Wednesday, August 30, 2006

First day of kindergarten

A guest entry by Vickey...

Ah, the first day of school: the crisp, clean new clothes, the excitement of meeting a new teacher and new classmates, the emotional meltdown first thing in the morning brought on because your mom made you sleep in spongy curlers all night, and you just can’t see how those crazy knots on your head are going to be bouncing curls in but a few moments.

Today was Eliana’s first day of kindergarten. She woke up crying because she wanted me (mom; this is my blogging debut) to brush her hair, and fix it that minute, or the rest of her life would be ruined!

She could not be calmed until her hair was just right. I was getting uptight and frustrated with this little emotional outburst, and Pete and Dominic just got out of the way while the two of us came to terms, and an equally happy place, with the Shirley Temple hair-do.

With that first obstacle out of the way, it was time to get dressed in her new leopard print skirt, her brown shirt and fancy new shoes. The outfit had been carefully selected the night before so as to avoid an emotional meltdown first thing in the morning (at least the outfit meltdown was avoided). After Ellie got all gussied up and was feeling better about everything she went down to have breakfast with dad.

Surprisingly, the morning went smoothly after that. Ellie had to have a “first day” photo shoot. As you can see, she wasn’t shy about posing for the camera. I asked her to strike a pose for me, and this was one of the smashing results.

A few weeks ago Grandma Snow took us shopping so Ellie could pick out some new school clothes for herself. We took her in the dressing room at Old Navy, and once she had on the clothes she picked out she became a different creature. She stood in front of the mirror and started bombarding us with all kinds of poses. She was checking herself out over her shoulder, shaking her booty, throwing her hands up in the air, and then this little gem came as the last and final move. I think it is her equivalent of “blue steel” (Zoolander). But, I digress…

8:30 rolled around and it was time to load up the car and go to school. I was worried that I might be emotional as I kissed my firstborn and sent her off to school. Luckily, I was juggling so many things that I hardly had time to think about it. Between snapping photos, talking to other parents and keeping Dominic happy through all the chaos, I escaped with nary a tear rolling down my cheek.

Ellie marched into the room like she was an old pro and had been doing this for years. While we waited in line she kept giving me a finger gauge (refer to photo—no that is not a miniature gang sign she is flashing—it’s a finger gauge) of how nervous she was. This photo was taken right before we got to the door. You can see that she was feeling nervous, but doing okay.

Mrs. Gupton had Ellie pick her name tag from the counter and she stuck it on and was gone to the alphabet rug in a flash. There was no screaming, or weeping and whaling and gnashing of teeth. Not even much of a glance in my direction as she headed off into kindergarten land. I blew her a kiss and left. That was that.

Ellie has been vague in her descriptions of what she did today at school, but she seemed to have a good time and like her classmates and teacher. I hope this turns out to be a great school year for her and that she learns a lot.

I have my worries and trepidations, but what mother doesn’t? She will be a great student and I can’t wait to see how things unfold as we open this new chapter in our lives.

Don’t leave me Eliana!

Dominic’s thoughts on this, Eliana’s first day of kindergarten at Cox Elementary School.

When you go to school I won’t have anyone to entertain me all morning.

Why did you and mom leave me stuck at the kitchen table while you sat for a morning photo shoot?

I really don’t feel that great (had a 102.5 fever on Sunday and saw the doctor Monday to get antibiotics for my sinus infection) and all of you just abandon me first thing in the morning! What kind of treatment is that?

Can anyone hear me? Hello...HELLO!

Guess I’ll just keep crying...

Monday, August 28, 2006

Front yard transformation

The front yard is now beginning to take shape. Here are a few photos showing progress as of today (from east to west).

There are still a handful of things to be fixed in the back, and we’re still waiting for the play set, but we’re looking forward to the finished product at least by October (progress takes time).

Sunday, August 27, 2006

More from the photo shoot

Here are a few more photos from this month's photo shoot.

We spent the weekend cleaning up and organizing. Ellie and I took a break to go swimming yesterday afternoon. Vickey was a trooper to help me in the garage (she went through her Pampered Chef stock pile) instead of in her scrapbooking room. I’ve pledged to help in the scrapbooking room in the very near future.

Vickey did manage to make a scrapbook purchase yesterday from a local store going out of business. She bought a four foot tall slatboard organizer that spins around. So now she’s got somewhere to display her stickers and such.

Yesterday we also had a couple outdoor outlets installed, along with another back yard light for the yet-to-be-assembled play house set (it’s supposed to arrive from Colorado this week).

And tomorrow the landscaping crew is supposed to start on our front yard—that is if the contractor’s wife doesn’t have her baby before then. She’s due in a week but usually delivers early.

It was a full day at church and with church meetings. We learned the choir director and her family are moving out of the ward. Good thing I’ve had that calling in this ward (and two others) so I don’t have to worry. We’ll miss you Jason and Shelli.

It’s strange to me that this week my oldest daughter starts school. Just think, in 13 more years, if all goes as expected, she’ll be starting college at this time of year. Good thing we’ve got that college savings account (thanks Grandpa Codella!).

