website name suggestions?!

I'm planning on selling myself as a photographer to bring in some extra change. To market myself as a photographer, including samples of my work, information about what I do, and prices, I will start a photography website. I am also toying with the idea of making photographs available for purchase online.

I need your help in coming up with an attractive name for my website. You need not go with any of my suggestions and feel free to suggest something different. Your input would be greatly appreciated!

Sporting shiny new Nike gear

Victoria and Isabella were sporting Nike clothing Grandma (Karen) & Grandpa (John) gave them for Christmas. I could tell that Nike had put a lot of consideration and care into their clothing when I was cutting the tags this morning. They had inserted a little tid bit of fabric on the inside of one of the sleeves, where the tags would be attached, so the clothing wouldn't be damaged with a little hole. Impressive.


Thanks Grandma and Grandpa for helping us look and dress so cute!

The beauty of Denver weather

When we came to Denver for Troy's formal interview with Denver Seminary, the former President told us that at least one day of every week in the year is motorcycle riding weather. New meaning to that came upon us once we moved here. Since winter has hit, sometimes the highest high for four to five days might be twenty-five degrees or so, but then yesterday, temperatures were in the fifties. Fantastic. Made for a fabulous family date at the zoo. Zoo had more attendees due to the nice weather. Isabella, at this point, has become more interested in playing with the snow, sticks, and mud than chasing ducks or other animals.


This is not a fox; it's a red panda.

We got quite close to this rhinoceros. Very, very close.

This bear was sitting down for a meal, some fish. Really.


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Christmas leftovers

I'm not talking about food, so don't freak out. No one in this house is eating Christmas leftovers. Are you kidding me? Cooked food around the Changley household doesn't last a week; Troy eats well, Isabella has a good appetite, and I eat like a football player.

Anyways, I keep different bins of toys, all of which stay in the closet, except for one. This is my way of keeping Isabella interested in her toys. Swapped out some toys yesterday, and, look what Victoria found? A Christmas bag that once enveloped a Christmas ornament a friend painted for us. For those of you who are worried about choking hazards, that bag is now in file number thirteen.


A lot of personality and charm

I don't know what Troy was like as a baby, and I certainly don't mean to slight him in any way, in terms of who our children resemble. My parents talk about how social and captivating I was as a child. Different, right? Many of you think of me as contemplative and a listener. Is there still that sort of personality in me? I was once a well-known rambunctious captivating little one.

I've not seen a baby display such a variety of facial expressions. Really neat, I say. Generally a happy, although she is now at the age where she lets out loud, frustrated cries when she no longer has a grasp of an object that held her attention, when she wants something, or when she is just plain mad. She also laughs contagiously and joyfully. Very, very social, this little one.


Monday, January 12, 2009

Incidentally, I am easily pushed around?

The Rules:
Once you’ve been tagged, write a note with 16 random things, shortcomings, facts, habits or goals about yourself. At the end choose 16 people to be tagged, listing their names and why you chose them. And don't forget to tag the person back who tagged you!

I've been tagged by two people: Manda and Christina (on facebook). Am I supposed to write a note about 7 or 16 random things and choose 7 0r 16 people to be tagged? I shall try the crack version of the rules. These random thins are in random order, and I will be tagging people on my blog and on facebook.

1. In honor of my most recently added facebook friend, Loreto, and her dream, I flipped my Audi over, into a cemetery, in high school. Even worse? My neighbor, Beth, was in the car, too.

2. To date, I have had one surgery. Was wide awake and had only a hospital gown separating me from the cutting. It was an induction gone bad, with my firstborn; ended with an emergency C-section. I hate surgery and cannot believe that people elect to have C-sections, even with the first baby.

3. I dream of singing and acting on Broadway some day. What am I doing to move in that direction? Absolutely nothing. I'm too busy taking care of real life everyday matters.

4. My body hasn't quite recovered from continuously being pregnant or nursing since December 2005. I have a diastasis recti or abdominal separation from the most recent pregnancy. Troy said something encouraging about it; when I put his finger there, so he could feel the separation, he thought it was kind of cool. Kind of like a six pack. Flattering but not true. What other battle scars do I have to show? Talk about wreaking dental havok. During the tail end of the third trimester of my most recent pregnancy, I had to get a root canal and crown. Getting a root canal and crown done is bad enough. Add being gi-normous and about to burst with new life on top of that, double trouble. And? Recently, when I went to see the dentist last week, I found out that three teeth that already have fillings in them need more work: two of them need crowns and one needs a new filling. I saw the evidence; it is true. Dangit. What else? I still have a flabby tummy with no muscle tone to show (and there are limited abdominal exercises I can do without worsening the diastasis recti) and I haven't exercised as much as I should or want.

