Zufelt Family Feb 2015

Zufelt Family Feb 2015

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Just Gotta Dance

I read somewhere recently that the impulse to dance to music is a natural phenomenom, especially visible in little kids. When a small child hears music, the brain starts moving the body in response. It is one of the brain's mechanisms to express the emotions stimulated by the music. We have witnessed this phenomenom with all of our kids. With Ben the impulse was there, but did not drive hime to dance unless we encouraged him to do so. With Maddie and Jacob the impulse was very strong from the beginning. Maddie would dance to a few of the ringtones in my cell phone. Jacob seems to have the strongest impulse. With most music, he instantly stops doing whatever he was doing and starts moving his little body as soon as he hears the music start. He bends his knees a little to crouch down and starts moving his arms and hips. It is always fun to watch. Today I was able to capture a little bit of his dance moves. Don't worry, when he disappears from the screen in the middle of the video clip was not a fall. He threw himself down on some pillows that happened to be in front of him--must be part of his dance moves.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Little Entrepreneur

Today I was checking email, dreaming and looking at houses for sale in different locations across the country as I often do. Ben happened by and asked of the picture on the computer screen, "Is that our house in Texas?" "No," I answered. "This house is for sale in California." "Oh. Can we buy it?" "Not right now. We don't have enough money to buy it." "That's too bad. When we do get the money, some other people will already get it for theirselves to live in, right? I guess we have to get some money. And FAST!" Ahhh...if it was only that easy. Click your heels together three times and say, "There's no place like a rental home. There's no place like a rental home. There's no place like a rental home." Keep dreaming kid.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Jacob the Toddling Toddler

It's still January. The temperature was 60 degrees today. We went outside. Jacob was absolutely WILD with excitement. He had a blast walking all around the sidewalk and grass in front of our house. It was really fun to watch his joy.
What do you suppose happens when Mom tries to take pictures of her cute toddler toddling around the front yard instead of holding his hand and helping him keep his balance?
Yeah. That happens.
Then lots of laundry happens. This is when Homer Simpson would say "Doh!"

Double Take

If you passed Maddie Mae on the street this morning I guarantee you would have done a double take. She put this little ensemble together all by herself.

Two different shoes. Socks pulled up as high as she could manage to get them. Dance leotard with a winter coat and umbrella. Classy to say the least.

Monday, January 25, 2010


"Mom, look at what I drew on the magna doodle. It's a cow eating grass."
I look over. It's totally blank.
"I don't see anything. Where is the cow?"
"Well, the cow ate it all so he left."
We delivered fliers advertising open enrollment for our pool. We took two of the longer routes because they both had real houses instead of town homes. Ben had a tantrum the second we got out of the truck that he was going to be too tired to walk. In no uncertain terms I told him to buck up. The pool is near bankruptcy and if he wants it to open we all have to work hard so we get enough paying members to cover the costs. He did okay until half way through and even then I was able to push and prod him into helping without a total melt down. He saw the vision of the task and it kept him going. He did walk a lot though, so when we got home he had a popsicle and went to play in the backyard.
After about three minutes outside he determined that our back yard was no longer fun because he had already played with all the stuff before last summer. Maddie asked for a movie in my bed (I'm crossing fingers for that to induce a nap). Ben followed suit and asked for a different movie downstairs.
As I turned his on he told me, "This is sure a good thing to do while I wait for the energy to get back inside my legs."

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Maddie Praying "All By Myself"

Maddie typically has a one sentence prayer. Bless the food. That's it. On occasion she asks for help to think of more "stuffs to say". Tonight at dinner she wanted to do it alone. "Heavenly Father, Bless the food. Bless Aimee and Claudia with all the blessings that...that...that...we have. Bless Ben. Bless Maddie. Bless Daddy. Bless Mommy that is...that is...that is...ummm...my Mommy right there. Bless Gunny Bag to be healthy and strong when he eats our toys in his tummy when we don't clean them up. Amen." (Gunny Bag is our pillowcase that comes alive and eats toys that don't get cleaned up and keeps them until the next Saturday when he spits them back out.)

Saturday, January 23, 2010

I Should Do This More Often

I know coupon shopping can save me a bundle. I just don't do it enough. Today was another success. Jacob is still in his infant carrier. Yes. He's almost 14 months old and well past 20 lbs. Obviously we've needed to upgrade the car seats for a while. This week Target has their booster seats on sale with a $20 gift card with purchase. So I got one for Ben and one for Maddie. Jacob can have their old chairs. Everything should work out great. We also scavenged the baby clothes section for the new wave of babies and baby showers upcoming and snagged a couple groceries. Saved $42.95 in coupon and sale prices Paid $136.19 plus I got $40.00 in "Free" Gift Cards Basically I got about $83 worth of stuff for free. Wahoo!!

