Saturday, December 30, 2006

Baby it’s cold outside

This photo of Eliana playing with an icicle was just so darling I had to post it tonight. It was taken on Christmas day in front of the Snow’s home in Holladay.

Thanks for the knitted hats, Aunt Betty. And thanks, Grandma Snow, for the kids' other winter gear.

The kids had a great time playing outside in the snow. In fact, about three or four times a day Dominic would grab a snow boot and carry it to one of the adults grunting with excitement and anticipation for finding someone willing to suit him up and take him outside. Such a cute lil’ punkin!

The Las Vegas Bowl 2006

Way to go Cougars!

Don’t let the time lapse between the Dec. 21 Las Vegas Bowl and today, Dec. 30, fool you into thinking I wasn’t stoked by the outcome of this year’s Las Vegas Bowl. Company and Christmas travel plans prevented me from posting about our activities on Dec. 21…until now.

I spent the morning last Thursday at work, my last workday of 2006. Shortly after lunchtime—and after exchanging Christmas gifts with the Coglianese family—the Snows (Gordon, Murriel and Charley) and Vickey and I departed for Sam Boyd Stadium where all true blue Cougar fans anxiously gathered to watch the Cougars perform in the second Las Vegas bowl in as many years.

This year’s outcome was much more appetizing than last year’s. In a difficult-to-argue-with defeat the Cougars prevailed against the Ducks 38 to 8. Regardless of what Oregon’s coach said about BYU defeating a Pac-10 team, the fact is they did. I repeat, way to go Cougars!

The Las Vegas Bowl crowd of 44,615 set a record for Sam Boyd Stadium. This is the first bowl game BYU has won since 1997. The number 19 Cougars, who improved to 11-2 overall, are the first nationally ranked team to ever play in the Las Vegas Bowl.

I have some photos from the game—the American flag that covered the entire field, and the BYU crowd that rushed the field (yes, Gordon insisted we be included in the foray) at the conclusion of the game for the award presentation—but they’re on my mobile phone and not of a high enough resolution to do any good here.

Our day was a bit long since we participated in the tailgate party which began at 2 p.m. Vickey set-up a table with some of her Pampered Chef brochures and spoke to passers by regarding the Pampered Chef opportunity. Charley and I enjoyed following the cheerleaders and Cougarettes around and watching for one of the cheerleaders to fall during their acrobatic feats. Gordon, king of the flea market, was jazzed by all the free handouts from the various vendors.

All in all, minus the sustained cold temperatures, it was just about a perfect day. Thanks to Amber for her Christmas gift, watching the kids from 1:30 to 9:30 p.m.

If you’re interested, you can read what the Las Vegas Bowl folks have to say about the game in their press release: Stadium-Record Crowd Sees BYU Defeat Ducks.


On Christmas Eve in Salt Lake City—Holladay to be exact—we went on a walk. Here’s Dominic and I all bundled up (it’s cold up there for us Vegas guys).

We had a great Christmas week at the Snow’s home in Holladay. We ate lots of great food, enjoyed the company of nearly everyone in the family (with the exception of Vickey’s oldest brother, Matt’s family) and played many a game till the wee hours of the night (I’m not used to staying up till one or two).

Last Saturday, the day after we arrived, we spent nursing Dominic who was throwing up all morning. Then he was fine.

But this morning, the following Saturday, we awoke to a throwing up boy yet again. Poor guy! I think he’s gone through three baths and change of clothes today. Vickey had to stay home with him instead of attending my cousin’s daughter’s wedding (I’ll blog about that later, first I need to catch up from where I left off in mid-December; it’s been a crazy few weeks).

Monday, December 18, 2006

In loving memory of Gail “Chris” Myron Christenson

Vickey’s uncle’s funeral was Saturday. We made the unexpected trip to Spanish Fork, Utah to be with family and pay our last respects.

Chris and Jean were great companions for each other. I’m sure it will be difficult for Jean to be without Chris for the remainder of her days on earth. The family will certainly help to fill that void though.

