Sunday, January 4, 2015

Christmas and bikes

Christmas 2014 was nice.  We usually go to Heather's church on Christmas Eve and then have dinner at Pop's house.  I texted Heather to say that we were running late and we'd just meet her at church, when she responded with a text that her dad was locked in the bathroom.  I thought maybe he had passed out or something but it was that the door mechanism had failed.  I went over and Jason and I ended up just cutting the trim off the door and using a card to push in the plunger.  


I was pretty stoked about our tree.  I like getting real trees because of the smell, and Foodmax has them for $20.  I went in the lot and most of them were tied up.  I asked the guy whether he could untie any and he said no.  So I selected one that looked the fullest and strapped it on the van.  Heidi was like, "Are you sure?"

"This is the one I've selected.  It's all bound up.  If you want to select a tree, you're welcome to do so but this is the one I've selected."  

It turned out that it was perfectly symmetrical, full, and beautiful!  Twenty bucks from the grocery store!  










I collected several clips of the kids on their bikes and used IMovie to put together this little video.  You just can't beat the convenience of a phone camera and I think the quality is good.  I used to love making movies in college and dental school and I'd spend a lot of time editing them.  Admittedly, Adobe premier is more powerful than IMovie but the latter is way faster.  Maybe I'll get final cut pro, but not just yet.  This will have to do.  I am most pleased about Blakey riding his bike at two years old.  He loves it.  I had to overhaul the crank bearings and rear hub and it's working pretty well.  Jacquie got that bike for Scott in like 2008 and Blakey is the only one who learned to ride it without training wheels.  The rest of the kids learned on Little Bike.  Now we're fully mobile with one kid per bike.  Well, that's all gonna change in a few months.  But let's just enjoy things as they are.  Okay, bye.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Thanksgiving in Utah

 Had a great Thanksgiving in Utah.  As usual, we drove all night after work on Wednesday.  The van was running well and the kids slept predictably.  Our tradition is to stop at a Wendy's near Sacramento, and then do the drive in thirds.  I went to Fernley, NV, and then Heidi drove a few hours.  Winnemucca is the halfway point, Elko is the next major point.  The last half we had to split up a few more times.

Thanksgiving day was nice.  My parents made bacon and had doughnuts and chocolate milk for us.  That was always a favorite growing up.  On Friday we did professional family photos, so all the cousins were there.  The weather was record-breaking warm and it was nice.



Scott's fake teeth from ebay.











Action shot of Tyler throwing the football



After pictures, we went to this fun center in Kaysville called Boondocks.  It was better than expected.  Tyler and I drove the go-karts and they were faster than the ones in Bear Lake.  They could have been faster still, but I could still drift.  Dad's was faster than mine and I was ahead, but he was gaining on me.  I was driving such that he couldn't pass, but I felt it was unfair that I slow him down.  I moved over so he could pass.  After we parked, I said, "Your car was faster, so I let you pass."  

Dad said, "Oh, sure you did."  

The batting cages were fun too.  The boys and I took a couple of turns and did well.  Then we did laser tag.  Even that was more fun than expected.  



On Saturday we went down to BYU campus.  There's always some construction going on and they are always beautifying the campus.  We went to the bookstore and I treated us to some fudge and cookies'n cream milk.  Yum.  The student employees asked me if I had a student ID.  Afterwards, I said, "Dad, they asked me if I had a student ID!  Maybe they think I'm a student!"

Dad responded, "Well, Dan, they asked me too."

Oh.




Heidi asked if being on campus again brought back memories.  Yes, some good, some bad.  I remember feeling lost, overwhelmed and alone the first few weeks.  But I was grateful to have Dan-o as a roommate for most of my time at BYU.  By the time we were seniors, we were on pretty different paths and we didn't have any classes together, but we would still find time to go diving on Friday night and pick up pizzas on Monday at Little Caesars.  

I reminisced about my last semester at BYU, in which I would purchase a bottle of cookies'n cream milk and a bagel and then go to my microbiology lab.  I would store the spent bottles in a cupboard and they started culturing all kinds of stuff by the end of the semester.  By that point, I had been accepted to dental school and was less stressed about high achievement.  

