Sunday, December 18, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

We spend Thanksgiving Weekend in Reno.  Cindy, Brian and their son Rhys joined us.  We went to Lake Tahoe on Thanksgiving Day and had a great dinner at Harrah's in South Lake Tahoe.  We also toured the capitol building of Nevada in Carson City, spent a day in Virginia City and met up with my uncle and other relatives who live in Reno.  Another year to be so thankful for wonderful family and friends.

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Monday, November 28, 2011

Rollercoaster Revisited

In mid November we took another family trip to Las Vegas.  It's full of family fun and I love the weather there, especially this time of year.  We went to one of our favorite places for the kids, the Circus Circus Adventuredome.  Lindsey and Sammy rode a roller coaster that Lindsey had ridden as a toddler.  She had just been tall enough for the minimum height requirement and had really wanted to ride.  The reality of the coaster, though, had turned out a lot more scary than it looked and she cried the whole way through and SCREAMED for us to get her off.  I felt so guilty!  But it doesn't look like that experience permanently scarred her.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Great School Reports

We met with both Lindsey's and Sammy's teachers today for parent-teacher conferences and we got great reports on both kids. Both teachers said how smart and well behaved our kids were. Wow, that was nice to hear.

It was a little surprising that both teachers (and this was in separate meetings) said how well they listened in class. They don't always listen at home but we're so proud how well they're both doing in school and that they listen to their teachers.  I guess all that reminding them to "listen" to us has paid off!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Trick or Treating 2011

We had a great Halloween.  The weather was warm and the candy plentiful.  And this is the first Halloween where Carley really understands.  You say, "trick or treat" and strangers give you candy and it's okay. 

All the kids really enjoyed getting dressed up this year.  Lindsey as Scooby Doo (of course), Sammy as Spiderman (of course) and Carley started out as Tinkerbell with a Princess Tiana crown.  I had to come up with a quick impromptu costume change for Carley, though, when we made the cardinal parental sin of taking a two year old trick or treating without making sure she had used the bathroom first.  To Carley's credit, we were several houses down the street when she called the potty alarm and she made it just inside the bathroom door but not unfortunately to the potty.  

As I was changing her, she saw the dog's Dracula costume and wanted to wear that and I threw the rest together in about 2 minutes.  Tada - a toddler girl Dracula with a Jedi lighted wand she had gotten from one of the neighbors who always gives away light toys instead of candy (great idea but must be expensive).

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Sunday, October 23, 2011

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Halloween

There's a house down the street from us that gets all decked out every Halloween.  They must have spent thousands on Halloween decorations over the years and every year it gets more and more spooky.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Red Lions Rock

Sammy is on a new soccer team this year.  Their uniform colors are white, black and red and the boys picked the team name of the Red Lions.  Today was their last game of the fall season.  They rock!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Lazy Friday

Today  at different times both Carley and Sammy fell asleep on our bed.  I guess playing is hard work.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Skating "Spooktacular"

This fall Lindsey has taken another 6 week class of "learn to skate".  She's really enjoying herself.  She passed Basic 1 last week and is ready to start Basic 2 in a couple of weeks. 

Their class skated together in an Halloween ice skating exhibition last night called "Skating Spooktacular".  She got to dress up in her favorite Halloween costume which is Scooby Doo.  That was an expensive costume when I bought it but I've definitely gotten my money's worth.  She was super excited and did great!
Final Bow with special effect spooky fog

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Oma Has Another Birthday

My mother turned 85 on her birthday, September 24th.  She's still going strong.  In fact she's in the middle of doing some remodeling to her kitchen.  Like last year, I took her down to Salt Lake City  for lunch at her favorite German restaurant and to see a musical, this year Mary Poppins.  And this year not only Lindsey came along but so did Sammy.  We also met Cindy and Brian for lunch.  We took the train down like last year.  Needless to say, Sammy loved that.  It was such a fun day.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Four Years of Blessings

Four years ago on September 17 during the Moon Festival in China, Sam became part of our family.  I can't imagine my life without Sammy as our son.  He is truly a blessing to us.  To honor the day, we went to an "artful" Moon Festival at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts and dinner at P F Changs. 

At the Art Museum, we saw a Lion Dance and to our surprise a picture of Sam and Lindsey feeding money to the lion for good luck showed up the next day in the Sunday newspaper entertainment section.  We also did chalk art, decorated paper lanterns, made paper Peking opera masks - at least that was the idea, the end result looked quite different but the kids had fun.

Picture in the newspaper, Sam with Lindsey behind him are feeding the lion

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Labor Day Weekend Festivities

We celebrated Labor Day weekend by going to a local festival "Stampede Days" on Antelope Island.  This island has been described as one of the wildest places in America that's so close to a developed urban area.  The day was beautiful and our friend Dave joined us for the outing. The perfect ending to our summer.
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Monday, September 5, 2011

Brine Flies

We went to Antelope Island, the largest island in the Great Salt Lake, yesterday for "Stampede Days".   We saw buffalo, antelope, an owl, a coyote and millions of brine flies.  The brine flies were so numerous they look like clouds of dust that the wind is blowing around when you walk through them.  Sammy and Lindsey and I had fun walking through them while Carley and Blain stayed a safe distance away even though they don't sting.

Friday, September 2, 2011


It's Friday evening before a 3 day weekend and all is well in our little world.  We've not only survived the 1st two weeks of school, but Sammy and Lindsey have done better than I thought they would.  They both have jumped right into the new routine and seem to be really enjoying school and like their teachers. 

