Monday, December 31, 2007

New Years Eve 2007

Trevor and Maria spent Christmas with her parents in Pennsylvania and then came to our place for New Years. They were kind enough to bring Logan and Samara some additional Christmas gifts as well. On New Years Eve we went over to some friends house and had a slumber party! We had a blast pigging out all night, playing games, and just talking. I don't have any pics from the party but here are the pics with Trevor and Maria.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Udvar Hazy Air and Space Museum

Most everyone knows of the Air and Space Museum on the mall in Washington DC, but not many know of its sister museum located right next to the Dulles Airport (and thus about 5 minutes from us.) The Udvar Hazy museum is basically a giant aircraft hangar where all the planes that wont fit into the main A&S museum go. It's unbelievable how many planes they've fit into this place. I of coursed loved it but I was also surprised how much everyone enjoyed being there - Samara especially had a good time.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas 2007

We had another wonderful Christmas this year. Almost all of the immediate family was able to meet up at Mom and Dad's house, Mike and Tara being the exception. Amazingly, this was also the first time Shawn brought McKenzie out to the east coast.

As to be expected nowadays the little kids made out like bandits! Among Logan's gifts were a guitar and remote control car (both blue!) His cousins both received new bikes and the younger girls received copious amounts of other various small toys. Tiffany and I finally bought ourselves a digital camera. Our original beloved 3 megapixel camera has finally retired after 6,857 photos. In retirement it will probably be used quite frequently by our tech savvy four year old.

Being true Marylanders we had to prepare some crab cakes for McKenzie. She also got a wonderful tour of DC, Mt. Vernon, the Inner Harbor, and the beautiful horse country.

This year was also the first year that I watched "It's a Wonderful Life". I always make sure to catch my favorite "A Christmas Story" at least once, but I somehow managed to skip "It's a Wonderful Life" for 27 years. I only wish I'd seen it earlier now.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

100,000 Views!

My little helicopter video has received 100,000 views on YouTube!
I posted it there March 29 2007 and it hit the 100k viewer mark on December 6 of this year. That averages out to about 395 views each day (it started slow, but I've noticed that recently I get about 1,000 views a day.) Not bad!
I enjoy checking out the page and reading the wonderful comments a lot of the viewers have left. It goes to show that not everyone on the Internet is cold and heartless as it sometimes seems.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thanksgiving

We spent this Thanksgiving down in Richmond visiting my brother and his in-laws. We had a huge feast with around 30 adults and kids total. Three turkeys were cooked; 1 traditional style in the oven, 1 deep fried after soaking in brine, and the last was injected and coated with delicious cajun seasoning then deep fried. Delicious!

Its turning into a Richmond tradition that we all go shooting guns on turkey day and this year didn't disappoint. Rory just purchased a brand new auto loading Remington 870 shotgun that we had fun breaking in. His in-laws had an old pickup truck that no longer worked that we were able to push into the woods to shoot up. We had a blast shooting out the tires, windshield, and everything else on the truck. Even the wives came out for a little fun. Rory also recently purchased a clay pigeon trap that we set up and fired a couple boxes of clays from. Overall it was a fantastic Thanksgiving holiday.

Here are some videos of the boys having fun.







Saturday, November 17, 2007

Dinner Time

This is pretty much a typical dinner for us. The kids usually act goofy, Samara throws her food and tries to get out of the high chair. The only thing atypical about this video is that Logan ate this whole plate of food. There's normally crying, tears, threats of being grounded, and near throwing up.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Kids playing together. Dad playing games.

Samara and Logan love playing together - here they're in one of their rowdy moods. As usual, the rough housing only ends once someone gets hurt.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Halloween

Time for my favorite holiday! Halloween is a blast now that we can experience it again vicariously through our children. Logan dressed as the pirate Jack Sparrow and Samara as a cute little monkey. We recently watched Pirates of the Caribbean with Logan and he was a little bewildered to find out that pirates were actually bad guys. They're always made out to be fun and adventurous in stories and books. It seemed like a pretty big moment of realization for him.

Samara really got into the Halloween spirit while 'trick or treating'. She didn't want us to carry her or her pumpkin even though it was getting so heavy with candy that it was throwing her off balance.