After that, we went to Thanksgiving point to a natural curiosity museum.  It was a wannabe exploratorium.  Some attractions were cool but the obstacle course was too claustrophobic and there weren't enough exits.  We told Kira that if she got lost to go to the front and tell them she was lost.  Well, she was playing with her cousins for quite a while so we didn't constantly police her.  Then, an employee holding Kira came to us.  Apparently, Kira had done what we said.  We were pleased that she took initiative.  

Dad spent most of the afternoon in his Sequoia.  

We left for California on Sunday morning.  It started snowing in the middle of Nevada and four cars were off the road in the embankment.  I like driving in the snow but it wasn't sticking during my shift.  In the middle of Nevada, we came up on a grey Sienna.  I said, "I wonder if that's Britton."  As we overtook them, we realized it was them!  They were coming from Idaho.  Of all the places to see your friends, we see ours on westbound 80 in the middle of Nevada.  We caravanned for about two hours, and we had no service to plan a pit stop.  They pulled off before Reno and we stopped in Reno.  

Anyway, it was a great trip.  Much better than my trip last year.  It was nice having Heidi and Blake come and I am in a more secure place professionally.  

Sunday, November 9, 2014

A day in San Francisco

I had a day off on Saturday so we decided to celebrate and go to San Francisco.  We loaded up five bikes and insta-tandem in the van, plus four radio controlled cars.  Minivans--ultra practical, luxurious and spacious.  



The weather was beautiful, not just for the season, but San Francisco is notorious for its thick fog.  We enjoyed 72 degree weather all day.

This was before we crossed the bridge and Kira was in good spirits.  She quickly burned out and had a melt down.  Admittedly, the northbound side was pretty uphill and there were some intense, overbearing bikers in their expensive spandex.   Scott got some comments on White Lightning and Kira got some approving smiles on Little Bike.  I found a bike on craigslist just like Little Bike for $200.  It was in super shape, as though it had never been ridden.  Ours is pretty beaten up but does the job.  Hey, Little Bike's been teaching kids to ride for over 30 years.



We finished the afternoon at Crissy Field.  People come from all over the world and San Francisco is a day trip for us.  I have fond memories of working at UOP.  I pretty much know every way to get in and out of the city.  Heidi suggested we cross the GG bridge and go home via San Rafael, and I said, "No, I tried it once.  If it's possible, I've tried it.  Once, the bay bridge was closed and I went through San Rafael.  It took about 1.5 hours longer."  

We went down 19th avenue and winded through Golden Gate park to get back on the freeway and the traffic was pretty thick.  I take for granted being able to split the lanes on my motorcycle.

We wanted to go to Ghirardelli but it was getting late and we were all kinda burned out, so we compromised and went through the Brentwood McDonald's drive in.  Scott wanted an oreo shake (not their trade name, but that's essentially what it is), so I decided to splurge and get one for myself too.  Heidi was craving a Diet Coke, so we got that and a couple of Sundaes.  When they gave me the shakes, I looked down and said, "These aren't that full.  In fact, I think they're less than half full.  Can you fill them up?"  

Heidi was embarrassed.  Maybe I shoulda said, "These are half empty," but I'm more of a glass half full kind of guy.   But seriously, it's like when you buy a large shake, try to split it up for the kids in those little medicine cups, and each person gets two bites.  

Anyway, it was a great time in a beautiful section of the country.  Okay, bye.



Sunday, November 2, 2014

Halloween 2014

We had a good Halloween.  The kids had some fun events at the school, like door decorating, costume parade and class parties.  



Mrs. Wheeler's 2nd grade class

Mrs. Whiteneck's 3rd grade class


 I went with Tyler on his field trip to the Smith family farm.  They let the kids pick out a pumpkin.






I made a new set of fake teeth since the kids lost my old set.  I started them in July and finished them about two weeks ago.  It took a few minutes here and a few there.  People aren't sure how to treat me when I have them in. 


