Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas Letter 2010

The Yule log has rolled down the calendar once again, and it’s time for the Tolman Family to avoid paying postage by sending out an electronic Christmas Letter. Fa-la-la-la-la! It’s been a pleasant enough year, with every member of the family experiencing some significant firsts:

Jon earned a 4.0 for the first time since elementary school, and classes like Advanced Pathophysiology were a bit more straining than Cursive. He’s on track to finish his master’s degree a year from now. He also grew his first crop of zucchini, created his first furniture, and saw his first baby squirrel.

Becky watched her first episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. She then proceeded to watch her 2nd through 53rd episodes of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Has her husband turned this once hip babe into an individual who cares what the Jem ‘Hadar are going to do next? Aside from turning into a total nerd, she managed her first major home improvement as the floor got tiled and her first solo run on a riding lawn mower. I have a feeling that riding lawn mowers will be the handcarts of the 21st century.

Samantha exceeded all reasonable expectations for a normally developing human in her first semester of public education. Kindergarten is enjoyable for her, even if it is . . . elementary. She also received her first love note, though not likely the last. Perhaps we should do something to stem the tide. I’m thinking of something like a pungent body spray.

Lucy, our three-year-old, got her first hair cut, attended her first preschool, and spontaneously quoted her first scripture. Her preschool is run by a pious blind man, which is nice because all the kids get equal praise on their artwork.

Nora, as the youngest, had more firsts than anyone else. These included her first sentence, her first waste excretion in a designated receptacle, and her first tantrum involving the wrong television program.

In the coming year, we’re expecting some more exciting firsts: our first time in 5 years without a child in diapers, our first haiku death match, and our first mental breakdown related to that horribly evil mole that keeps destroying our yard. I’m going to get a back-hoe and DESTROY IT!! KILL AND DESTSTOY IT, I TELL YOU!!!

So Merry Christmas or Hanukkah or Boxing Day or whatever. As usual, if you want more frequent and thorough updates, you can visit our blog at or you can ask people who have heard things about us. Ho Ho Ho!
Love, The Tolmans

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


Last night, we decorated some gingerbread lollipop cookie things that came in a cute little kit. The kit included the gingerbread people, the frosting, colored candies, and the sticks.

Sam did a beautiful jobs, giving her gingerbread man sumptuous lavender eyes and Angelina Jolie lips.

Dad went goth with his Ghost of Gingerbread Future.

Mommy decided to go swanky with her Gingerbread French Maid

And I swear to you that Lucy did this all by herself.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


It's cold outside. Maybe I'm getting old, but cold like this isn't exciting anymore. Perhaps cold weather like this would be more enjoyable if our windows were less drafty.
At least my wife looks good at all temperatures.
We put up the tree and Nora has green diarrhea. Of those two items, I chose to depict the tree.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Head2Toe Health Care

I realized that I failed to mention to my limited blog-readership that my mother has started a primary healthcare clinic in Aurora, CO. Obviously, this news will only be relevant to a geographically limited number of people, but it's still pretty cool.
She can accept almost all insurance plans, and if you don't have insurance, she's still a lot more affordable than other clinics. Right now, she's offering flu shots for $15, but she's seen people for everything from strep throat to tumors. (If you have a tumor, she'll refer you to someone who can fix it.) She has an especially cool plan in which you can "join" her practice for $25/month and then you can call her or go in any time at all without any copays. So it's like you're renting her.
Anyway, nurse practitioners are the family practice providers of the future. You might as well get with a good one now.

This is her website: where you can set your own appointments and what-not.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Your Kids are Perfectly Acceptable

We've been to our first of 11 elementary school Christmas concerts. It wasn't nearly as painful as one might have expected. Each grade only had two numbers, and some of the ones that didn't involve our daughter were actually amusing.
I have to admit, it's very gratifying seeing your daughter up on stage and notice that she is quantifiably the smartest, most attractive, and most talented child within the boundaries of her elementary school.

There she is in the center with her boots and her red gingerbread dress, beaming joy into the world.

This is Nora, not watching the concert. Lucy didn't get to have a picture taken of her because she was a nasty little 3-year-old monster throughout the evening.
This was the finale with all the kids in the school singing. You might have to search for her. She's little tiny one with the halo.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanks for Colorado

Happy Gluttonous Feast Day, everyone. We went to Colorado. It was a fairly relaxed week in the Mile-high State, with movies, Balderdash games, and Turkey carcass parachutes dominating the festivities.

This is a fairly typical scene. The TV was either football or Team Oomi-Zoomi.