Friday, January 22, 2010

The Case of the Missing Sheets and Blanket

In May 2000, about one year after Angie and I were married, we moved to Freeport, Texas (just south of Houston) for our first internship. The company was providing a fully furnished apartment, complete with weekly cleaning and linen service. We arrived Saturday afternoon. The since the company arranging the housing details was closed on the weekend, they simply left a key for us. We obtained the key and went to the apartment they had previously communicated was ours. We were surprised when the key provided wouldn't open our apartment, so we went to the apartment complex office to straigten things out. They simply asked us which apartment we were in and quickly provided us with a new key. When we entered our apartment, it was missing a lot of things--cooking utensils, tupperware, and linens, among others. Again, we couldn't contact anyone at the housing office until Moday when it opened. No problem, we thought. We can adapt and deal with the situation given to us. After unpacking our car, we made a run to Wal-Mart and purchased the basic items we needed to survive the weekend, including a set of sheets for the bed--white sheets with purple flowers. On Monday we called the housing provider and found out they gave us to the wrong apartment information. The apartment we were supposed to be in was ready and this one was not supposed to be ready for another week when its new occupants would be moving in. Now we understood why our original key didn't work. Imagine if someone had already been living there when we arrived! Since we had already moved in, we asked to stay. It being our first exposure to Texas heat and humidity, we were not anxious to move out and in again to a second story apartment in that terrible weather. The company was nice enough to oblige and soon finished preparing the apartment. We kept the sheets since we had already used them. Over the following years the sheets invoked memories of this experience whenever we saw them and quickly became our favorite set of sheets. Now, fast-forward a few years to 2004, about a month after Benjamin was born. At this point we had moved seven more times and were living in Houston, Texas. We had the pleasure of receiving a visit from my parents, my younger brother, and one of my older brothers, along with his wife and two kids. They drove all the way from Utah, which must have been a very long 3-day drive for the two kids ("Brian and Angie live 3 days away from us!"). We pulled out all the linens we could find to host our guests, including our favorite white sheets with purple flowers. We had a great visit and were sad when the end of the week came and our guests packed up and left for home. We washed all the linens and stored them away until next time we would need them. A little while later, Angie and I were washing the sheets on our bed. We decided we wanted to put our favorite sheets on the bed, so we went to the linen closet to pull them out. They weren't there. "How strange," we thought. We couldn't imagine where we had put them. We pulled out a different set and finished the task at hand. Over the following weeks we searched the house, but couldn't find the sheets with the purple flowers. Since they were not in our house, we decided they must have found their way into my families suitcases. We called them with no avail--they had not seen our sheets, but promised to double-check. Over the following weeks and months we searched anywhere we could think they might end up and asked my family again, but never had any success. Fast-forward again to late 2009. For Thanksgiving this year we enjoyed the company of most of Angie's immediate family with their spouses and kids. Only one sibling's family was not able to make it since they had just moved to Australia. Once again we pulled out all the sheets and blankets we could find so our guests would have suitable bedding. One of these items was a warm furry "wolf" blanket. We had a great week, enjoyed a great Thanksgiving feast together, and missed them once they left. Some weeks after this I was having a hard time finding a nice warm blanket in our house to use while in the basement. Part of the problem is the fact that the blankets never stay in the same place. During the day the blankets move all over the house as the kids build forts, tunnels, walls, and anything else a blanket can be used to construct. I always had to search the house to find where the blankets were last discarded. Then, when I do find a blanket, it might be one of the kids blankets which are a bit small for me. I am left with the decision to keep searching or try to curl up into as small a ball as possible and positioning the blanket in a diagonal fashion to provide the longest coverage from my feet on up. It seemed, however, that our large blankets were sparser than before. Then it hit me one day that I had not seen our "Wolf" blanket for a quite some time. No wonder it has been hard to stay warm--our warmest blanket was missing. Now, this blanket has been a favorite of mine for a while--my mom purchased it for me when I moved to college. It was my bed cover at college and through my two-year mission in Florida. It travelled with Angie and I through our eleven moves in the past ten years. It has been especially useful during the winters in Virginia to keep me warm while watching TV in our cold basement. Over the following weeks I searched all around the house to find the missing blanket. I asked Angie and the kids several times if they had seen it. I could not imagine where the missing blanket had gone. I sort of started wondering if someone in Angie's family had packed it up and taken it with them. "No," I thought, "they wouldn't have done that--the blanket is just too big for them to have gathered it up without noticing." I really missed the blanket. Yes, part of it was due to the sentimental value and the memories. Thinking about it also reminded me of the missing sheets and how we were never able to find them. However, I think I missed it most because none of our other blankets could keep me as warm as that one. We have had some very cold days lately and I have had to pile on multiple blankets to achieve the same warmth and coverage it provides. One day this week I came home to find a large gift bag sitting on our bed with my name on it. Angie went out of character and fancied it up with color-coordinated tissue paper and had attached a large card to it. My birthday had already come and gone, so it couldn't be a birthday present. When I asked Angie what it was, and she just smiled and said, "A present for you." I pulled out the tissue paper to discover the long-lost wolf blanket folded up nicely inside. Angie had found the missing blanket in Jacob's room. It had fallen behind the Futon and landed on a bar that runs across the back about a foot above the floor. We had previously looked under the Futon, but not behind it.

