November 25, 2009

C-H-L-O-E! Gooooo Chloe!

She doesn't get it from Katie, and she certainly doesn't get it from me. So, where does Chloé get her athletic ability? We might have to go a ways back in the genealogy to find the answer to that question. It might just be from the same place she gets her mathematical prowess.

About a month ago, Chloé made the sophomore girls basketball team. She will also be doing some playing up on the JV team. Today was their first game, and it was a very close game until the last quarter when Provo sort of fell apart. Katie and I didn't have to do any consoling because Chloé took it all very well.  She did, however, make the first basket of the season.

Chloé felt the game was a good learning experience. She thought there were some things she did well, and some areas where she needs some work. Very mature, I'd say. She also learned long ago not to ask me for any basketball advice. Chloé has progressed way past the days of playing on an elementary school team when all I could point out to her was that she needed to learn to dribble the ball without looking at it. I figured out that much.

One thing I did notice is that Chloé did look good in her uniform. She's got quite the snazzy ensemble–home uniform, away uniform, warm up suit, practice jersey, t-shirt, and the all-important Nike tennis shoes. See what I mean?

Chloé striking her "Yeah, I know I look good" pose

I'm looking forward to the rest of the basketball season. It's going to be a lot of fun, and I'm sure the bulldogs* will have many winning games.

*I'd make a comment about Provo's mascot, but when I went to a high school whose mascot was the burro, I probably shouln't.

November 23, 2009

Rise and Shout (Sort-of Opera Style)

I was able to get six tickets to the BYU vs. Air Force game, two in really nice seats and four up in the nosebleeds. Chloe and I took the nice seats, and Liam sat with a friend and his two boys. It was a cold afternoon, but at least it didn't snow.

This game was a lot more fun than the last one we went to against TCU. In contrast to that game where BYU got badly walloped, we won. Also, I didn't have a certain 5 year-old with me begging to go home after the first quarter.

(click to enlarge)
Things to notice:
1. See how close Chloe and I are to the field. We also sat in chair seats.
2. In the middle right, you can see where Liam and friends sat. They are way up top in the corner.
3. Liam and his best friend, Tanner, LOVE their blue wigs.
4. Chloe insists she didn't spend the entire game texting a couple of boys. But, I've got proof.
5. The mountains were incredibly beautiful when the sun hit. Too bad my camera couldn't get the whole effect.
6. We followed two guys riding a love seat mounted on an electric wheelchair to the stadium. I think my parents need one. It goes about as fast as they do to walk the dog.

A while back, I wrote that I wanted to record us singing the Cougar Fight Song in our best opera voices. We didn't get the chance at the TCU game because after BYU's one-and-only touchdown, our videographer forgot to press "record." Luckily, BYU scored several times against Air Force. Chloe was extremely embarrassed and would only allow me to video us once. I could have definitely used a couple more takes, and I didn't go full out opera. But, oh well... Here it is. Before you watch it, I have to tell you to keep an eye on the dad and kids sitting behind us. The dad actually has a decent voice, but you can't hear it on the video.

Now, I know I'm going to receive a lot of flack from some of you because I messed up the words, which is probably an unforgivable sin since I work for the BYU Alumni Association. But, I am THE worst when it comes to remembering lyrics. Ask Katie and the kids, and they'll tell you I'm always inventing new lyrics to songs. Katie thinks I need those speech bubbles all the time to pop up around me. Wouldn't that be cool!

November 18, 2009

Just Doin' My Duty

If you haven't figured it out by now, let me tell you that I'm a very big fan of Annie Lennox. Read about it here. As a true fan, I take my obligation seriously to spread the word. So, here is her latest, a duet with David Gray. I give the video two big thumbs up. Their voices go so well together. The more I listen, the more I like. Now, I'm only hoping she gets back in the studio, releases another album, and does some tour dates in the US.

(Annie–If, by chance, you're reading this, please come do a concert in Utah. We'd love to have you over for dinner, too.)

And now to the video. Sit back and enjoy!

November 15, 2009

Girls DO Make Passes...

Unfortunately, it looks like Liam inherited my eyesight, and he got his first pair of glasses this week. For right now, he'll only need them to see the board at school. And luckily, he looks like this.

And NOT like this.

November 07, 2009

Give Us a Break!

Question: When your week is full of meltdowns and you feel like your life is going to pot, what should you do?

Answer: Go to the Melting Pot!

And that's just what Katie and I did. It really was just one of those weeks. The best part of my week was that I broke my toe, and it now looks like a miniature eggplant. Katie's week wasn't any better. So when Katie called me at work and said, "We need a break. Let's go to the Melting Pot," I thought it was the best idea I'd heard in a long time.

So, we said goodbye to the kids and headed north. On the way to Salt Lake, we had a little extra time to do a little hit-and-run IKEA shopping. We are firm believers that IKEA can always brighten a mood. The amazing thing is that we were in the store for only 30 minutes and left having only spent $7.95 on an IKEA cookbook. That's a first!  And, we came away feeling much better.

For the rest of the ride, Katie read to me from the cookbook, and we talked about the must-try recipes. When we arrived at the restaurant, we new things were looking up when we found a parking spot right in front of the restaurant. We were also seated in the same booth we sat in the first time we ate there—another good omen.