Samantha and Lucy gravitated toward their older, but not-too-older cousin, Eva. Mostly, they just tied leashes onto one another and barked. Girls have no self-respect these days.

Lucy and Nora gravitated toward Grandpa and Grandma's jacuzzi tub, which is a much more efficient bubble producer than our bath at home.

These are a few shots of the very cold, but very worth-while turkey carcass weather balloon parachute launch. For a more comprehensive documentation of the event, click here.

After a long drive home on Friday, our three darlings settled quickly back into their midwestern lives with a hardy bowl of grits each. I'm completely serious. All three of them wanted a bowl of grits at 8:30 PM when we got home.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Hoofin' It

Today in my assessment class, we got to practice suturing. We were each given a pig hoof, which we then got to injure, and then repair.
So if any of you happen to get a deep cut in the middle of your human-to-pig or pig-to-human tranformation, I'm here for you.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Better than a Urinating Bull

Becky decided to have her forehead lightened.

But before she did that, she went on a field trip with Samantha.
Now, I think I remember going on a field trip or two when I was in elementary school. Actually, the only special occasion I have a clear memory of is when a rancher brought a live bull to school, and we all got to go out and watch it stand there in the school yard and giggle when it peed in the grass.
Sam, on the other hand, went to the circus.

Here she is, sitting on the bus in front of another cute little girl that isn't quite as cute or smart as she is.

And here's Sam and Becky, sitting in their seats, waiting for the CIRCUS to start.

And here's some elephants standing on stools and doing the conga, which I think everybody will agree, is much more imprassive than a bull peeing in a field.

(Actually, Becky said most of the acts were pretty lame. Dogs refusing to do tricks, tigers moving from platform to platform over and over again, out-of-shape women performing poorly-coreographed dances)
Oh, well. It was the circus.

Thursday, November 4, 2010


My, how month doth fly. Month doth. Month doth. Try saying "month doth" five times really fast.
Yes, we're back, but we really enjoyed our month of extremely limited computer use, so I don't think we'll be posting as much as we were before.

So, here we go.

The weather has turned chilly, and given our three very fashion-conscious offspring a chance to take even longer getting dressed while they accessorize.

As it turns out, we DID have some hail damage on our roof, so a couple guys from Ashco Exteriors, one with biceps bigger than.... I don't know. He had uncomfortably large biceps. Anyway they came over and arranged with our insurance to give us a new roof.
Not incredibly dramatic, but it does look nicer.
Lucy's been enjoying preschool. It's a great school, but it's bordering on being a little too...evangelical for us. The other day she came home reciting something like, "We declare ourselves friends, in the NAME OF THE LORD!"

Becky, Nora and I got to join her on a field trip to the fire station. Life Flight helicopters weigh about as much as a Buick.

Some lovely people in our ward invited us to their 1-year-old's birthday party at a pumpkin patch. They spend more money on birthday parties than we do.

There was a large, bouncy thing that Sam handled proficiently.

There were pumpkins, which Lucy scaled awkwardly.

And there was a springy horse, which Nora rode obsessively.

And then came Halloween. Unfortunately, the best pictures are locked away on Grandma Sue's camera, but this is how our older two were dressed.
We'll find some pictures of Nora eventually, but this is about what she looked like:

And, since it's been a month since we posted, we'll have to include Lucy dancing. If you're tired of videos of Lucy dancing, go visit another blog. Seriously, what do you people WANT?

You may have noticed that pantless Nora was in there. She's been making a lot of requests to sit on the potty and making deposits about 10% of the time. Usually, it's a ploy to get half undressed so that she can then request a bath. Sneaky little trout.

And here is a video of our couch.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Displays of Excellence

Alright, enough opinions.
Here's our old girl.

Here's our big tree changing colors.

Here's our baby politely refusing carrot-baby food.