We are very pleased to have solved the mystery of the disappearing wolf blanket. However, the mystery of the missing sheets still remains unresolved. In the back of our minds, we still wonder if my little brother has been hiding them since his visit to our house in 2004 because he has an affinity for purple flowers. So, if you happen to visit him, go check out his bed for me and let me know if you find a set of white sheets with purple flowers.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Soup that Bites Back...and other Sunday Adventures

Angie invited guests over for Sunday dinner this week. She invited two families over. Since there would be a fair number of people, we decided to serve a Minestrone soup and Sloppy Joes because we could easily make a lot of both and people would have a choice of what they wanted to eat. Angie prepared the soup in the Crock Pot in the morning so it would simmer while we were at Church. Since I had attended the Spanish services in the morning, and our church falls right during Jacob's nap, I took Jacob home to his crib after our sacrament service so he could get his much needed Z's. Just before Jacob and I returned to the church to pick up the rest of the family I decided to stir the soup and I tried a small bite to see how the flavor was turning out. I was surprised when the soup bit me back--it was spicier than I had expected. I had to hurry out so I didn't try it again. On the way back to the church I decided I must not have stirred very well and perhaps some extra spices were floating on top of the soup where I pulled my sample. When I saw Angie I told her I thought the soup was a bit hot and asked her what spices she had added to the soup. She stated that she had combined a couple of recipes--one asked for 1 teaspoon of chili powder and the other asked for 1 Tablespoon, so she added 1 Tablespoon. She did not add any other spices that would give heat to the soup. At this point our conversation was interrupted by car problems. Over the past several months we have had problems starting our car. When we turn the key the starter would click, but the engine would not turn over. After repeated attempts the car eventually starts. Sometimes it would only take two attempts, sometimes it would take three minutes. Over these months, I made several attempts to isolate the problem with no success. I even took the car to the auto parts store for an electrical systems test--the car passed with flying colors. This day, however, the car did just the opposite--it wouldn't turn off. I stopped as normal, keeping my foot on the brake pedal until I had removed the key and released the clutch. When I released the clutch, the car jerked forward, despite having my foot on the brake pedal and having engaged the emergency brake. I quickly pressed in the clutch and the motor started up again. Our car was possessed! It was running with the key out. I took the car out of gear and opened up the hood. Sure enough, the engine was still turning over, even though I had the keys in my hand. I put the keys back in and turned to the On position--the engine fired up. I turned the keys off and the engine slowed down a bit but kept turning. The starter just would not quit trying to start the car. To reduce the load on the starter I put the key back to On while I looked for a wrench. I finally disconnected the battery and the car continued running. After about 15 seconds the engine finally died. I touched the cable back to the battery and the car immediately started again. I disconnected both cables from the battery, closed the hood, and went inside. It was Sunday, after all, so I thought it best to leave working on the car for another day. Oh yeah, did I mention I had guests coming over shortly? We still had to get everything ready for them. After we came in the house, Angie went straight to the soup and stirred it really well. Then she tried a small bite--the soup bit her back as well. This was not the delicious soup we have made several times before. We couldn't figure out why the soup was so hot--chili powder just doesn't have that much kick. At some point Angie realized she had been foiled by her effort to de-clutter our spice cabinet. She has been working to identify which spices are essentially the same and eliminate unneeded bottles. For example, she has successfully eliminated Italian Spice because it is mostly Oregano, which we now substitute in its place. When making the soup, she pulled the Red Pepper out of the cabinet as a substitue for the Chili Powder. She remembered after tasting the soup that Red Pepper is the same as Cayenne Pepper, which is definitely not a substitute for Chili Powder. Our fire soup was proof that the Red Pepper and Chili Powder are two completely different spices. At this point we only had about an hour left before our guests were supposed to arrive. While Angie prepared the Sloppy Joes, I turned to my trusty sidekick to find a solution for the soup--Google. I searched for "how to remove spicy from food" (this was how Google's automatic phrase completion worded it). The first suggestion I encountered was advice to drink a cup of fire sauce each morning just after waking up--perhaps this won't help the spicy wouldn't go away, but you will build up your tolerance so it is bearable. I didn't think our guests had been following this advice, so I continued searching. I soon encountered information that sugar can be used to reduce the heat--in fact, a pepper's spicyness is measured by the amount of sugar required to neutralize the spice. After a few articles confirmed the same advice, I went to work. I drained out the liquid using a strainer and then replaced it with fresh tomato sauce and water. I considered washing the vegetables, but decided I didn't want to wash away all of the flavor. The soup was still a little hot, so I added as much sugar as I dared without turning the soup into a tomato-vegetable punch. The soup ended up much better than it was, but it was still a little spicier than we would like it. The guests arrived and he rest of dinner seemed to go well. Monday morning I decided to tackle the car. After reconnecting the battery and starting the car a couple of times it became possessed again and wouldn't shut off. I disconnected the battery and the cable on the starter coming from the key switch. When I reconnected the battery the engine immediately started turning over. Success! The starter was the problem. I triumphantly carried the starter to the auto parts store, exchanged it for a new one (of course, they required a bit of money for the privilege of doing business with them), installed the new one in the car, rebuked the demons possessing my car, and then connected the battery. Nothing happened. I put the key in and started it--it started like a charm. I turned the key off and the engine fell silent. I tried it a few more times and everything worked as it should. Sunday was a busy day, but everything seemed to resolve to a fine conclusion. 21 Jan 2010 Update: Tuesday we had the leftover soup for dinner. Wednesday morning Angie told me she had heartburn all night long. She blames the soup for giving her the worst heartburn she has ever felt.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Maddie's take on life

