Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Alyssa's New Look

Dear, sweet Alyssa got a couple of changes to her face today. One was planned, the other was not.

The bottom braces were planned. She's excited to have them in. Notice how much her top teeth have moved since this post - wow! They're straight.

We're looking forward to the same kind of progress with her bottom teeth, especially the one that's sticking so far out. It's putting such a strain on the wire that one bracket popped off less than an hour after her appointment. Good thing we were still near the orthodontist, getting samples and toilet paper at Costco.

The other change to her appearance is the big raspberry on her left cheek. This was not planned. Poor Aly was running up and down the driveway while waiting for the school bus this morning (she has three hours of summer school a day). Anyway, just as the bus arrived, she took a tumble. It was like she fell in slow motion - to the knees, then the hands, then right onto the face. Ouch!

I'm very glad the tooth sticking out on the bottom didn't poke her lip or break off - I've been worried about that for a while. Yikes!

After The Vacation

We've been home for a little over a week, and I've accumulated enough little snippets to make a full blog post.

As mentioned in the previous blog post, the AC was on the fritz when we got home. Some guys came and replaced the capacitor, and it worked. For a day. Then it went all intermittent on us.

It was the compressor. Boo.

We got that replaced on Wednesday. A pain in the right hip pocket, to be sure. But so far, so good. And the new compressor is a heat pump, so hopefully our heating bills won't be so high this winter.

Also happening since the last post was our 19th anniversary. We rented a movie and went on a "date" in our room while Shari watched the girls.

It's been very hot here - over 100 ever day since getting back. Bleh.

Alyssa got a baby tooth pulled last Thursday, and today she gets the braces on her bottom teeth. Should be exciting.

I've been feeling wiped out since we got home. Not exactly sure what's up there - maybe a virus? Hope I get back to full-strength soon.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

SV2K9 - End of the Road

As the saying goes, all good things must come to an end, and that would include our fun and exciting Summer Vacation 2009.

As the trip wound up, we stopped by and visited my friend Andrea and her family.

Then on the way out of town, we dropped by Elizabeth's house and hand-delivered the cocoa maker she won playing the 500th Post Liar's Game. That was a lot of fun.

The hardest part of these long road trips is always the drive home. Everyone is tired. The fun and excitement are past. And, after two days of driving, we'll be greeted by two weeks worth of work that needs to be caught up. Yeah, it can be a bit of a let down.

So to help with the trip, we stopped at several parks and playgrounds along the way.

We knew we were in Texas when the thermometer hit 100 degrees. Yeah it was hot. I mentioned it to Kara, and she said, "Think cool thoughts, because the air conditioning stopped working this afternoon."

Great.

But we arrived home safe and sound Sunday evening. We said our happy greetings, got the essentials unpacked, took cool showers and went to bed - hot, tired, and glad to be home.

And, so you know, the AC was fixed by Monday morning - blown capacitor. Hooray for cool!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

SV2K9 - Too Much Fun for Regular Posts

Yeah, it's been a busy one. No two ways about that. I've been working hard all day and playing hard all night. Well, at least until 10 or 11.

Man, I'm getting old.

Anyway, here are some highlights from the last few days.

Sunday night we got to visit with my friend Mike and his wife Shauna. They live in Austin, three hours from us, but we never see them in Texas. Instead, we all had to drive 20+ hours to Utah to get together.

Monday we piled into the car and headed to Jeff and Kathy Shumway's house for a Hawaii Friends get together.

On the way, Anna went shopping with cousins and aunties, and got a makeover, complete with ear piercings.

Then last night we went to my dad's and had a fun evening visiting and playing games.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

SV2K9 - Running Amok With The Cousins

Here they are - all eleven cousins, in a rare moment of stillness.

We went to Jen's house and had a family barbecue. After eating, the kids rode the horse.

There was also some time to jump on the trampoline.

And Alyssa enjoyed playing with cousin McKenna.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

SV2K9 - Dude Ranch

Yesterday the girls had a great time playing with their cousins and going to the pool with Grandma. I have no pictures, because I was working. At least, no pictures other than that of Alyssa and Jake playing trains, which happened after I got home.

Today the girls went to spend a couple of days with my sister Jen and her girls. They have horses, which is why I titled this post "Dude Ranch." Hopefully Anna will take pictures.

