Sunday, July 30, 2006

A pretty happy kid

Dominic’s a pretty content little boy. He’s usually smiling and having a grand time. His latest tricks are pulling himself up on anything stationery and climbing up it if possible, as well as taunting his older sister and the dog. Funny how a one year-old can get the best of a four year-old.

Here are a couple mug shots of Dominic Joseph, mostly for his grandparents to enjoy.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

The two rascals

Here’s a shot of the two rascals. They were enjoying an afternoon snack of apple wedges and Vickey took time out for a photo opportunity.

Counter productive

Those of you who have spent time in our home know that since we moved in the tile countertops have really bothered me. What a pain to clean grout and keep the countertops looking nice.

So, after six years we finally took the plunge and had granite countertops installed.

We spent hours strolling through stone yards looking at palates of granite for just the right slabs. We finally decided a few weeks ago on a stone called golden beaches, from Brazil.

The installation was scheduled for last week and being the dutiful homeowners we are, we gutted the kitchen to allow for an easy dismantling and installing project. But to our dismay the installers called the morning they were supposed to be here and postponed.

They actually postponed the project twice on us and our kitchen was dismantled for more than a week.

But after all the inconvenience we’re very pleased with the result. (Well, I can point out a few places where I’m not too pleased. Like Vickey says, it's tough being in my skin.)

So, here are some photos of the refurbished kitchen and family room/dining room ledge which also received a slab of granite.

Decorated front office

I finally got around to finishing the décor of the front of the office. Dave’s wife painted some fun contemporary paintings for above the couch and I picked up a few items and brought a large mirror from home to the office to complete the finishing touches.

Now when you walk into our office it looks like a decorated, finished room. It’s nice.

That's Kyle working at the front desk, answering phones and just being very helpful.

Vinyl signs for the front windows are coming in the next couple of weeks. We’ll be in there a year in November and our goal is to have everything complete by then.

Next on my list is to fix the bathroom floor (it’s nasty linoleum) and paint the hallway.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Happy birthday Tank

Yesterday was Sir Tank Thunderpaw’s fourth birthday. For a few weeks Tank and Eliana are the same age.

We had a busy day with the annual Pioneer Day Parade around the city park across the street from our stake center and chapel, but we did manage to celebrate with Tank last night.

We all sang happy birthday to him (Dominic just kicked his feet and swirled his hands—that’s how he sings for now) then Ellie gave him a new peanut butter filled bone.

Tank gently took the bone from Eliana’s hand and ran outside to chow down in peace. He was very possessive of the bone all night and I had to trick him into giving it up after he repeatedly dropped it on the kitchen tile wanting to play fetch. And each time it fell fragments of bone went flying. So once the bone was put away for the night I took to vacuuming the downstairs (which is something I usually do on Saturday night anyway so at least the floors are clean for Sunday).

Tank's usual sleeping position
Ellie rode in the parade yesterday and participated in the candy throwing and water squirt gun activities. I was on traffic patrol so I saw her on the float at the beginning and end of the parade.

Right after the parade we went home—there’s only so much of 100 degree plus heat one person can stand—so Vickey could load up the truck and leave for her Pampered Chef show.

Last night we enjoyed a visit to Pier 49 Pizza and were thrilled (at least I was) to learn the joint has new owners (again) and the pizza seems to be back to its terrific state.

We made a few stops at stores looking for décor items for my office and school stuff for Eliana, then came home.

At work we’re getting the front reception area decorated. My office partner’s wife painted some very cool contemporary paintings that were hung Friday above the leather couch in the reception area. And now I’ve got a few more things from around our place and from what I picked up this weekend to finish up the room.

One of these days I’ll make it over there to paint the hallway. I figure if the office (all 1,100 square feet) is the way we want it by the time we’ve been there 12 months, we’ll be doing good. Our home still isn’t the way I’d like it after six years. Someday . . .