The only problem has been that Sammy has hurt himself twice now on the school playground.  The first time was during Kindergarten orientation when he ran into a bar and the second time was yesterday when he tripped and face planted on asphalt.  He cried for so long that they called up Blain to pick him up because they said he was okay but inconsolable.  Even after Blain got him, he kept crying for his mommy so they called me at work when I was in a meeting so I could talk with him.  Fortunately it was a small meeting and I have a very understanding boss.  I was able to talk to him and calm him down. 

On a more positive note, Carley seems to have had another growth spurt and for the first time is able to reach the light switch.  She's growing up so fast!  I love my feisty and fun little girl, but she's a handful.  She definitely has a mind of her own and isn't shy about expressing herself.

1st Playground Injury

And it only gets worse - 2nd playground injury

It doesn't look like she can reach the switch...

But she can!

Monday, August 29, 2011

1st Day of Kindergarten for Sammy

Kindergarten starts locally one week after all the other grades, so even though Sammy had Kindergarten orientation last week today was his first real day of school.  We walked down to the school bus stop together and he got on board with Lindsey.  They both sat together and waved to me from their window as the bus pulled away.  That just made my heart melt!

I updated the slideshow from last week and have moved it to today's post to include pictures from this morning.

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Monday, August 22, 2011

First Day of School and Best Kid Quote of the Week

Today was the first day of school.  Lindsey is now a first grader!  She rode the school bus by herself for the first time (which we followed in our car for the first day just to make sure it well and to take pictures, of course). 

Last year we were driving her to a charter school across town.  This year we decided to enroll her and Sammy in our district school.  Turns out our district school did better in test scores and parent satisfaction than the charter school.  Plus the kids can catch the school bus just down the block.  Wunderbar!

Lindsey had a great first day.  She loved eating lunch at school.  Now that she's in first grade, she's in school for the full day.  Sammy starts Kindergarten next week but we did have a 1 hour Kindergarten orientation this morning.  They took the kids out to the playground so the teacher could talk to the parents about what they will be doing this year.  After a few minutes, in comes a little boy with an ice pack on his head.  It was Sammy, of course.  Poor kid ran into a pole on the playground.  That's our Sam.

On a side note, the best kid quote of the week and maybe even the month.  Yesterday, probably because of the excitement and nerves of school starting, the kids were crazy wild and misbehaving.  At one point I put Lindsey in a "time out".  Her response was, "FINE, then I will NOT say excuse me when I fart!!"  Well, I guess she told me off.  I had to turn away quickly so she couldn't see the expression on my face.  Shades of a quote from an old Monty Python movie, "I fart in your general direction".

School Bus

Lindsey with her Teacher

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Farm Petting Zoo

While Blain was gone for a quick, but much needed break to Vegas this past week, Dave and I took the kids to a farm petting zoo up in the mountains.  Lots of chickens, ducks, geese, pigs, goats, bunnies, llamas and horses.  Carley rode on her first horse.  She looked so tiny on the big horse but she did great holding on.  After the petting zoo, we had worked up a hearty appetite and treated ourselves to some raspberry shakes with our lunch, yummy!

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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Crazy Fortnight

For the Fourth of July weekend, on Saturday we took our camper up to Lava Hot Springs in Idaho and had a terrific weekend swimming at the Olympic size natural springs pool and enjoying the camping experience and exploring Lava Hot Springs.  On the night of the 4th, Cindy and Brian came up and joined us for dinner at a Thai restaurant but couldn't stay to see the fireworks that night which were great and we could see from our campsite.

Then we got up early on the 5th, drove the camper home, did a load of laundry, repacked a suitcase for Lindsey and me.  Then Blain gave us a ride to the airport and Lindsey and I flew out that night to visit my good friend in Denver, Barbara.  We spent 4 days in Denver and had a blast.  We went to the Denver Natural Museum 2 days it was so good, where we saw an Imax film, a planetarium film, a special exhibit on pirates and also a lot of rocks, dinosaur bones and taxidermy.  We also went to the Denver Aquarium and had a great time visiting with each other and a couple of other friends.

We flew home from Denver on Saturday night.  Then on Monday morning I flew to Dallas to take a 2 day training class for work.  It was well over a hundred degrees the 3 days we were there.  It felt a little strange being there because I was raised in the Dallas area as a child but it has been over 20 years since I've visited the area.  It felt so familiar and foreign at the same time.  I did really miss the mountains of Utah.  The Dallas area was so much flatter than I remember.  My coworkers and I did a little bit of sightseeing while we were there.  We went to Dealey Plaza and the Sixth Floor Museum where Lee Harvey Oswald had assassinated JFK, very interesting and very sad.  The other interesting thing we saw was a special exhibit on Genghis Khan at the Irving Art Museum.  I had no idea what a remarkable man and leader he was.  Plus we had some great Tex Mex food and Margaritas!

Finally I flew back on Thursday completely exhausted.  A week later after a lot of extra sleeping and extra grumpiness (just ask my family and my coworkers), I think I'm finally starting to recover.  Good news, I went to my neurosurgeon and found out that my neck vertebrae that were fused at the end of 2010 have successfully grown bone.  Almost all physical restrictions have been lifted.  Yeah, I can vacuum again!  Now, I need to pack to fly to Durango this weekend to visit my mother and brother who are in Pagosa Springs, CO for a couple of weeks.  I'm sure I'll have fun, but look out coworkers, friends and family - you'll have to put up with another week of grumpiness when I get back.  If I only didn't have to work.  It gets in the way of my recovering from my travels and social life.