At work, we had a basketball tournament finals and a barbecue. I was not a good dieter at the barbecue, and did not burn off any calories with basketball. I may need to walk home.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

SV2K9 - Days 3, 4, and 5

Sunday we went to church in Carlsbad, and met the granddaughter of the man who was our first bishop in Hawaii. I love those "small world" moments.

Then we went to the Birch Aquarium, which was very interesting.

While we were there, the girls tried their hand at presenting the news.

Then it was back to the sea. We walked up and down the beach in La Jolla, looking for shells and letting the waves lap at our feet.

We had a nice dinner out at the Olive Garden, and then returned to our room and basically crashed.

The next day, we drove back to La Jolla to see if we could spot some seals, which we did. We went to Shell Beach, where Alyssa ran and ran, and Anna looked for shells.

Then it was off to Mission Bay in San Diego, where we played miniature golf at Belmont Park, and the girls rode on the Tilt-a-Whirl.

Then we went to see Up!, after which we drove back to the beach. Unfortunately, Alyssa was pretty much worn out by now, and not even sitting in the movie theater for a couple of hours could stave off a bad case of ballistic whining. It was not pretty.

We went to bed early, got up early, and drove to Utah without incident. Today, I've been working hard, while the girls have been running amok with Grandma and the cousins. I miss the little buggers, and can't wait to leave work so I can hear how their day went.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

SV2K9 - The Beach

After our long drive Friday, we slept in a little on Saturday, then continued our westward journey. Despite being a much shorter driving day, it seemed to take forever. This was complicated by the fact that Carly gave us some unwise directions, taking us from the freeway and onto a winding, two lane mountain road with a ton of stoplights. I told Carly some bad words and threatened physical violence against her.

Next time she suggests a detour like that, I'll ignore her and follow my gut.

But we got to the hotel, bought our first meal out since leaving, then headed to the beach.

That was the point of this side trip to San Diego, after all.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

SV2K9 - Day 1 Report

Summer Vacation 2009 - SV2K9 - is off to a fantastic start. We got the van loaded Thursday night, and made it to bed only a half-hour late. Friday morning everyone helped get ready, so although we missed the aggressive goal of a 5:30 departure, we were on the road by 5:47, and that suits me just fine.

According to Carly, we drove 904.8 miles in 12 hours and 47 minutes, with just under two hours of stopping time. Everyone was pleasant most of the time, and kept themselves entertained in the van.

It's interesting to note that last year Alyssa's biggest complaint was that her feet kept falling asleep, as the were dangling above the floor. We resolved this by putting her backpack under her feet. Well, yesterday we were on our last of our 7 legs when I realized that she hadn't complained about her feet once. I glanced back and saw that they were firmly planted on the floor. She's growing up so fast.

After we got to the hotel, we decided it was time for a wind-down swim. Anna was very excited to try out her monofin - a single flipper for both feet that requires a dolphin or mermaid-type swimming motion. The pool was nice and warm, and we probably spent 45 minutes swimming and (in Alyssa's case) bouncing and walking along the shallow end.

Today we have 6-7 hours of driving, and then we'll spend the afternoon and evening playing. But now it's time for the free hotel breakfast. We haven't spent any money on food so far this trip, having brought a cooler and box full of meals and snacks. It's working out really well. However, we may celebrate our arrival on the coast with a nice dinner out.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Trip Prep - It Just Might Happen


I have two goals for the immediate future: Sleep 8 hours tonight, and leave home by 5:30 tomorrow morning.

Difficult? Yes. But hopefully not impossible.

If I succeed, I will credit careful planning and children who were finally old enough to help.

If I fail, I'll blame children who were old enough to help, but didn't.

We have a growing collection of boxes and bags that are ready to load in the van, and I expect that collection to double by dinner time. If my careful planning comes to fruition, the van will be completely loaded (except for the coolers) by our 9:00 bedtime. Then in the morning we just shower, dress, fill the coolers, warm the breakfast burritos, clamber into the van, pray for safety, and depart for the Great Summer Road Trip - all within thirty minutes.

It could happen.

Realistically, I'll be fine if we don't leave until 6:00. And I'll survive, even if I don't get to bed until ten. But tomorrow's leg involves 13 1/2 hours of driving time, plus five stretch-and-pee stops. It's gotta start early, and I'll need to be rested.

And maybe a couple of Dr. Peppers will help.