5. I am trying to figure out how to make money being a photographer. I do not want to charge family or close friends for taking photographs, but what about everyone else? Seemingly loads of people around me are making plenty of money as photographers. Surely I can, too. And, I love taking photographs. Any suggestions? Anyone know of free, well-organized, and reliable domain and web-hosting?

6. My favorite season is a toss up, between autumn and spring. I love the changing colors of the autumn, but things coming to life in the spring are breath-taking.

7. Without relationships in my life, I would be all alone and very, very, very sad. Family and friends have been at my side through everything, from life-altering events to seemingly less significant but just as meaningful occurrences. My husband was by my side during the births of both of our children, as I was cut wide open and deeply for the first birth and as I labored quickly and painfully (without any medication) with the second birth. When we get together with either set of parents, they spoil us, even though they have plenty of grandchildren to spoil. What about friends? I have too many stories to share, and I don't want anyone to feel left out.

8. Spending most of the day, every day, with my children reminds me of how flawed I am and the more important things in life. Thank goodness for God's grace, love, and counsel.

9. In the summer of 2001, I deadlifted 220 pounds at a weight-lifting competition and I weighed in at 120 pounds that morning.

10. Charm bracelets, I love them. Am collecting James Avery sterling silver charms for one at the moment. Am curious what friends or family would pick out for me. This is the one Troy got me for Christmas.

11. The most effective study place for me is a coffee shop. A library is too sterile an environment and the home has too many distractions. In a coffee shop, I can tune in and tune out conversations or noise as I need to. I studied for my comprehensive examinations and did most of my dissertation work at coffee shops.

12. I do the best I can to support local farmers, mom and pop stores and restaurants.

13. I desperately want to go back to Europe, bringing my husband with me this time. Never been to England or Italy and desperately want to go there and many other countries.

14. Taiwan. To go to Taiwan with my family (husband and children), my parents, my sister and her family and see relatives, eat delicious, mouth-watering Taiwanese cuisine - that would be so fantastic. I have one living grandmother, on the maternal side. Would love for her and all our other relatives to meet our children.

15. Locks of Love. I am growing my hair out to donate to Locks of Love. The last time I did this was shortly after I got married. Around a total of 12 inches was cut off. Amazing, people I saw everyday in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Missouri did not notice that some 12 inches of hair was missing from my head! Hopefully my patience will last long enough for my hair to grow long enough to donate.

16. I am working on agape love. I want to show agape love towards all of God's children, every one of them, saved and unsaved, accepted and "unacceptable," popular and not-so-popular. You get the idea. Sounds like a good gal or pious answer, but seriously, this has been on my heart.

Is this the best I can do? Probably not, but if I don't send it now, it will never get sent.

Blogs I check regularly? More than I am willing to admit. Here are some:

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Our lovely, beautiful, exquisite princesses

Don't you wish every day were as sweet as this?! Look at them. Took these pictures before church this morning. I would write more, but my mind has retired for the night. Guten nacht alle!


These lovely dresses were given to them by Grandma and Grandpa (Nunley).

A cooooooooold day at the Denver Zoo

We felt like absolute heels for introducing our friends Christina, Josh, and little Oliver to the Denver Zoo on such a relentlessly cold day. So cold that the zoo keepers decided that keeping the animals indoors was a better idea. Seriously, very few animals were out for viewing . . . hmm, snow leopards, a tiger, a few other felines, an ostrich. I think the high was 19 degrees. At one point, it started snowing hard.

A male giraffe was checking things out. Couldn't make contact with the female giraffes, though. He can be a rather naughty one.

Our friends even got a one year membership at the zoo. Hopefully they won't think the worst of us for dragging them into such chilly weather.


Shocking that this was Jason & Christina's first visit to the Denver Zoo. We told them we were bringing our own sack lunches to the zoo, so they followed suit. Only they came much more prepared. Wow, Christina's a great packer of food. Took notes. Not just that, they dressed warmer than us. Between the two of them, they packed four hats! So, Christina loaned me one of her hats, and Jason one to Troy. What friends; I tell ya.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Happy New Year!

This is the way we like to reign in the New Year. As if!


