Thursday, September 29, 2005

Eliana Takes a Ride

Ellie’s preschool class went to the petting zoo today. She had a great time interacting with the animals and riding this pony.

Vickey was a chaperone and had Dominic in tow. Unfortunately Dominic wasn’t too happy and required most of Vickey’s attention.

Eliana seems to have matured a lot lately. She’s helping out with Dominic and fending for herself more and more. She’s usually a pretty good little girl, with a few occasional moments of emotional breakdown.

Things are going well and we’re enjoying the cooling off that occurs each evening. I recently had a run-in with the surface roots of a tree in our front yard. I’m so ready to take out all our grass. It’s too difficult to maintain in the desert. Six years ago when we came here I was dead-set on grass. Now, after taking care of it since moving in, I’m much more inclined to succumb to the natural, rocky, desert landscape. Live and learn.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

I’m Hungry All Over The Place

Vickey signed up to be a mystery shopper with a company called Mystery Guest, Inc. and yesterday was our first sleuth outing. We took the whole family out to lunch at The Cheesecake Factory (the new one at The District on Green Valley Parkway). While we were there Eliana was very particular, go figure, about what she wanted to eat. After downing two pieces of pepperoni pizza, bread, and kiwi cheesecake, she announced, “I’m hungry all over the place!” Now that’s funny. She’s saying all sorts of funny things lately.

And, for those of you who don’t know, her comment is even funnier since on Saturday Vickey went back to Weight Watchers and I signed-up for moral support and to loose a few pounds of my own. So saying that we’re hungry all over the place is a pretty accurate commentary. I’m sure once our stomachs shrink we’ll be just fine. But we’re just jumping on the wagon, so there’s some adjusting to do.

Dominic also decided he wanted to eat while we were dining yesterday. So Vickey got to take him out to the car and feed him while Eliana and I had lunch. Vickey got to eat her salad after Dominic was satisfied. He’s growing so much lately and friends at church comment on how he changes every week. We’ve taken to calling him ‘little Gordon’ because of his uncanny resemblance to his Grandpa Snow. Eliana seems to favor calling him Dominic-ee while others seem to fancy DJ or The Dominator. What a lucky kid to be so loved and have so many nicknames.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Hello Aunt Betty

Today my Aunt Betty dropped by as an unexpected and very welcome visitor. I was upstairs working, Vickey had just taken Eliana down to the Coglianeses and managed to stay and talk for a while, when the doorbell rang.

Dominic was downstairs in his pack-n-play crying his head off and I was trying to finish my thoughts on my work project.

I finally got Tank under control, he enjoys freaking out when the doorbell rings or company comes over, and made it to the front door…and there was Aunt Betty.

She was down for a doctor’s appointment and to spend some time with Gina (her daughter) playing bunko with her Vegas friends.

We had a fun visit and got to inspect her new Honda Pilot. If Honda had made the Pilot when we got rid of the CR-V, there’s a good chance we’d be driving a Pilot now. Instead we went with the Highlander, but with the two kids and 70 pound dog, we’ve since then upgraded to a Sequoia.

We talked to Betty about making some stained glass windows for our master bathroom, you know, something to keep her occupied in her retirement years so she doesn’t become too bored. We also got caught-up on the extended family.

It’s always nice to welcome family and friends. In fact, we’re going through quite a lull right now in guest registrations at Hotel Codella. We had a bunch when Dominic was born in July and when he was blessed in August. Now we’re holding out for the BYU vs. UNLV football game on November 5 (that usually draws Gordon and Murriel down).

At any rate, thanks for dropping by Betty. And thanks for putting Dominic to sleep in your lap. He must love you because he didn’t even pee through his diaper and get you wet.

Ode to Technology

At a Public Relations Society of America luncheon today (I’m the president of the Las Vegas Valley Chapter this year), someone at our table commented on how professionals utilize Microsoft PowerPoint. He mentioned that there was a website that illustrated the point well. I looked it up and sure enough, it does a good job. At least I got a big kick out of it.

If the topic interests you, check out the Gettysburg Address in PowerPoint — how President Abraham Lincoln would have presented his address on November 19, 1863 had PowerPoint been available.

And for what it’s worth, our seminar today on Communications in Times of Crisis, led by Dan Burns (director of communications for Lt. Gov. Lorraine Hunt and a member of the State of Nevada Public Information Officer Committee's Joint Information Center, and part of Nevada Homeland Security) and Erik Pappa (Clark County director of public communications and former public information officer for the City of Las Vegas) was certainly an informative and though provoking discussion on effective crisis communications with commentary on hurricane Katrina, New Orleans and potential disasters, natural or manmade, that could occur in Las Vegas.

In the words of the Backstreet Boys, “It’s a Weird World.”

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Capistrano Beach 2005

Our second annual trip to the beach proved fun for all. We loaded up the Sequoia, including the luggage rack on top, and headed for Southern California on Sept. 9. We rented a roomy beach house on Capistrano Beach with the Coglianese family and Amber’s mom and step-dad Kim.