At the funeral service Vickey’s dad, Gordon Snow, shared some great stories of Chris’ life and insights into the type of person Uncle Chris was. Vickey’s cousin, Amy Jensen, shared a poem and her husband, Preston Jensen, played a John Schmidt piano song called Tribute. It was a short and sweet ceremony, which is a good thing since I was wrestling Dominic in the back of the room the entire time. Eliana did a great job of being still and reverent during the funeral.

Here’s an updated photo of Gordon and his sisters, Ruth and Jean, at the dinner following Chris’ funeral.

Chris’ coffin was taken to the Spanish Fork City Cemetery. Pallbearers were Justin Shipley, Matthew Snow, Charles Snow, Scott Gilchrist, Larry Draper and Dale Draper. I was given the honor of dedicating Chris’ grave. It was the first time I have been called upon to perform that priesthood ordinance. It was a privilege.

This is Vickey’s cousin Gaylene, her husband Craig Shipley and daughter Amy, saying goodbye to Chris as we left the casket at the cemetery.

I learned from Uncle Chris the importance of treating those around you with respect and kindness, especially your spouse. I learned the importance of setting a good example for your posterity. I admire his ability to keep life simple and do what you enjoy.

Uncle Chris was fortunate that the pancreatic cancer didn’t manifest itself sooner and cause prolonged suffering due to that painful illness. It took several days to diagnose the illness and in the meantime Chris died from pneumonia.

Uncle Chris will be greatly missed by those he left behind. I’m so grateful for the atonement of Jesus Christ which makes it possible for spirits and bodies to be reunited in immortality through the resurrection and for families to be sealed together for time and eternity.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Remembering Uncle Chris

Last night we received word that Vickey’s uncle Chris Christenson died. He had taken sick and was hospitalized in the past week or so, then caught pneumonia and passed away yesterday.

Chris is married to Jean Snow Christenson, Vickey’s dad’s sister.

While we weren’t shocked to hear the news, since we knew Chris was sick and in the hospital, we were certainly saddened. Chris is the first of Vickey’s aunts and uncles to die on her father’s side. (Here's Gordon and his two sisters, Ruth and Jean.)

In my interaction with Chris he was always gracious and kind. He and Jean enjoyed life and were supportive parents and grandparents. They lived in Spanish Fork, Utah and spent winters in Overton, Nevada.

When it’s available I’ll link to his obituary. I’ll have to go through our photos to see if I can locate one of him to post here as well (two are posted here, from Amy's wedding last summer).

Chris, we’ll miss you. We know you’re in a better place and look forward to being together as a family in the eternities.


Here's Chris' obituary from Provo's Daily Herald newspaper.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Merry Christmas curly lox

Tonight was Eliana’s year-end dance recital. She looked so cute in her red and black outfit. Vickey and Ellie spent some time this afternoon curling her hair with a fancy new fangled Enzo Milano ceramic curling iron. Here’s the result (compare this to what happened last year following the ward Christmas party - the hair cut!).

And here are a few photos of Eliana at the dance recital.

With her friend, Sarah Coglianese.

Dancing with her oversized candy cane.

And in the interest of equal time (almost), here’s a photo of Dominic from last week. He was so tired from being sick and hauled all over tarnation as part of Vickey’s Christmastime preparations, that he fell asleep in his highchair. Poor kiddo.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Photos with Santa

Our annual ward Christmas party features plenty of good eats, a Christmastime program and photo opportunities with Santa.

Here’s our annual installment in the family photos with Santa file. Thanks for dropping by, Santa.

Eliana can’t wait for Christmas to see what she gets. Now if only we could help her see how fun it is to give as well as receive.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Russian chocolate cookies

It’s a tradition in the Codella family to make Russian chocolate cookies during the holidays. I’m really not sure why an Italian family makes Russian chocolate cookies, but we do. I think it’s a recipe my dad’s mom was fond of and therefore adopted for the family. (The recipe is so large that we're mixing it by hand on the kitchen table because we don't have a large enough bowl.)

Tonight my cousins Michael and Gina came over for dinner and some holiday baking…and boy was it a baking extravaganza! We had a great time. The evening was full of yummy things to eat, Michael dropping measuring cups on the floor, the usual sibling bantering between he and Gina, and Michael and I trading insults. What a great time for us cousins!