Addendum: We've decided as a family to see how ignoring the computer for a month will affect our lives. We both realized that at times, we were shooing the children away or sitting them down in front of the TV so that we could check blogs or make pithy remarks on Facebook or surf.
So for October, if you want to get hold of us, we'll still be answering our phones. I imagine our next post will be post Halloween.
Tolmanitude out.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

My Diabetic Pre-existence

I usually try to keep the family blog away from politics or culture or other things that might estrange our friends, but sometimes politics and culture walk up and slap our family in the face.
As some of you may recall, I lost my job couple months ago. At that time, I also lost my family's health insurance. It didn't take me too terribly long to find another job with benefits.
Well, I went to my endocrinologist a couple weeks ago for a check-up regarding my type I diabetes, a condition I've had since childhood. I submitted all my new insurance information and paid my $35 co-pay. Yesterday, I got a letter from FMH CoreSource (my benefits company) stating that my health care plan contains a pre-existing conditions clause, and if I don't provide proof that my gap in coverage was less than 63 days, my claim will be denied.
Fortunately, I don't think my gap in coverage was more than 63 days. What really kills me is that CoreSource and Lifetime Benefits (my old insurance) are BOTH subsidiaries of Aetna. So even though I've been funneling quite a few bucks to them out of my paycheck over the last 3 years, they try to deny coverage at the first opportunity.
I asked the gal at CoreSource when the new laws would go into effect that made this kind of thing illegal. She said, "Oh, we won't have to worry about that for a couple more years."
Now, I know that a majority of our friends would place themselves in the reddish region of the political spectrum, and some of them have even done some marching and holding signs as they express themselves. To them, I would say this:
Before you start picketing in support of some of these guys that are promising to repeal the health care reform bill, please just ask those guys which part of the bill is the part that needs to go. I certainly don't understand everything in that legislation, but I know that it's designed to make it more difficult for insurance companies to screw over a middle-class, diabetic dad who is trying to stay alive with his pre-existing conditions while he supports a family of five (By the way, even though I'm still with Aetna, my deductible started over, so I got to pay almost $200 for a 3-month supply of insulin and testing supplies).
If the Republicans want to get into power and make their own improvements, great. Tort reform? Fantastic. Go for it. Interstate insurance commerce? Fabulous. But don't take a giant step backwards just so you can say you were the only ones who made a difference. That's stupid.
That's all.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Angel Poop

We had a pretty good hail storm a few days ago. Actually, we were up in Liberty at the time, but came home to some fairly impressive results. We didn't sustain any roof damage, as far as I can tell, but I know that there were people in the area who lost windshields. How could Obama let this happen???
There's a tall tree with big, broad leaves next to our garage. You see that some of the leaves took a pretty good beating.
Maybe if have a few more storms like that, we can get all the leave raking out of the way now, before it gets too cold.

This is a mitochondrion.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Stools and Schools

Now, I don't want to mislead anyone into thinking that our youngest daughter is more awesome than she really is. We haven't actually made any deposits into the pink plastic portal. But she IS clutching herself and saying "PEE PEE" whenever she's gone in her diaper. So this post isn't to announce any early milestones, it's really just to make Aunt Chrissy jealous.
And Lucy had her first day of preschool. It's surprisingly cheap, despite the high teacher-to-kid ratio. Plus, the teacher sent a good page-long individualized email telling all about Lucy's day.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Nose Hair and Heroism

You know, there comes a time in a man's life when he has to take a minute and really think about things. He has to wonder about the direction his life has taken. He has to wonder what brought him to the point where his wife would go to Big Lots and purchase a nose/ear hair trimmer and present it to him with a sheepish look that says, "Hey, you really actually need this. Sorry, buddy."

Dora. Dora the Explorer. Dora, we a-dora thee. Dora the Explora, command us what to Do-ra.

The only way your kids could be cooler is if they actually fly.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010


A couple posts ago, we told you few folks that still visit that we had captured a cocoon and were hoping for a more positive outcome that our last butterfly hatching. Well, lo and feakin' behold.

We didn't notice that the critter had emerged until it had already dropped down and moved over to a plastic bag on the counter. The kitchen looks the way it does because Becky decided to paint the walls.....again.
We moved it outside pretty quick. I figure that if the oil-based paint fumes were burning MY eyes, it must have been even more uncomfortable for a newborn who breathes through its skin.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Learned Child of Mine

Our oldest child joined the ranks of the publicly educated this week. She even rode the bus to school. I will now narrate her thoughts during her arrival back to the house on Thursday.
"I may seem small compared to the vehicle on which I traveled, but I will soon have the power to destroy objects many times that size with a single, focused thought."
"Hello, youngest sister. I'm back from a day of intellectual growth and socialization. I'm sorry you had to deal with Lucy all by yourself, but I think my absence will ultimately lead to a closer bond between the two of you."
"Hello, Lucy. I'm sorry you had to deal with that screaming baby all by yourself today. Don't worry. I'm home now and you and I can immediately start giggling about the cute boys in my class. Most of them look and smell like hemorrhoids."

"The square of the hypotenuse of any right triangle is equal to the sum of the squares of the two remaining sides."