We also carved a Jack-O-Lantern for the first time with the kids. They had a blast helping me out - Logan sketched the outline on the pumpkin and Samara tried to clean the insides of the pumpkin by eating all the seeds!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Alonzo Stagg Hike ver. 3.0

I did the 50 mile hike again this year (my old church group in Maryland puts it on every year.)
The hike started off really bad. After reaching the start of the race at 9pm, I realized I left my bag of essentials (music player, moleskin, and pain killers) at home. So as the first group was leaving to start the hike I had to drive home and pick up the bag. That set me back 40 minutes right from the start. As I was driving to pick up my bag the sky opened up and let down a fury of rain. All the other hikers who started on time were getting drenched. It was still raining when I arrived back at the trail with my bag so I had to grin and bear it and head out in the cold cold rain to catch up with the group. I ended up having to run about 3 miles in the pouring rain to catch up to them. The most important thing to take care of on these hikes are your feet and I had just started a 50 mile hike with completely soaked shoes and socks. This was not looking good.

The rain stopped after about a half hour and we slowly started to dry out. I decided to put on some dry socks even though they'd get wet pretty fast from my still soaking shoes. It took me a while to figure out what to do with the original wet socks so that they'd dry out, but eventually I used my brain and wore the socks on my hands like mittens. The heat from my hands and the exposure to open air dried them out really quick. I rotated those two pair of socks throughout the rest of the hike.

The bulk of the hike passed by uneventfully. My friend and I would sometimes talk to each other and other times just listen to music.

I was dealing with my legs tightening up throughout the majority of the hike. At the checkpoints I'd be sure to stretch them out as best I could. At mile 35 I was feeling pretty good and decided to start jogging a little. It was hard at first but running actually felt better and stretched out my legs.

At that point I was second to last of all the people who eventually finished. When I started running I didn't plan on running long, but I felt OK so I kept on going. I ran approximately 13 of the last 15 miles! I have no idea how I pulled that off. The most I've ever run before was 7 miles and that was back in high school. This wasn't a fast paced run, but for having just walked around 35 miles it was pretty impressive. I ended up going from second to last to finishing second. My overall time was a personal best for the hike - All 50 miles in 14.5 hours.
Other than being tight for a couple days afterwards I was fine. I recovered much better than expected. It usually takes me a couple of months to say I'd be willing to do it again next year, but I'm already looking forward it next time.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Shawn and McKenzie's Wedding

My brother Shawn and McKenzie were married in the Salt Lake Temple on Sept. 21 2007. It's hard to believe but it's been four long years since I have gone back to Utah. As much as I dislike the state, it also holds a special place in my heart so it was good to go back. We had an absolutely fabulous time seeing relatives and old friends in the area. It was good for me just to hang out with all my brothers again. The wedding was perfect - they could've have picked a better day weather wise.
Congrats Shawn and McKenzie!

Friday, September 28, 2007

Kid Quotes

Tiffany and Logan flew back from Utah by themselves last week. Whenever you fly with a child, the flight sterwardesses always come over and tell you that 'in the event of a drop in cabin pressure' put the oxygen mask on yourself first, then put it on your child. The flight stewardess finished, turned around, and started to walk away. Logan stood up on his chair and yelled out...
"Hey you! I can't breathe. I need one of those things!"

The entire plane cracked up

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Fishing With Coworkers

I had the chance to head out on the Chesapeake today on Rich's boat with my coworkers. We all worked about a half day then took off early to make the trip out to the boat for some afternoon fishing. It seemed like it would be a perfect day for fishing weather wise, and it was except for a stiff breeze from the North that made some nice six foot swells. Two of my coworkers got sea sick but we still managed to bring in a good catch of fish. We followed around schools of bait fish that were being devoured in a feeding frenzy by birds and other larger fish. As soon as we drove through the frenzy we'd inevitably have several hits on our lines. We were targeting the beautiful Spanish mackerel (which are only in the area about one month a year) and Bluefish. We definitely found the fish we were looking for. We caught 12 Spanish mackerel, 17 Bluefish, a several small Rock fish - two of which were keepers.