Eliana was right in the mix. So was Dominic for about an hour before he reached his limit. I envy the sleep he’s getting.

After being down and out health-wise a couple different times lately I’m still feeling a bit weak. I had a 102 degree fever for several days this week and have been on antibiotics since Wednesday. It’s been a rough week and I find myself even further behind at work with Christmas and New Year’s just weeks away…yikes!

At any rate, we thoroughly enjoyed tonight’s festive affair—singing along with Christmas music, Ellie and Dominic racing around the kitchen island while the adults were trying to bake, a good dinner and yummy treats that just kept coming, Tank sneaking an unbaked cookie off the table, and even a happy holidays phone call to my Aunt Marie (we wanted a recipe from her and she gave me enough information to locate a peanut butter ball cookie recipe that turned out amazingly perfect).

I put in half a day’s work at the office this morning while Vickey conducted a Pampered Chef show in Boulder City this afternoon. The kids and I ran some errands this afternoon. Okay, they weren’t just errands, we got my Christmas gifts: floor mats and running boards for the Tundra (we’re not replacing accessories, just adding ones always wanted).

It was a busy Saturday replete with good seasonal activities. If only I could get some rest tomorrow.

And I just have to add this before I close because it’s on my mind after reading the week’s mail:

In my mom’s Christmas letter (well it was signed by my dad, but I’m fairly certain he wasn’t its author), I was intrigued by the comment about going on a real vacation someday.

Hey mom, you could consider taking dad up on his offer to take you on a cruise before he gets tired of asking. A New Year’s resolution perhaps?

And as for my dad inheriting diabetes from my grandma Codella…I guess there are bound to be some bad genes in there someplace from many different generations on both sides of the family tree. If only those scientists would wrap up that DNA project and fabricate cures for all humankind’s ailments. Another wish for a New Year.

I’m grateful for my heritage from both parents and hope for healthy lifestyles for all of us in 2007. You’d better take care of yourself dad so you can be there for your grandkids’ graduations from high school. We’d even love to have you around when they complete college.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Gingerbread house

Today (Saturday - Blogger's photo upload tool was missing this weekend, so I'm publishing this post on Monday) we took Eliana to Vons to create her own gingerbread house (that way the mess wasn’t in our house). Here she is gingerly crafting her gingerbread house.

I attended a morning-long PRSA board retreat for 2007 and we spent the afternoon doing the usual weekend chores-—shopping, cleaning, laundry, etc.

It’s hard to believe it’s December already and that Christmas is just three weeks away.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Codella Cousins and Thanksgiving

While we were all together for Thanksgiving, all the Codella family except for Angie’s husband Vinny, the moms took the kiddies to the photo studio for the first photo of all six cousins. Here’s the result.

Thanksgiving was terrific—lots of good eats and hanging out with family. We were hit by a yucky stomach bug which has taken its toll (last night on me) but other than that had a great Thanksgiving weekend.

My dad and Brian (my brother) helped me unload two tons of rock into the front yard to finish the landscaping there. We also finished the outdoor lights in front (still a bit more work to do in back). We hung Christmas lights but they’re not all working. When I feel better I’ll venture up on the roof to assess the situation. Brian and I also managed to get a couple of outdoor speakers installed so we can have music when we’re out back. Then Brian helped me hang the center speaker for our entertainment center which I’ve been meaning to do since we got the large screen TV in February.

So even though I have no energy now, I’m glad we were able to accomplish as much as we did last week before I got sick.

Brian, Melissa and their three boys returned to Utah today. My parents, Angie and Vance return to New York tomorrow (as long as they’re well enough to fly).

At this season this year I’m so grateful for good family and friends. We are a blessed family. I’m grateful for the stewardship of Eliana and Dominic with which Vickey and I have been blessed and for our comfortable surroundings. Life’s good—not without its challenges—but still very good.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Home on the range

Here are a few photos of Eliana and Dominic from the past few weeks.

This was taken during our trip to Red Rock with the Coglianeses and Seeleys on Nov. 4.

And here are some photos from a recent trip to the hair stylist.