We learned from our first visit to the Melting Pot that the full fondue experience was too much for us. This time, we decided to just have the salad, cheese fondue, and dessert fondue. And believe me, that was plenty. We had such a great time. It was nice to be just the two of us. We talked about the events of the past week, and all the problems seemed to shrink and fall into perspective.

We had a coupon for $20 off, but we didn't read the fine print closely. It's only good Sunday through Thursday. Well, that's ok. We'll just have to come back the next time things get stressful. With the end of the school sememster and the holidays coming, I don't think it will be too long before we need some more fondue therapy.

Here I am enjoying the Yin Yang dessert fondue.
You may be wondering why I didn't post a picture of Katie.
Well, Katie has the most amazing knack to have her eyes
closed in practically every picture.

November 01, 2009

Halloween 2009

October seems to always be one of the busiest times for our family. At work, I'm usually dealing with homecoming events or Parents Weekend. For Katie, she's most likely buried underneath a pile of papers to grade. And every year, the kids seem to have more and more going on. And all this seems to be just the tip of the iceberg. Then comes Halloween. A typical Halloween is pulling an all-nighter to finish up costumes, fixing some elaborate recipe for the church Halloween party, running to the store at the last minute to get candy, and getting pumpkins carved and decorations up minutes before the first trick-or-treaters arrive. It can get so crazy that I don't really enjoy the holiday. However, this year turned out different.

First, we made it to Pumpkinland early in the week. Our yearly tradition is to go to a local nursery to get our pumpkins. For $3 a person, you can go through their corn maze, see some animals, play on a playground, and go through Light Alley. While some may think it's the ultimate in tacky, we find it charming. It has a down home feel to it, and we don't have to travel out of the city to experience the little family-owned farm.

(Click to enlarge.) 
Pumpkinland was a bit nippy but still fun. The third boy in the collage is Tomas' friend, Jeffrey. You can see Katie and the boys in the corn maze. In Light Alley, you can see the boys in front of Cinderella's carriage followed by inflatable M&M characters and scarecrows. I don't remember them from the Disney movie; they must have been cut. Also in Light Alley, I saw the moose made of lights hanging by, what looked like to me, a noose. Still charming, but slightly creepy!

Having Halloween on Saturday was very helpful, and no one had anything pressing to do or anywhere to be. So, we enjoyed a late waffle breakfast followed by pumpkin carving.

Tomas and Liam are the only ones in the pictures because the rest of us were still in our PJs and not presentable for the world to see on this blog.

Below are the final products. See if you can guess whose is whose.

The answers are from top left clockwise:
  1. Liam's barfing pumpkin (of course)
  2. Tomas' scared skeleton pumpkin. Katie helped with the carving, but he did a great job cleaning it out.
  3. Katie's skeleton pumpkin
  4. Curtis' Spirit of the Y pumpkin.
  5. Chloe's M&M character pumpkin
I was really amazed at how all the costumes came together so nice and easy (and well in advance of the church party).

Tomas wanted to be something military. Katie and Tomas found this sailor outfit at the local Army/Navy surplus store. Usually, as a matter of pride, we are against purchasing costumes. We prefer the homemade variety. But, this is what Tomas wanted to be and Katie couldn't beat the price.

Liam wore this WWI fighter pilot costume (also thanks to the Army/Navy surplus store) for his school research project last year. Liam is our kid who's not one for change and will will stick with something if it still works. Therefore, we didn't have to come up with anything new. We're always sure to get our money's worth out of him.

Here's Chloe with a couple of friends at the church Halloween party. If you can't tell, Chloe is a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle. She and three other friends at school were each a different turtle.  They were voted best costumes at school. I don't have a photo of all of them together, but Chloe assures me it will be in their yearbook.

What do most Mormons do on a Saturday afternoon? Answer: go grocery shopping. Katie and I were feeling the Halloween groove and decided to go in costume (to Chloe's horror). The above photo is the ghost of Marie Antoinette deciding which cake to let them eat. By the way, all that exercising Katie's been doing over the last several months has paid off. That is her high school prom dress.

And here is a side note I took from Katie's Facebook page:
"I'm basically a poster child for pacifism, so why are my kids dressed up as a WWI fighter pilot, a pint-sized recruit for the U.S. Navy, and a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle for Halloween? Guess it's more fun than dressing up as Gandhi."

Still shopping. I had two requirements for my costume. It first had to be easy to make, and secondly, it had to be comfortable to wear. I actually stole this idea from a friend who wore something similar last year, but he's since moved to Oregon. In this picture, I forgot to suck in my stomach. But, if we are going for the complete University of Utah stereotype, it could be considered a beer gut. I was amazed at how many people asked me if I was a Ute fan. Really? Come on, people! Think about it.

Katie, the boys, and I had a great time trick-or-treating. We have a wonderful neighborhood and the weather was perfect. Chloe went to a Halloween party with friends. After we got back, Katie and I watched the vampire movie, Twilight. It wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be. Maybe it was because I was in such a good mood after such a fun Halloween with the family.

I'm taking it as a good omen of a great holiday season to come.