It was a week full of playing in the sand and ocean, and pretty much just hanging out. I had some work to do while we were there, but other than those couple of hours for a few days, I was able to rollerblade and just enjoy time with the family.

The kids built sand castles, watched movies and did a pretty good job of behaving themselves.

The trip included the traditions of going to Crazy Shirts, dining at Ruby’s and Harbor House.

It also included throw-up episodes from Jared, Sarah and Amber, which was unfortunate, and some sinus infection troubles for Mark, Vickey and I, but what can you do. Usually when you travel at least one family member manages to get sick.

Tank stayed home with our friends, Travis and Kirstin Reed, who did their best to console a dog used to having daytime company. Tank managed to break free from his crate and do his typical separation anxiety doggy poop all over the carpet and tile. We could tell by the smell when we returned that something wasn’t right. Poor Travis and Kirstin did all they could to clean it up. We ended up moving all the furniture and having the carpets cleaned on Saturday after we returned. So in addition to returning after a week long trip, we had a house turned upside down with furniture stacked in the garage. It was a crazy few days.

Eliana keeps saying she misses the beach. Maybe we’ll find a way to visit before next summer. Or maybe she’ll just have to be patient and wait.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Vickey’s Birthday

Yesterday we celebrated Vickey’s birthday. We enjoyed a relaxing day at Capistrano Beach and are enjoying our time with the Coglianese family. We took in a sacrament meeting in a beautiful new stake center building in San Clemente and went on a walking tour of the old town. We tried going into the Catholic mission here, but they were closing just as we arrived. This area’s history dates back to 1776.

We enjoyed a lasagna dinner (I made it a few days ago and brought it frozen to the beach house) and a great double chocolate bundt cake for Vickey’s birthday. We also had a campfire on the beach and made smores, with a caramel addition suggested by my sister-in-law Melissa. Good suggestion Mel, it was a hit!

Eliana’s enjoying the sand and water. Most of us have managed to get a little sun burned. All of us are enjoying the gorgeous weather. And little Dominic’s taking it all in stride, eating, sleeping (through most of the night) and growing like a cute little weed.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Eliana’s Birthday

Today was Eliana’s fourth birthday. She’s growing to be such a cute little girl.

First thing this morning I ate breakfast while she unwrapped a whole kitchen table full of presents from her grandparents and mom and dad. We had them all displayed the night before so when she came down she’d be surprised. And she certainly was excited to open them.

She got plenty of toys and fun things to do. She’s a very fortunate little girl to be loved by so many people.

She took strawberry cupcakes to her preschool group. They had the letter A on them because this week they learned all about the letter A.

Tonight we celebrated by having Eliana’s favorite pizza, pepperoni, and had the Coglianeses and Zurfluehs over for a piƱata party with more strawberry cupcakes. Everyone had a great time.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Eliana Heads to Preschool

Today was Eliana’s first day of preschool. She’s going to a neighbor’s home for preschool with a half dozen other kids. Tammy Johnson is Eliana’s teacher.

It’s weird knowing your kid is growing up. But it’s a good thing too.

Eliana doesn’t seem to hold back. She’s a pretty outgoing kid. We’ll see how she does in school and how she’s able to focus on her studies.

She’s got a cute, fun personality most of the time. She gets grumpy when she doesn’t get adequate sleep…kind of like someone else I know.

She’s learning to be a good big sister and helps out on occasion during Dominic’s diaper changes and baths. She’s a good kid. We’re lucky to have her.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Labor Day 2005

We gladly welcomed Labor Day and a third day to our weekend. There’s so much to do with fall approaching.

Eliana’s first day at pre-school is tomorrow. She’s equipped with a new school outfit and book bag, although I don’t really think she understands what it means to be going to school. She’ll know after tomorrow, won’t she? We enrolled her in a neighbor’s in-home pre-school class. She goes Tuesday and Thursday morning and we’re hoping she’ll learn a lot.

We measured how tall Dominic is today and he came in at 25 inches. Of course, our non-scientific measurement style may not yield perfectly accurate results. But the point is he’s growing and healthy. He’s a patient, easy going baby. We’re blessed.

Tank and I went for a rollerblade run this morning (I rollerbladed, he ran). He had a great time being out of the house and visiting with the other pets and owners along the jogging trail. It was relatively crowded at 8 this morning due to the holiday.

We spent the afternoon at the pool and barbequing with the Coglianeses. It was a great time. We watched the news and reports of hurricane Katrina recovery for a while. It was hurricane Alicia in 1983 that really taught me the power of hurricanes. In Houston our family lived through several hurricanes and tornados, but that was the worst one. We were without power for nearly a week. We watched with amazement as the six foot tree in the front yard was blown over to the right, then after the eye of the storm passed, to the left. And I remember watching my father walk a few yards down the street at more than a 45 degree angle just to make progress against the strong winds.

Like I said before, my heart goes out to all those effected by Katrina. There’s nothing like a natural disaster, even in the world’s supposedly most wealthy nation, to show you who’s really the boss. Certainly not mankind.