This week Eliana asked Vickey if she could start a letter to Santa with her Christmas wish list. Here she is in the process.

And finally, Dominic had a great time in the back yard yesterday since he figured out how to turn on and off the garden hose. He’s such an active little cuss we can hardly keep up with him. Last night I finally had to strap him to his high chair so he would stop his Tasmanian Devil tour of the kitchen and family room.

In fact, the search is on for our cable and TV remote control. It’s been missing since yesterday. And one guess as to who’s responsible—the Dominator (as the Coglianeses affectionately call him).

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

At the Pinnacle Awards

Although I was on the PRSA – Las Vegas Valley Chapter Pinnacle Awards Committee this year, I didn’t submit any work for consideration by the judges. It really came down to a time issue. I ended up supporting the awards through my volunteer time instead of time preparing and submitting entries.

At any rate, today I received the photos from the evening’s festivities and thought this photo of me with local TV personalities Paula Francis and Gary Waddell of KLAS-TV was pretty fun. So here it is.

You can read about Gary and Paula on the Pinnacle Awards website I did (it was my assignment this year to launch the first ever PRSA Pinnacle Awards website). The evening was fun and overall went pretty much according to plan.

The reason I’m pictured here with Paula and Gary is because I worked with Drek Agency earlier this year on a brochure project and they submitted the brochure in the awards competition. We won an award of merit. Since they weren’t in attendance I accepted the award on their behalf.

And here’s Vickey with our friends, Matt and Shannon Hiller (way to keep those eyes open for the photo, Shannon!).

Shannon and I have worked together a few different times. In fact, we both just attended the International PRSA Conference in Salt Lake City. Good times.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Dinner and a hair cut

Yesterday I drove to Salt Lake to participate in the 2006 International PRSA Conference. I’m one of the assembly delegates for the Las Vegas Valley Chapter where I’m a board member and past-president. The assembly met last night at Grand America in Salt Lake City – a beautiful, peaceful hotel (I don’t miss the slot machines one bit). We reconvened this morning and spent another 10 hours conducting association business. What a long day!

After today’s marathon assembly meeting where we only voted on eight bylaw amendments and one resolution, as well as conducted the association’s other annual business, I spent the evening with my brother and his family at the Collings’ home. Tomorrow is my sister-in-law’s mother’s birthday. We celebrated with dinner, cupcakes and cheesecake.

To my surprise while we were there Melissa’s sister-in-law, Tracy, pulled out her hair clippers and started trimming Carter and Luke's hair (my nephews). Of course I had to seize the opportunity and have my hair trimmed as well (it was getting bushy after my high and tight hair cut from last month). Now the hair beast is a bit more tamed.

So thanks, Jackie, for dinner, and thanks, Tracy, for the hair cut.

PRSA’s conference will bring about 2,000 public relations professionals and students (members of PRSSA) to Salt Lake City over the next three days. It’s been a couple of years since I attended the leadership conference in New York City so this will be a good refresher for me.

Of course, since the 2004 leadership conference I was on the organizing committee for the 2005 western district conference which we hosted in Las Vegas. And I learned last week that I’m officially on the 2007 western district board as well as assembly delegate for the Las Vegas Valley Chapter. Gotta love all the volunteer opportunities in PRSA.

Speaking of which, I think I may launch an initiative…to host the international PRSA conference in Las Vegas. To me, it’s the perfect venue, and it’s never been held there. They’re already booked three years out, so we’d be looking at 2010. Doesn’t that sound strangely space age? Call me crazy, but I just may make it a personal quest.

At any rate, I’m looking forward to three days of learning and networking with other public relations practitioners. PRSA has launched a conference blog where people can keep up with activities.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Rub a dub dub

It seems that since birth Dominic has been a tease. There’s certainly a little devilish streak in him.

He loves his bath. As soon as the water starts running he’s squealing with delight. Then he squeals again when you take him out of the tub.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

A visit to Red Rock Canyon

The kids and I accompanied our family friends, the Seeley’s, and Mark and his kids to Red Rock Canyon this past weekend.

We picnicked and went on a hike. It was fun and thanks to the borrowed hiking backpack from Mark, not even too awkward getting Dominic up and down the trail (except for when I had to duck so the tree branches didn’t scratch Dominic’s face).