Friday, August 24, 2007

The Outer Banks, North Carolina

We just got back from our wonderful vacation to the Outer Banks of North Carolina (referred to OBX for Outer BanX). The Outer Banks are a thin strip of islands that line the eastern side of North Carolina in the Atlantic much like Galveston, TX on the Gulf of Mexico. We vacationed there three years ago and enjoyed it so much that we vowed this would become a semi regular thing.

The Outer Banks are a different type of beach vacation. There are no flashy resorts, no trendy shops, no boardwalks, and especially no crowds. If you're looking for a good place to party, this isn't it. You go to the Outer Banks if you're looking for some quality family time and some good old peace and quite. There are a few places that are quite popular like Nags Head and Kitty Hawk (home of the Wright brothers' first flight) but we avoid those places and stay in the little town of Avon. Avon is small in that it stretches just a couple of miles along the Outer Banks' only highway but is just big enough to have a grocery store, a peer, a small movie theater, and a few shops.

We stayed an entire week, with two days spent pretty much just traveling there and back. I had a near catastrophe with my car two days before we were to leave. I drove up to Mom and Dad's house to change my car oil in preparation for the long drive ahead of us. I somehow managed to strip the oil pan drain plug bolt so that it would no longer completely screw in. I was dripping a drop of oil about every 10 seconds. I couldn't believe it. Out of all the times to screw up an oil job I had to do it right before we were supposed to leave for vacation. There was no way we could drive it to North Carolina like that. The only option was to replace the entire oil pan. The next day (the last day before vacation) Dad and I worked on replacing the oil pan for about 4 hours - till 1am (my parents were hosting a wedding reception at the house so we couldn't get started until pretty late.) There were so many rusty old bolts to unscrew we thought we might not be able to do it. Looking back it was a miracle we were able to get the new part and replace it in that time frame. The car has driven fine since.

And its a good thing the car drove fine, because we spent hours sitting in traffic the next day. The commute to OBX should normally take between seven and eight hours from Maryland. It took us eleven... and my car has a manual transmission. I think I'd rather cut my leg off than work the clutch in stop and go traffic like that. What's worse is that we knew and planned to take some back roads that would redirect us around the heavily traveled roads, but at the last minutes we decided to take the main way so that the OBX first timers could see some of the touristy towns along the way. The commute back a week later wasn't great either - taking nine hours with more stop and go traffic. Tiffany did spot a scrapbook store in Kill Devil Hills (it's a town) on the way home and picked up some great stuff to put together another awesome vacation scrapbook.

The following is my digital scrapbook of our vacation.

The Beach House

The beach houses on the Outer Banks don't look all that special from the outside. The exteriors don't hold up well to the harsh environment that the ocean brings; the salty air and strong winds batter the wood siding making it look much older than it really is. Once you get past the exterior and step inside the house though, they can be amazing.

Our house this year was absurd. It had 5 different floors! It's absolutely mind boggling how much space they can create when the footprint of the house is so small. In all we had twenty people staying in the house and everybody fit comfortably. There are 8 or 9 bedrooms I believe, each with their own bath. Most of the interior had recently been refinished with new granite, carpet, and furniture. There are stairs galore, inside the house of course but outside as well (there are decks on each level). I believe there were flat screen TVs with cable and a DVD player in every room. A pool table, Playstation 2, and mini kitchen in the downstairs 'hangout' area. The outside bottom floor deck was perfect for a beach house. It had an outdoor shower you could use to wash the salt and sand off your body, hoses and other water spouts for spraying off your gear and cleaning around the deck, a grill, as well as a massive hot tub with lights and jets galore.

Each family had the responsibility of preparing dinner for the rest of the crew one night of the week. Mom and Dad pulled through big one night of the week and ordered pizza and crabs. These aren't the big old Alaskan king crab legs that you dip in butter, eat one and you're full. These are the Maryland style blue crabs that have so much seasoning on them that your lips and fingers start to burn, that make you crack shells for an hour to get a stomach full, that cause such a mess that you have to cover your table with newspaper...these are the best crabs ever. I'm in absolute heaven with a pile of crabs in front of me. I'll sit there and pick apart the crabs, digging out the smallest pockets of meat for hours. Dad managed to snag a half bushel worth of them for only $60 from a small local seafood shop. The whole gang fed themselves and there were even some left over. Mike and I begrudgingly took the bullet and finished off the few crabs remaining ;-).