All about Zephan and his parents

I've forgotten how small these little guys are when they come into the world. Even though Zephan is 3 weeks old in this picture, he is much smaller than Victoria. He sure has a thing for his mommy.


A steady and longing gaze for his mother. As it should be.



Zephan with his daddy, Tim. A very good host and cook, he is. Yes, Zephan; he's a fast learner that one.


Driver's ed early

Tenny or Tim turned a cardboard box into a car. Fantastic idea! The girls enjoyed driving places together.


Pinching pennies or going to town

Just FYI, this blog is temporarily available to open posting; so you needn't a google account to post comments. Hint, hint. Any confessions, comments, or requests will be heard. . .

In other news, the Changley family has been finding creative ways to pinch pennies, as we embark on the journey of four people living on a philosopher's income and saving for a down payment for a mortgage. For those of you who are unaware, philosophers with a PhD in hand are not paid any shiny, glamorous amounts of money. Quite the contrary.

Thanks to my parents, we went on a trip to California over Christmas. Our family was so well taken care of, I felt more pampered than I have in aeons. I don't know how many times my parents cooked, bought groceries, washed dishes, and helped watch the four children - all of whom are two years old and under - without complaint and out of love for us big people and small people alike. Hey, wait a minute, I thought that once grandchildren came into the picture, the children would be forgotten. Not at all; thank goodness. My sister and brother-in-law - even with a 3 week old baby and a very, very busy toddler - took care of so many details to make our visit enjoyable: borrowing car seats for our girls (so we wouldn't have to haul tons of luggage with us), getting a place for us to sleep (with a Pack 'n Play and a crib and a king size bed!), setting us up with some delicious food on the flight home, and the list goes on. The visit was so great, I had to hold back some tears when my brother-in-law asked me the morning we departed whether I was ready to go home. No. No. No.

Since I have been somewhat obsessed about finding ways of saving money, especially since we're wanting to live on one income while the girls are so young and Troy really wants us to have a house by the middle of 2009, I've been paying close attention to how other people save money. As we all know, living in California, especially in cities such as San Francisco and Los Angeles, can be quite pricey. Affording a home is even trickier.

While we were visiting in California, we stayed in the home of friends of Tenny & Tim, who became home owners around the same time Tenny & Tim did. These friends of theirs were out of town and invited us to stay in their home. Having a place where all four of us could get some quality sleep made the trip loads more sane and enjoyable. They asked that we honor a few requests, two pages worth. For instance, they have two heating units in their home and two ceiling fans not far from each of those heaters. While the heat was on, we needed to keep the fans on to circulate that heat. The thermostat was off before we arrived there. We were permitted to turn the heat on while we were there, but we were asked to turn everything (heat, ceiling fans, etc) off when we left for the day.

Sounds like not a big deal, right? After all, we're talking about California not Colorado or Michigan, or New England. Keep in mind, we were at that house only to sleep. We spent a majority of the day at Tenny & Tim's, with family. That is why we went to California in the first place. Well, some of us aren't used to indoor temperatures being coat or jacket weather.

Anyways, some of our friends are rather conservative with electricity and heat and cooling. Many set their thermostats, in the winter time, for 66-67 degrees Fahrenheit. We will try to do that, too. Well, maybe we'll try getting used to 68 degrees first.

Contrast that sort of mentality with the following. On our flight back to Colorado, I couldn't help but notice a family that spent very freely. These days, airlines are doing what they can to earn extra money or to cut back cost, I don't know which. Every seat on our plane had a television screen on the back of it and passengers could pay $5-6 to watch the same channel for the duration of the flight. Snacks could be purchased for $3-6. Personal bottles of water could be purchased for $2. A woman sitting in the row in front of us purchased a movie for her 11 year old son, who twenty minutes into the movie, tried to change the channel, and, as a result, lost the $5-6 his mom invested. She then spent $20-something on snacks for her family. On Frontier airlines, the first baggage per person, each way, is $15. Each subsequent piece of luggage is $25. We paid $67 for parking at the airport. My parents rented a car, and my sister and brother-in-law were kind enough to lend us their family vehicle, so we didn't have to pay for a rental. We didn't have to pay hotel costs. Still, I wasn't keen on the amount of money we spent on the trip. I cannot even fathom what that woman was thinking. Perhaps going to town is just not that big a deal for her. But I would find that surprising in a country where lots of businesses are closing, people are losing their homes, and we're going through a financial crisis as a nation.