We even saw some of the wild burros as we left the park.

The Seeley’s came to visit this past weekend. They’re from South Jordan, Utah and wanted to have a break from the daily routine, as well as visit Steve’s brother who lives in Las Vegas. Vickey worked with Cyndy at the Granite School District Mill Hollow summer camp for many years. They’re good friends and good people.

We’re all sickies. Dominic and Vickey have thrown up and Eliana and I have a head cold (most likely a sinus infection in my case). We hear that a bug is going around…probably got it from church.

Here’s a cute photo of Eliana and Dominic waiting for me to get home last night (we had to transfer the car seats because Vickey was headed to a Pampered Chef show). Dominic loves the cleaning tools, the vacuum and duster in particular. He loves to go around the house pretending to vacuum and dust.

I don’t really have anything else to report. Although I do have a few political thoughts since yesterday was election day.

Most of the candidates I voted for here in Nevada were elected, some by very narrow margins. I won’t loose one bit of sleep over votes cast in vain.

I look forward to the day when I meet and come to know an elected U.S. official who is trustworthy.

My take on the “shift of power” newsbytes…it’ll be business as usual. The politicians will continue to do their jobs. Republicans, democrats, independents…it doesn’t matter. We may see a shift in party control next year, and in another six to eight years it’ll shift again.

I think I’ll coin a new term and go on record (at least today) as a 'political non-activist.'

Having said that, I do want to make it clear that I believe each citizen has a right and responsibility to make his or her voice heard. I also think our nation is deeply divided over many issues and soon the majority will call evil good and good evil.

Now I could wax on about religion, but I’ll spare you the dialog. Read Isaiah.

God bless America!

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Halloween night

The kids were all decked out for Halloween. Vickey and Dominic went to school today with Ellie to help with the Halloween party.

Even Tank got to join the party tonight and received plenty of attention during our block party. Each year we gather with the neighbors to barbeque hot dogs and have chili and corn bread.

It was a very full night.

I drove the Coglianese kids and Eliana around the neighborhood in the truck to various friends’ homes. She was a successful trick-or-treater, securing a very full bag of candy.

Here they are, in their Halloween garb.

Eliana at school.

Tank as Batman. Nice ghostly eyes, huh?

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Trunk or treat

For those of you unfamiliar with the term trunk or treat, it’s an event our ward holds at our church building each Halloween. It’s usually a few days before Halloween and includes a chili cook-off (we didn’t win an award this year but have taken top honors in years past), costume contest and decorating car trunks and passing out candy to the kids from the cars. There’s even an award for best trunk.

Here’s Eliana in front of this year’s winner. They kind of cheated (Max!) by using a moving van and turning it into straw alley. But it was fun to have a walk-in trunk from which to get a treat. Right Ellie?

Here are a few photos from the festivities.

Grandma and Grandpa Snow’s highchair

We have a bushel full of photos of Eliana in the Snow’s highchair. It’s only fitting we have some of Dominic as well.

Here he is after enjoying his breakfast.

We stayed briefly with grandma and grandpa, arriving in the middle of the night last Thursday and taking off early Saturday morning. As usual, we enjoyed the time we spent there. Thanks for everything you do for us Gordon and Murriel!

It was also great to see Charley for a few minutes as well. The paintings are hanging in the family room and look great. We’ll get them framed eventually. We’ll also work on getting better photos in the daylight.

For those of you who haven’t seen Vickey’s Birthday Triptych, here you go. They got their name because they can be hung in three different variations, a clever one Charley is.

Story time with Aunt Melissa

Eliana played and played this past weekend with her cousins.

Here they are having story time before bed while we were staying at my brother’s place.

We enjoyed playing games and hanging out. Vickey and I especially enjoyed—to the point of tears we laughed so hard—watching Rat Race. That’s one of those movies that just makes us laugh out loud! (Sorry for keeping you guys up B&M.)

We also had fun celebrating AJ’s first birthday (and Melissa’s birthday the day before). It was a double whammy birthday weekend.