Samara was a crab monster, chowing down the meat much faster than I could give it to her. Logan was his typical self and didn't want to try any. I forced him to take a bite just to see if he liked it, but of course he said he didn't and that was the last bite he took. His cousins Jason and Bradley had a fun time hammering away at the shells with the crab mallets (boys will be boys.) It was an awesome feast.Logan's cousin Jason celebrated his his 6th birthday while we were at the beach. He was really worried about getting 6 birthday spankings from nineteen different people, so we had to convince him that we wouldn't do it. His party was a bit chaotic with so many kids around. They all had a good time unwrapping presents (the little stinker Samara tried to unwrap them all first.), playing with his new toys, and whacking each other over the head with birthday balloons.

My sister in law, Sonya, got it into her head somehow that she wanted to dye her hair. She's naturally a red head but wanted to dye it dark. She was nervous about doing it but felt empowered with all the girl power in the house. The ladies chit chatted about doing it for a little while then they decided to actually go for it. For support Tiffany decided that she would do it with her so they both headed to the store and bought (temporary) hair dye. They came back and had a hair dyeing party blah...blah...blah. It was a lot of talk and fuss for something that will wash out in a few days. (j/k Sonya, I love ya!)

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Beach Boys

As always we had a ton of fun on the beach. Its basically right outside our back door. Scamper your way through the hot sand, over two small sand dunes, and you're there. Samara loved playing in the sand and succeeded in covering every inch of her body in it. We could've built a sand castle with the sand she accumulated in her diaper alone. She was of course pretty intimidated by the crashing waves at first, but eventually didn't mind it too much when a large wave would wash some water around her.

For the first half of the week Logan was just like one of those Sandpiper birds that would run down to the water to dig through the sand when a wave receded, and then would run as fast as they can back up the beach when a new wave came crashing down (just like this). He probably ran to the water and back like this hundreds of times. He enjoyed running around by himself up and down the beach, getting lost in his own little world. Towards the end of the week I took him out on the boogie board to float on the waves before they broke. He absolutely loved it! It was like a mini roller coaster ride to him. Once, a larger than normal wave came crashing down on us. I tried as hard as I could to keep upright while holding onto the boogie board but the wave completely knocked me over, grinding me into the sand below. Worried of course that Logan had also been knocked off the board and was now doing underwater somersaults, I scrambled to my feet only to find him happy floating on the board still riding the wave up the beach. It scared me pretty good, he thought it was fun. He also surprised me by wanting to swim in the ocean. He was basically just floating with his life jacket on, but he didn't want me to touch him at all. He wanted to be swimming out in the waves all by himself. I think seeing his older cousins, Jason and Bradley, swimming around helps him get the courage to do things he normally wouldn't do by himself.

He was so excited after the first time I took him out on the boogie board that he ran back to the house, took off his wet swim shorts, and ran buck naked to Tiffany who was sitting in the living room talking with the rest of the relatives. He began to spill out how Daddy took him on the boogie board, on the big waves, in the ocean, and how it was so exciting... all the while completely oblivious to the fact that he was standing in the nude in front of everyone.

I spent by far most of my time on the beach boogie boarding. The surf this year wasn't very good for it though. For some reason the waves were breaking right as they hit the shore. The very first wave I rode picked me up pretty high on the top of the curl and then just slammed me into the sand. The sand was also made up of mostly large pieces of sea shells for some reason which really roughed up your skin. Later in the week a little wind storm came through and brought up some of the fine grain sand (as well as bigger waves), but for the most part it really hurt getting thrown off the boogie board - and Tara has the bruise to prove it.

Rory and I tried shore fishing as well. We haven't ever caught anything great at the Outer Banks doing that, and it was the same this time around. Just little mullet fish and some sort of sea trout. A guy just a little ways down the beach caught a little shark. That'd would've been a little more exciting to catch.