I'm with Maddie. I see no reason a woman can't dress in her fanciest ball gown with gorgeous pearls and bobbles to do common mundane household chores like emptying the dishwasher.

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Saturday, January 16, 2010

Is Your House as Wired as Mine?

Brian just sat down at the kids computer in the living room. He remote logged into the basement computer, because you know that's REALLY far away if he had to walk down there. He started using Pandora (online customized radio) to play some tunes on the basement computer...which is hooked up to the big stereo system in the basement...which is wired to the speakers upstairs on the main floor. So now we're jammin' to some sweet tunes from the upstairs to the basement and back again and he didn't have to move an inch. Is your house as wired as mine?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Piano Lesson Tears and Triumphs

Around here we lean toward a lot more tears than triumphs.

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

This morning Maddie brought into my room a pink paper she had colored to show me. She reported proudly that she had colored it for Dad to take to work to share with his friends because they might not have any pictures. Sweet sentiment. Next thing I hear she's downstairs talking to Brian and says, "Okay Dad, now I'm ready to kill you!" Without so much as looking, I already know she has a foam sword and is ready to chop off his head.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Monster strikes again

Today i baked a cake for a baby shower tomorrow. guess who dragged a chair across the room and found it! We call him monster for a reason

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I Can and I Can't

I can do all sorts of things. I can change a tire on the side of the road. I can replace an alternator even when it requires rolling the engine. I can change the brakes and the calipers too. I can put the car up on ramps and change my own oil. I can check all the fluids under the hood. I can check the fuses and change a headlight then fine tune it to point the right way. I can jump start my date's car in my prom dress because he doesn't have a clue what to do with those long cable things. I can put in a new battery. I can and have done all sorts of things for the trucks we've had over the years. I cannot, however, no matter how hard I try to slam it just right and how many times I open it up again and slam it again and again and AGAIN...I cannot close the hood of those same dang cars and trucks. I'm just retarded like that I guess. So, honey, tonight I put oil and antifreeze in the Honda. Checked all the fluids. We're good to go, but before you drive to work...you might wanna latch that baby down like it's supposed to be. I stopped slamming the hood down after four tries for fear of waking baby Abby peacefully sleeping 20 feet away in her bedroom. What's the point? I can't do it anyway. Love ya! Acutally, this reminds me of the time when...no...I wasn't going to mention the time you got knocked out while tightening a lug nut and have tatoo makeup to prove it. I could tell that story, you know I love to, but not today. We'll save that one for another ay. Today I was actually thinking of the other time when we worked on the big blue boat of a car together at my parents while we were in college. Ahhh. The beautiful Pontiac Grand Prix. Who knows what we were doing, but Dad has all the tools, so we went there. Remember how you couldn't quite get the hood to close right after we were done working. But we were tired and just didn't care that much anymore. Remember how it latched (you must have done it since I don't have that skill)? It was closed tightly, but a tiny bit cockeyed. Weird. You did it a few more times but it still sat a teensy bit off. We just cleaned up and went in. Three weeks later my dad called to see where we had put one of his tools. I'm thinking a crowbar/cheater bar of some sort but can't recall