South Jordan pumpkin patch

Little did we know what green thumbs Brian and Melissa have. They grew a couple dozen huge pumpkins this year. How impressive!

Here are the Codella cousins (minus Vance), hanging out on a cold October afternoon on Brian and Melissa’s porch in South Jordan, Utah.

We had a fun time visiting their family and Vickey’s parents last weekend.

We attended a BYU Young Ambassadors reunion dinner and ice cream social with a performance of Homecoming Spectacular sandwiched in between.

We had an impromptu tailgate party at the Castleton’s new home in Provo and went to the BYU vs. UNLV football game (no contest, sorry Betty) on Saturday. Go Cougars!

I sang in church on Sunday.

Monday we packed up, headed to the Snow’s to load up Charley’s paintings, titled Vickey’s Birthday Triptych, dropped in at Murriel’s work for her to show off the grandkids, stopped at BYU to visit my friends at Performing Arts Management and the KMB where the musical theater program is housed, then drove to St. George where we met Vickey’s brother, Matt, and his two girls and my Aunt Betty and Uncle Art for dinner at CafĂ© Rio.

Do you think we could have done any more in four days’ time? I’m not sure.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Getting ready for Halloween

Vickey found a sucker with some fake teeth. Both Eliana and Dominic were coerced into taking them for a spin and here’s the result.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Rubber chips are in

Finally, the beloved day arrived when the weed barrier ground cover wasn’t the only thing under the play set in the back yard. Yesterday I got a call mid-day that the pallets of rubber chips had arrived from California. They told me the forklift driver was there for another hour and that he could lift the entire pallet (50 bags) onto my truck if I got there in time.

I hurried to my friend’s real estate office and borrowed their moving truck (thanks Max and Jenni!), drove to Russell and I-15 to the local Rainbow Play Systems warehouse, had them load the pallet of rubber chips, then drove home.

Vickey arrived home with the kids after Eliana’s day at kindergarten shortly after I arrived. We turned it into a family affair and hauled all 50 of the 40 pound bags of rubber chips to the back yard. Ellie pushed the full wagon. Dominic was strapped to his stroller in the back yard to watch us come and go (and get upset each time he was left in the back with Tank). Tank was strapped to the picnic table in back to prevent him from roaming on the street (because he’s a bad dog and doesn’t listen when we tell him to stay in the back).

After unloading and eating lunch I returned the moving truck. I only had to add two-and-a-half gallons of gas to refill it. Not bad.

It was late last night, after dark even, before I was able to spread the rubber chips out. Vickey was at enrichment at the church so the kids and I took care of it. Eliana was a great helper and took the empty bags to the garbage can and even took her turn leveling out the chips with the rock rake. Dominic crawled everywhere and played in the new chips.

Here’s the final product. There are a few areas we’ll need to touch-up as it was difficult to see while we were spreading the chips last night. We’re so happy the playground area is finally done.

But don’t fret, there’s still plenty to do: replacing dead bushes, fixing some drip line irrigation and outdoor lighting, and installing outdoor speakers. We’re saving that for my family’s Thanksgiving visit (just kidding...kind of). There’s always something, isn’t there?

At any rate, the kids can now play to their heart’s content and if they fall from the five foot high play house floor they’ll just bounce off the rubber chips (and hopefully not break any bones).

Now the other issue is Tank. For some reason he thinks the green chips are food. Last night he kept grabbing a mouthful of chips, running to the other side of the yard, chewing for a few minutes, then coming back for more.

Since I couldn’t find any chewed up chips over there, I can only guess he’s actually eating the rubber chips. Ugh! Either he’ll get sick and learn his lesson (which is doubtful) or he’ll just keep eating the rubber chips. Are there Darwin Awards for dogs?

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Fresh paint

Another contractor came through for us today and finished the job they agreed to do within the time they agreed to do it. The house painters did a great job. There are some minor touch-up things I’ll be doing over the coming weeks, but all in all, the house now has a complete facelift.

We got a few photos this evening. We’ll get some more when the daylight is better.

The walls are a medium hue beige color and there are two shades of a chocolate brown used as trim, along with a sort of cranberry red on the door and shutters. We’re pleased with how the color scheme turned out with the stone.