Dad rented a couple of sea kayaks for three days. The first day on the beach we watched two guys struggle to get on a kayak while the waves were breaking on them. We had a good laugh watching them fall off over and over again. For the next three days though, I'm sure we were the laughing stock for other beach goers. The kayaks are fun out on the open water, but getting them out there and bringing them back in is an adventure. Many of us were tossed off the kayaks trying to do so. I had plans on taking a kayak out several hundred yards with my fishing gear strapped to it to try and catch some bigger fish but I definitely lack the experience and skill to both row and fish at the same time. Not to mention what I'd do if something huge bit my line and started dragging me around.

One of my goals for the whole vacation was to avoid a sunburn. I think on every beach vacation previously, I've managed to botch the sun screen and I usually come away looking like a tomato. I liberal dose of SPF 50 and 30 took care of that. The weather was absolutely perfect, bright and sunny, for all but the last day, so it was quite a feat that no one got burned.

Previously at the Outer Banks we've gone to the sound side of the island where there are no waves and the water is completely docile. We skipped that this year since most everyone was having a blast on the ocean side. Samara probably would've enjoyed the calm water, but Logan is big enough now to really enjoy the waves and, truthfully, the sound side is a little boring to me (you cant boogie board there!)

Monday, August 20, 2007

Scuba Diving

This was the trip my whole vacation revolved around. I absolutely love scuba diving and diving to old shipwrecks. This time around was even better than last time because Mike and Rory recently received their scuba certifications and were able to join Dad and I. The new and improved boat took us from Teach's Lair Marina again out to the wreck of the F. W. Abrams.

The Abrams was a 485 feet long steam tanker built in the 1920s that sunk in 1942 during WWII. The ship was being escorted through the treacherous mine filled waters around Cape Hatteras by a Navy vessel when the Abrams lost sight of her escort. She mistakenly strayed into a mine and mistook the explosion for a German launched U-Boat torpedo. In all the confusion, the crew of the Abrams confused the returning escort vessel for a U-Boat and tried to evade another attack by unknowingly heading into the thickest part of the mine field. The Abrams struck two more Allied mines which ultimately sank the ship. All crew were able to escape and row the 10 miles back to shore.

The weather was perfect the day we went out. It was bright and sunny, hardly any wind, no currents to push us around in the water, and the visibility was good at around 60 feet. Looking down the anchor line from the surface to the bottom you could almost make out the wreck lying below. The water was wonderfully warm and a beautiful shade of blue. The anchor took us right down to the boilers and engine of the ship (which helped us a lot to find the anchor when our dives were finished.) Most of the wreck lay flattened on the ocean floor so we swam over it looking for cool seashells, fish, and sharks teeth (none of us found any.) There were plenty of bright little fish darting around, star fish, and sea urchins that I accidentally bumped into too hard - ouch! We saw a sting ray, an awesome looking fluorescent yellow sea slug, and a couple barracuda. Unfortunately the Sand Tiger Sharks were a no show this time, Mike was disappointed. We did spot several Lion Fish which are new to the eastern shore of the Atlantic having somehow come over here from the Indian-Pacific Oceans.

We had to wait two hours between dives so we took off our dive gear and jumped into the ocean to swim around and snorkel. It was quite liberating to get off the over 70 lbs of gear we were lugging around and splash into the middle of the warm blue Atlantic. In any other circumstance I think I'd be scared to death to go swimming around in the free ocean, but having just seen all the creatures under the surface, and most importantly having seen no sharks, all my fears vanished. We brushed up against some tiny jellyfish which gave us a tingle but that's it. Also spotted were plenty of flying fish 'flying' around. Its amazing to watch them take off and 'fly' over 100 yards.

A lot of the divers there were quite experienced and several of them were there to spear fish. On the second dive I saw a diver just after he had speared a huge Amberjack (I think). I couldn't believe the size of the fish. It's certainly an easy but expensive way to fish.

We were all pooped out on the return ride back to the marina. I was starting to get a little queezy with sea sickness so it was good to be heading back. Overall it was the highlight of my vacation. We definitely need to get together more often to do this.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse

No trip to the Outer Banks is complete without a visit to the beautiful Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. It's the tallest lighthouse in the nation at 208 feet and in 2000 it was relocated nearly 3,000 feet in order to protect it from the eroding sea shore. The hike up the 268 narrow winding steps normally gets you breathing heavy, but Logan nearly ran up the entire thing. The hike is well worth it though, the view from on top is gourgeous (and windy!!)