exactly. We claimed to have cleaned up everything and I put it all away since I knew where it all went after 20 years of living there. I insisted it was in the drawer. He insisted it wasn't. I insisted he was wrong. He insisted we check our tools and our trunk. We did and I triumphantly reported that we did not have his silly tool. Finally he told me to check under the hood to see if it had fallen somewhere and stuck there. I checked. Nothing. Just like I suspected. But wait...remember how the hood was just a teensy bit cocked? Yeah. That darn tool was right there. Safe and sound for three weeks by the cockeyed hood, lodged just so against the front grill but out enough to prevent the passenger side of the hood from going down flush like it should.

Thursday, January 7, 2010


Maddie with face gleaming and a smile from ear to ear, "Ben, I have a puh-prise for you!" She walks into kitchen and jumps up once landing squarely on her feet in front of him in a big show of **TA DUH** spreading her arms out as she unveils her big and fantastic surprise, "It's just me in a ballerina costume!!! See!!!" Her eyes light up as she contemplates the amazing surprise she has just revealed to the world and the anticipated rounds of applause and cheering that will now ensue. Ben looks up from his project at the kitchen table making a garbage truck out of an old 12 pack soda can box. He moves his eyeballs just enough to see her over the top rim of his glasses but not shifting his head position at all. He comments, "That's not a very good surprise, Maddie," and returns to his work again unimpressed. Well Maddie, them's the breaks I guess. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. And Ben isn't beholding it today.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

School Graffiti

Sucks to think you spelled your graffiti wrong on the school wall when you thought you were so awsome...errr...awesome. Oops!

Life at the Bus Stop

My life resumes with glamour jobs like waiting for the bus with princess Maddie and monkey boy Jakey.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Point of Reference

I am the sort of person that doesn't concern myself with the specific numerical values of different things. I just look at how close or far from a normal position something is. Like when I purchase ground beef in bulk then weigh portions on the kitchen scale to put in the freezer in little one pound ziploc bags for easy cooking later. I throw some beef in the bag and if the marker falls two tick marks from my chosen magic location we're good. This method of relative estimation carries over into weighing myself on the scale every couple of days. I don't really read the number directly to know that I weight 142 lbs or 167 lbs. I just look at how close or far it hits from the nearest multiple of ten and figure that I'm up a pound or down a pound from the day before relative to the nearest big thick multiple of ten line marked on the scale. I have been monitoring the gradual ten pound weight gain since the week of Thanksgiving. Ten pounds. That's kind of a lot in my book for six weeks. I sure had a nice month and a half though of eating everything sweet. The results are beginning to show. I have at least stopped the upward climb and plateaued two pounds below the magic black line. I hadn't checked the scale in three, maybe four days. I had tried to stop my indulgent ways and felt pretty good about what I had eaten in the last few days. I even had carrots instead of popcorn or ice cream last night while we watched a movie after the kids were in bed. Boy did I feel amazing when the little black dial on the scale hit the big black line yesterday morning! Wahoo!! I did it. Magic carrots! I lost the eight pounds! I rule the world!! Errr...wait...what did I weigh before? Oh yeah. The devil is in the details. I was up two pounds, not down eight. Grrrrr! Being over thirty sucks. No more eating whatever. What I do actually has consequences now. Welcome to my new reality.