 Who'da thunk teeth made such a difference?




We trick-or-treated in our neighborhood and the kids wanted more, so we went to Shadow Lakes with the stroller.  Tyler sat in it and complained that he was tired.  Heidi said, "Oh yeah?  Should we be done trick-or-treating?"

"No!"


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

October break trip to Southern California

For the latter half of the second week of October break, we went to Southern California.  I worked Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, and we woke up Thursday at three and left at four.  We had planned on doing two days at Disneyland and one at the beach.  We weren't sure whether to do the beach first or Disneyland, so we decided that when we arrived in LA, we'd see how we feel.  

The ride was pretty smooth.  In fact, we were making great time until after the grapevine and then all of the LA traffic started piling up, even in the carpool lane.  But we still made good time and decided to go to Dizzyland first.  We unloaded the kids, packed lunches, and entered the happiest place on earth.  

I like Disneyland because of its cleanliness, friendly staff, and impressive engineering.  The kids like it for the cool rides.  Heidi had stocked up on junk food and I was excited for that, because we usually do boring sandwiches and the kids talk us into a four dollar churro.  This time, we survived with trail mix, marshmallows, granola bars, and corn nuts.  We even had some knock-off girl scout cookies from Winco that were super good.  


The kids did pretty well in the lines.


Tyler and Heidi used the stroller pass to ride Splash Mountain, and Tyler, Kira, Blakey and I sat down in this little plaza.  They played tag for about a half hour while I sat on a bench and rested.







The double Bob stroller carries all four kids.

Kira fell asleep and almost fell out of the stroller.

Kira, Blakey and I did the jungle cruise while Heidi, Scott and Tyler rode Indiana Jones.

They climbed up and down the fence for quite a while until we met up with Heidi again.

One of the few family portraits we have, taken by the iphone.  Not bad.

People wait hours to see Mickey, and he just turned up out of the blue, so I quickly snapped this.
Same with Minnie.

You gotta hand it to the people who play these characters.  Like, when their shift is over, do they say, "Alright, I'm going on my break now."?  Or does someone else show up in the same costume, and the attendant says, "Captain America has his replacement."?  Our guy stayed in character and asked each of the kids their names.  Blakey said, "Blakey."


Based on Ted's recommendation, we went to Corona del mar's beach, which is part of Newport Beach.  The beach was my favorite part, because the water was warmer than expected and the waves were predictable.



We body surfed and boogie boarded for several hours.  This is a nice action shot of Heidi even though she only caught a couple of waves before getting too cold.


Scott was in and out of the water.  He caught quite a few waves with me.  We stood out in the waist deep water, which was up to his neck, and he'd say, "Now, Daddy?"  Sometimes I'd stand and give him a push to catch the waves; other times, we'd both jump on my command and ride them into shore.  It was pretty sweet.

Tyler had more fun playing in the sand.


Kira spent most of her time out of the water but went in just to try it out.

Ted is my ceramist.  I've been sending him cases since 2007 and this is the first time we met.  We went to church in Fullerton and his lab was nine minutes away, so we dropped in.  He was super nice and gave us some orange juice, sandwiches, and Korean pastries for our ride home.


It was a great trip.  Great to get away, great to spend time with the fam, and great to eat junk food.  Oh, the Howard Johnson hotel we stayed in was quite the bargain.  There was a pretty nice breakfast buffet with bacon, eggs, pancakes, pastries, orange juice, and some other things.  The kids loved the bacon.  The HJ also had a shuttle to Disneyland, which is valued at over $17 since that's what it would be to park at the resort.  The hotel itself, was, er, run down.  But it worked for us.  The kids loved watching TV after the beach and we watched two episodes of celebrity wife swap.  I'll limit my comments to my other blog.  

It was a great vacay.  The van ran well even though we had to stop every fifteen miles on the way home so the kids could go to the bathroom.  I was like, "You just went!"  And along I-5, there aren't rest stops or even habitable cities that you can just pull into.  Sometimes we had to make emergency stops.  Ah, youth.