At any rate, happy birthday to Tank. He’s a pretty lucky dog. He’s lucky we feed him organic dog food from Wild Oats. He’s lucky he’s in a nice air conditioned home during these crazy Vegas summers. He’s lucky I haven’t beaten him to death for waking me up so many nights. He’s lucky to have his new Superman nametag with a special rubber ring around it (another birthday present) so it doesn’t clatter every time he shakes his floppy ears. And he’s lucky to still have his manhood intact (that’s going to change this summer though).

If bull’s testicles are called Rocky Mountain Oysters, what do you think a weimaraner’s testicles could be called? Anyone want to come over for a barbeque? We could save Tank’s testicles for you.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Just count to 10

Tonight as I was putting Eliana to bed she prayed, “And bless dad and Dominic and me to have a good time while mom’s in Chicago and help him not to get frustrated.”

Then afterwards, as I was cuddling with her and rubbing her legs — a mandatory going to bed practice for Ellie Belly — she said, “Dad, if you get frustrated, just count to 10.”

Now where does she hear things like that? And where does a four year-old learn to boss her parents around like that?

She was just so darn cute about it though that all I could do was smile and say okay.

Dominic was out like a light after his four once bottle of warmed milk.

After our walk tonight he and Ellie played with toys for about half-an-hour before bedtime. I think they were worn out.

Vickey’s safely in Chicago attending the annual Pampered Chef conference. She missed the conference last year because of Dominic’s birth. She always looks forward to the new products, new ideas and rejuvenated energy she gets from conference.

Don’t worry about us, hon. We’re doing just fine.

But please come back soon so you can change Dominic’s poopy diapers.

Dominic’s first birthday video

For those of you out-of-towners who weren’t able to join us Friday for Dominic’s birthday bash in the park, I’ve uploaded it to

You’ll probably need a fast internet connection to be able to view it, but for those of you who have one, here you go.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Dominic’s first birthday

Yesterday was Dominic’s first birthday. It’s hard to believe a year has gone by already.

Despite dealing with some stubborn sinus infections (all of us but Eliana) we managed to have a great celebration last night at Henderson’s Mission Hills water park.

In preparation for the party Vickey picked up the party supplies, including balloons.

We invited a handful of friends and family to join us at the park for cupcakes and fun in the water.

It was a very nice night, overcast and a bit breezy, but still warm enough for the kids to enjoy running through the water.

Vickey managed to capture 100 photos of the festivities.

After a lovely rendition of “Happy Birthday to You,” when Dominic was presented with his cupcake, he dug in right away with both hands.

Dominic is definitely not shy about eating.

He managed to cover himself with gusto in cupcake crumbs and icing.

We weren’t going to let him get wet but after he was so sticky and messy I decided to take him over to the sprinklers for a little washing up. He enjoyed playing in the water for a bit.

As it was getting dark we gathered everyone around again to open gifts. Thanks to everyone who came Dominic received plenty of toys, a backpack and some new clothes. Thank you all!

And thanks to everyone who called to wish Dominic a happy birthday.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Phone crunch

I should have known when I woke up wide awake at 3 a.m. that it wasn’t going to be a typical day. By 3:20 I was working on the computer, trying to finish up the content for a website that’s been on my to do list for many weeks. I’m happy to say the project is coming along (here’s an image of the first mock-up:

I was actually really productive this morning and made it to work early and got a lot done there. It was on my way back to the office from a 10 a.m. client meeting that my luck ran out.

This is a photo of my new (I just got this phone a few weeks ago) mobile phone after it fell out of the window of the Tundra onto Flamingo as I rounded a corner while I was talking to Vickey. The phone fell to the pavement, I pulled over (no, there weren’t cars right behind me), parked the truck and went to retrieve the phone.

Then, wouldn’t you know it, there were two cars in the center lane headed towards the phone. I waived the first car over and it avoided the phone. The second, large Cadillac Escalade, however, failed to notice anything awry, with the exception of my truck parked and me walking down the right lane of the 3-lane road.