The Ocracoke Pirates

While the guys were out scuba diving, the rest of the crew took the ferry to Ocracoke Island to do some plundering (OK, maybe just sightseeing and shopping.) Ocracoke Island is a short hop South of Hatteras Island and is where Blackbeard the pirate lived for a while. They visited the small Ocracoke Lighthouse and then made a stop at the fun shop 'Teach's Hole' (Blackbeard's real name is Edward Teach) where they filled up on pirate booty. The mom's secretly bought some loot to use later in a rather intricate treasure hunt. Following a treasure map, the kids started the hunt in the tower of the house and took turns finding clues on each of the lower floors. They had to complete fun tasks on each floor before they could move on to the next clue. Eventually, the map led them out to the beach where a buried treasure was marked with a pirate flag.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Sun Burnt

Our telephone provider, SunRocket, just went belly up yesterday. No warning and no refunds (I paid for a year's worth of service and got 4 months out of it). So we dont have a home phone for now. If you need to reach us, use email or my cell.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Videos should work now

I setup the embedded videos incorrectly so that they would just freeze when you tried to watch them. I switched the video service from Youtube to Google video and they should now work. Please let me know if they don't for some reason.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Webkinz


Logan discovered Webkinz last month thanks to Amma. He finally saved up enough money to buy his favorite kitty. The kitty's name is Patches and is the newest member of our family. Logan takes care of Patches as if he's a real cat. We even caught him reading his Book of Mormon to patches late last night.


If you haven't heard, Webkinz are stuffed animals you buy that come with a custom internet code. With that code you can login to the Webkinz website and create your own personalized virtual world for your pet. Logan outfitted Patch's room with pirate garb and pirate clothing. He plays games to earn Webkinz dollars with which he can 'buy' all this virtual stuff.

Samara's Hair

Samara's hair is finally getting long enough to put in pony tails. She wont let Tiffany put bows in it and she pulls out barrettes the second we put them in, so this is the first time she's had her hair done. Its so cute!

Friday, July 6, 2007

RC Helicopter Video

I've got several videos on youtube that I'll finally start posting over here, this is the best one.


This is a little $30 helicopter toy I bought at Toys R Us. Its the best $30 I've spent in a long time. Logan and I both get a kick out of flying this thing around the house. Logan and Samara both love watching this video. They can be in another room playing and they'll hear the background music and both come running, eyes wide open, trying to watch the video. It's so cute.

Monday, May 28, 2007

The New Website

I've decided to move our website here after hosting it on our home server for many years. I've also committed myself to posting more frequently now that we've settled down in our new place. We'll see how that goes!

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Crazy Kids

Samara and Logan play together so well it's incredible. Our living room is pretty much a jungle gym and even though they're couped up at home almost all day they never get sick of it. Logan decided to dress up in the craziest stuff he could find around the house and act like a pirate. They both crack me up.

The Fleet

I've really gotten into remote control airplanes the past couple of years. You no longer have to fiddle with big, heavy, smelly, messy, gas powered planes. Electric powered airplanes are super popular now and have really changed the hobby (I could never fly a loud gas powered plane around our neighborhood, the neighbors would shoot me.) Mom and Dad have THE perfect house for flying. A wide open field across the street with a closed road that doubles as our own private runway. You couldn't ask for anything more. I've got so many plane pictures and videos I may have to start a separate blog just for them.