Friday, August 25, 2006

Meeting Mrs. Gupton

Today Eliana went to kindergarten to meet her teacher, Mrs. Gupton, and see her classroom. She starts school on Wednesday.

Vickey took Ellie and Dominic to the school to take a tour and fill out some paperwork.

Ellie was shy when it came time to talk to her teacher…we’ll see how long that lasts.

And Dominic was as energetic as usual, getting into everything he possibly could while Vickey was attending to business.

This was Eliana’s new school outfit for meeting her teacher.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Snow cabin images

Here are some more photos from last week's trip to the cabin.

We purchased a wagon to make carrying Dominic on the hike around the circle easier. I don't think it was that much easier once four kids were on board. At least it was fun.

The three stooges on the front porch (not counting me, of course).

All four kids in the wagon. AJ had his own transportation (see below).

Grandpa supplied two-by-four blocks for the kids to build with. They were entertained for hours. Way to go, Grandpa!

Dominic and grandma - searching for that lone monkey in the barrel. More fun than a barrel full of monkeys, definitely!

Do you think grandpa gets a kick out of Dominic?

Melissa, Carter and AJ.

So long beautiful cabin. Till next year!

Monday, August 21, 2006

In the mountains

We returned late last night from a five day trip to the Snow family cabin at Bryant’s Fork at Strawberry Reservoir, about 45 minutes outside of Heber, Utah.

We had a great time in a beautiful environment. It was a welcome change from the 110 degree Vegas heat.

I’ll post more photos later, but wanted to upload this one tonight.

Special thanks to Grandpa and Grandma Snow for their hospitality. And it was great seeing Brian and Melissa and their family for a day as well.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Root canal

Sunday evening while Vickey was brushing her teeth part of one of her back molars fell off. She had been experiencing some discomfort around the tooth for a while.

Luckily she was able to call the dentist that helped her with her implant a couple years ago and get in for an office visit yesterday morning. And luckily we had signed up for a dental and vision discount plan last month.

So yesterday Vickey had a root canal. She’s feeling the pain of it this morning.

The dentist told her it was bleeding badly while he worked on it; one of the worse kinds of root canals—whatever that means.

So, Vickey’s popping pain killers to help ease the pain while she tends to household duties and motherhood. What a trooper!

Friday, August 11, 2006

Update on the back yard

Here are a few photos from today. They pretty much finished the landscaping work yesterday, although there are a few touch-up things to be taken care of. Now we're waiting for the play set.

Photo shoot

Vickey took Eliana and Dominic to her favorite photo place this morning. Here are some of the results.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Free all the way

Today was a momentous day in my 13 mile commute to and from the office. Last night they opened the southwest corner of Interstate-215. Now I can get on the freeway near my home and take it to just a few hundred yards from my office. It made my commute quite a bit easier coming home this evening.

After dinner and our family trampoline time, we headed out to the Bellagio to see the gardens. They were beautiful. Thanks for the recommendation Don! There were dozens of little buildings, like the White House and National Monument, made out of organic stuff like tree bark. There were also trains on tracks about 15 feet up in the air going all through the place. It was very cool!

In other news ...

The landscapers finished planting, irrigating, positioning lights and rocks in the back yard today. It all came together nicely. Now we’re just waiting for the play set. I’ll post some pictures once we have a chance to snap some.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Back yard taking shape

Several changes and additions are coming together quite nicely in the back yard. Today some of our new plants were added, as was the curbing around the new playhouse area, some rock and outdoor lights. It’s starting to take shape.

We spent our usual after dinner family time on the trampoline. Eliana and Dominic really enjoyed it.

The playhouse and swing set are on order from Vinyl Adventure Play Systems. It’ll be nice to have it all put together in a few more weeks. And hopefully it’ll start cooling down by then.

Here are four shots of the yard this afternoon, from west to east.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Playing house

The Coglianese kids have a second home here, and our kids a second home at their place. Vickey took some photos this week during some of their play time.

Here you can see Mijken taking care of making dinner, giving orders to Dominic.

And here’s Jared and Eliana getting hitched. They even act like a long-time married couple—happy to be together one moment and at odds with each other a minute later.

Trampoline: done

Yesterday I helped our yard crew put together the trampoline.

The tramp was given to us by our home teacher. He used it for a video shoot (he runs an ad agency) and just had it sitting in storage. So a big shout out to Steve for making Eliana’s day (week, month and year for that matter).

We did pretty well putting the thing together until we decided to hook it up to the frame by going around the circumference instead of alternating points across the circle. It was a real challenge to stretch the trampoline once we got about half-way done. But we managed.

Eliana was the first one to try it out. Her smile said it all.

I went inside to get Dominic and bring him out. As soon as I stepped outside with him he started swinging his arms and kicking his feet and squealing like a girl. I think he saw his sister jumping on something new and hoped it would be his turn next. I took him for a spin and he loved it as well.

So, hopefully our plan to turn our back yard’s real estate into something useful, especially something that’ll occupy the little ones, is starting to pay off.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Yard progress

Some progress has been made in our re-landscaping project. These photos are from earlier this week.