Then…CRUNCH! My new phone was toast.

All I could do at that point was laugh.

What are the odds of me dropping the phone out the window, it surviving the drop then being crushed by an oversized, overpriced SUV?

I certainly didn’t expect that when I woke up this morning.

Then again, I didn’t expect to only get a handful of hours of sleep either.

From there my day just spiraled out of control.

I called it a day at 3:30 p.m. and headed home.

If only I had my Bluetooth headset while I was en route I would have avoided the whole clumsy episode.

What was even more amusing was that there was a young guy in the left hand turn lane watching this drama unfold. As I gathered the pieces off the road then jogged back to the truck to avoid the wave of cars heading through a freshly green-lighted intersection, the on-looking driver said, “That sucks!”

That pretty much sums it up. Thanks, buddy.

And yes, I called Vickey as soon as I got back to the office to let her know I hadn’t just been killed in an automobile accident which is pretty much what it sounded like — well maybe not the killed part — from her end of the conversation.

So for those of you used to me using up my monthly minutes during my commute keeping in touch, it’s not going to happen for a while until I get set-up again with a new phone.

And since I went through two other phone models on my last contract renewal I’m not even sure if I kept the insurance on my plan. If not, I’ll be paying for a new phone out of pocket.

I’m beginning to think there’s wisdom in simple, cheap mobile phones.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Till next year

We left on June 24 and took another photo opportunity from the rented beach house deck looking out to the Pacific.

The kids were pretty exhausted on the way home. Not tired enough to prevent their parents from doing some shopping in Barstow and Primm, though.

One other highlight not represented in the photos is the trip Vickey and I took to the Newport Beach LDS Temple. It’s a beautiful temple in a lovely setting. We enjoyed our trip to the temple, the peaceful time worshiping there, and the amazing Mexican food we had on our way back to the beach house.

We had a great vacation. It was a good break and fun chance to be with good friends.

Roasting smores

We roasted smores a couple of times on the beach. This time we escaped the giant wave that almost doused our fire last year. And despite being full from well-prepared, great tasting meals, we all managed to scarf down a smore or two each time.

It was really beautiful on the beach at sunset — so peaceful with moderate temperatures. It’s easy to see why so many people live in California. Then again, when you drive around, it’s easy to see why so many people move out of California. It’s difficult being popular.

Yes, that's marshmallow drool on my lower lip. Thanks for telling me it was there, Vick! I noticed it that night when I went to bed and all Vickey said was, "I figured you'd notice it sooner or later."

Our day at Laguna Beach

On the Friday of our beach trip we made our annual excursion to Crazy Shirts at Laguna Beach and stopped by a few other stores, including a Wyland gallery.

Our trip home included a stop at Ruby’s which usually has great food and service. This year they were slammed and the service, from finding a parking spot until the moment we left, was disappointing. Still, the food was tasty to a hungry group of tired tourists.

Surrey with the fringe on top

On Thursday at the beach we rented a surrey to pedal our way up and down the shore. Mark thought we’d go up and down Beach Road (where the beach house was), but I pushed for a trip to Dana Point. I even packed a cooler with snacks and drinks. And boy did we need them.

It was a long bike ride with lots of weight to transport. We had fun on our journey and created smiles everywhere we went. The kids were as crazy as usual and began calling out to bystanders. Not like we didn’t already get enough attention.

Eliana and the beach

Despite a few complaints about the salty water and sand, Eliana was pretty excited to be at the beach. Here she’s sporting her new lifejacket and, on another day, showing her enthusiasm for being at Capistrano Beach.

The sand pit

The kids — with a little help from me and Mark — decided to dig a pretty big hole on the beach. They enjoyed playing in it for a few days until the kids from a few doors down came over and filled in the hole.

The kiddie pool

We bought a blow-up pool for the little ones at the beach.

Here are some shots of Dominic, Eliana and Mijken enjoying fun in the shallow water.