This is a video of my first flight with my new Twinstar airplane. If you check out my profile on Youtube you can see several other plane videos.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Fishing on the Chesapeake

We went fishing again with our good friend Rich on his newly purchased boat (It was owned by Capt. John previously.) My uncle Steve has been in town for several weeks for work and came out with us along with some other ward friends. Some highlights of the trip were dad managing to fall asleep on the upper deck with his head dangling in the air, dad catching the smallest fish (its hard to live that down), and Boyd cutting off the fish heads with a Sawzall (somebody wanted to sell them to some Asians). Some of the pics are gruesome and I didn't dare post the worst pics.
Pictures

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Great Falls - C&O Canal

I finally took the family to the C&O Canal. I've spent some very loooong hours here doing my 50 mile hikes, but never brought the rest of the family for some reason. It really is a gourgeous area. The scenery and the history of the place are amazing. This particular area is called Great Falls for some obvious reasons. Along our little hike we spotted dozens of turtles, lots of neat birds, fish, snakes, and even some lizards. We watched some mules pull a river boat up and down the canal and even watched them raise and lower the boat through one of the many locks located on the canal. Logan found some pretty flowers along the way that he picked for his mommy. He's such a sweet boy.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Samara's 1st Birthday


We had a small celebration for Samara's first birthday since we already had a big party with her cousins. Instead of a cake she got a Twinkie. I know, I know... we're horrible!

Here's a little video clip of us singing happy birthday to the big girl.


Saturday, April 21, 2007

Birthday Bash!












Samara and two of her cousins, Bradley and Megan, all have their birthdays within a five day spread, so we decided to celebrate them all together. We headed on down to Richmond and a fun filled weekend of parties and junk food. For Bradley, Sonya threw an awesome Spy themed party. Each kid received their own Spy Agency badge with their spy photo and finger print printed on it. All the kids loved it.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Easter

The kids celebrated Easter both in Othello and at home this year. They were in Othello for Tanner's wedding so close to Easter that they had there own little celebration complete with easter egg hunt there. You can tell we woke them up pretty early to find their baskets, they're pretty ragged looking.
Pictures

Saturday, April 7, 2007

We've Moved!

The time has come to leave the nest. We spent almost 4 wonderful years living with my parents while I finished school. We're so grateful to them for supporting us while we overtook their house all those years. It's a time I will look back fondly upon.

Since I work in northern Virginia we looked for housing in the area. We found a beautiful apartment right next to the Dulles Airport (hint hint!). It cut my commute from around an hour in good traffic (2 hours in bad) to 25 minutes regardless of traffic. The two garages in the picture aren't ours of course but the four windows on both floors are. The neighborhood pool and workout room that we can walk to make the move even sweeter.

We're still transitioning between Maryland and Virginia. We officially moved all of our stuff down today, but we'll be up there for Easter and other upcoming events.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Bald Eagle

We had a bald eagle pay visit to the pond across the street today. A couple of them showed up two winters ago but haven't been spotted since. He put on quite a show while trying to catch some fish. Being a wild life buff, this was pretty cool.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Tanner and Aubree's Wedding

Tiffany and kids flew out to Washington to see Tanner get married. Tanner knew Aubree before his mission (at Tanner's mission farewell dinner she told Jim "I'm going to marry him when he gets home") but they never dated. Tanner got home in September and they were married in March! They were married at the Columbia River Temple and had a reception at the Eagle Lodge.
Pictures

Monday, February 19, 2007

Sledding

We had a recent snow fall followed by freezing rain which blanketed the area with a super slick, hard ice cover. It made sledding on even the slightest hills possible.

In this video Logan, Jason, and I are in the sled. We start way off in the backyard, go under the swings, past the car, into the front yard, and off a little jump. I had to jam my leg into a small tree to stop us or else we would've gone into the street! Logan is holding the video camera (I was pushing the sled with my arms) so its quite shaky, but you get the picture. :)



In this second video we're across the street sledding down the closed off road. It's all three boys, Bradley, Jason, Logan and I, with Rory giving us a good push. The bumps we go over literally feel like rocks they're so hard.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Grandma Playing Video Games?

The world is coming to an end - Grandma is playing the Wii. This little device really brings so many different people together to play video games who would never play otherwise its amazing. Logan is a born natural on the Wii and this is Grandma's first time trying tennis so it's a bit unfair. But still funny!

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Matt Comes to Visit

Tiffany's youngest brother Matt came out to Maryland as a graduation gift from his parents. It was his first time this side of the Mississippi. He and Tiffany made the long and brave trip up to New York City (I managed to escape this one) and the mandatory DC tour. He'll be leaving on his mission this year so it was good to get to spend some time with him.
Pictures