Archive for December 2004

Caroline’s Winter Sing

December has been a busy month so we’ll take a walk down memory lane and post some of the things that happened during the month…

Caroline’s Challenger School class held their “Winter Sing” this year. Unfortunately, I missed the program because I was on a business trip to Massachusetts but Nancy went and took pictures. Here is Nancy’s description of the event:

Caroline was excited for the Winter Sing and waved at me as all the kids walked in and sat down in their chairs. All the boys wore white scarves and the girls wore red scarves.

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The kids sang cute little Christmas songs and did little actions to each song such as holding up a snowflake while singing “Let It Snow”

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When Caroline wasn’t busy singing and doing actions she was busy checking out what her fellow classmates were doing. At the end of the program each child presented their parents with a special present – a self-portrait that they drew with the help of their teachers.

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Caroline loves to go to Challenger School and is looking forward to finishing the school year there then starting kindergarten next fall.

Ward Christmas Party

This is the second year in a row that we went to our Ward Christmas Party. I’m generally not the sociable type so I pretty much avoid ward activities when I can but Emily’s primary group was putting on a little play so I didn’t mind going.

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The play was short on dialog and long on lots of little girls fluttering around like angels. They also showed a couple of scenes from a movie about Jesus’ life. I wasn’t really focusing that much on the script because I was trying to keep the camera trained on Emily. She is sixth from the right in the picture above.

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After the play I snuck back to the dressing room and got Emily to pose for a picture in her little angel costume. I think she had fun participating and, heck, it’s the least I can do to go see Emily at the Ward Christmas Party.

I’ll probably be attending more ward activities in the future because I lost my dream calling (playing the piano in Primary) and am now the Elder’s Quorum secretary. Thus, I’ll feel more of an obligation to go and socialize than I would if I was still the primary pianist. Oh well, it’s better than being the Sunday School President – I hated that calling.

Grandma’s Funeral

Grandma passed away early Friday morning. We are leaving tomorrow for the funeral in Cedar City. I’m not speaking at the funeral (thank goodness) so I thought I’d write up a few words and memories about my Grandma.

I remember going to Grandma’s house as a boy and the coolest thing was getting to sleep in the lumpy bed downstairs in the basement. I don’t know why Nate and I liked the lumpy bed so much – it definitely was lumpy but we thought it was cool. Another nice thing about Grandma was that she let us eat whatever we wanted for breakfast and she always had the best cereals – Lucky Charms, Froot Loops, Frosted Flakes. We only got Cheerios or Rice Krispies at home so going to Grandma’s House was always a real treat. Other fond memories include going to boat park, playing at the playground across the street, floating sticks (“boats”) down the irrigation ditch, and reconnoitering.

When Nancy and I got married we stopped off at Grandma’s house on our way home from our honeymoon in California and Grandma and Grandpa gave us a 1960s table and chairs that they had stored in their garage. We were so pleased because we didn’t have a stick of furniture and they were pleased to clear out their garage.

Generally, Grandma didn’t say a lot – she didn’t need to be the center of attention but liked to enjoy the conversations of those around her. A few years back I dropped in for a visit and got Grandma to talk about her childhood in Delta, Utah and going to college in Cedar City. It was interesting to hear Grandma tell about when she was a young girl and that experience always made me fell a lot closer to Grandma even though I only saw her about once a year.

I’m grateful for the good examples in my life and I’m grateful for my own family. Hopefully I’ll make it to heaven and I look forward to seeing Grandma again because she’s surely waiting there for us.

Nancy’s New Hair

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Nancy is getting a few gray hairs and decided to dye her hair to cover the gray. She also figured that as long as she was coloring her hair she might as well go for a totally new color. I thought she should try the “blonde look” but she passed on that and decided to be a redhead instead. She got an appointment on the saturday after Thanksgiving and I watched the kids while she got her hair colored and did some shopping.

The color has adjusted a bit over the past week so it’s not as cherry red now as it was in the picture. All in all I like her red hair and she seems to like it too. Who knows, maybe when it fades she’ll try becoming a blonde.

Family Vacation – Day 2 – The California Adventure

We got a two day park-hopper pass so we went to Disney’s California Adventure on Tuesday. I hadn’t heard much about California Adventure and we didn’t really have any expectations. Our lack of expectations turned out to be a good thing because none of use really thought that California Adventure was as cool as Disneyland.

California Adventure has different “lands” or sections just like Disneyland. Each section is supposed to give you a taste of the flair of California. There is a Hollywood section, a kind of Monterey/Fisherman’s Wharf type of section, an agricultural/farming section, etc. We stopped at the Hollywood section first and visited the Bear in the Big Blue house show which was kind of an interactive show where the kids could dance around and sing. It was fun for the kids but by the time the show was over my legs were numb from sitting cross-legged on the flow. The next attraction was a Muppets 3D show that was similar to Honey I Shrunk the Audience. I kind of like the 3D shows but the kids and Nancy said they weren’t their favorite.

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Bear in the Big Blue House

There was also an “animation studio” which was kind of like a museum of Disney animation and had some interactive displays where you could make your own animations. The kids seemed to have an attention span of about 30 seconds at each display before moving on to the next. The best thing about the animation studio was that they had various Disney characters wandering around and you could take pictures with them. We spotted Cinderella hanging out and the girls ran up to her. Unlike the Winnie the Pooh where there was an official line and a “handler” helping people get in line and taking pictures, Cinderella was just kind of sitting there talking to whoever came up to her. When the girls walked up to her they waited patiently for a little while while Cinderella was talking to another kid. It didn’t seem like Cinderella was making any effort to notice that others were waiting to see her so I finally asked her if it was OK if we took a picture with her. She gave me a beautiful Cinderella smile and said “yes” in the snottiest way possible. It’s hard to imagine a Cinderella with a Disney perma-smile being able to make the word “yes” seem snotty but she somehow able to manage it. The kids lined up and I snapped their photo and I hustled them away because I was irritated at Cinderella.

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With Cinderella

I wanted to ride on the Hollywood Tower of Terror which is a “roller-coaster” type ride. It is really an elevator that takes you up to the top of a 10 story building and then shoots you straight down. You go plunging up or down three or four times. I wasn’t able to convince anyone to go with me so I decided to go by myself (the line was short) while everyone waited. It was actually pretty disconcerting in terms of roller coaster rides because you couldn’t see what comes next. One minute you’re sitting in the chair in the elevator and the next second you’re plunging down six stories. All in all it’s a pretty exciting type of ride.

After the Tower of Terror we headed off to the farmland where they had rides like bumper cars and kiddie type rides and yet another 3D show. By the time we got to the farmland it had started to rain. Several of the kiddie rides were closing down but the bumper cars were open so we rode on those.

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Bumper Cars

Caroline was too short to ride so I waited with her will Nancy and Emily and Anne all drove the bumper cars. They seemed to have fun but the cars went so slow that you really couldn’t generate any type of “bump” at all. I understand the need for safety and not scaring kids and such but those bumper cars were just ridiculously slow. The kids wanted to skip the A Bugs Life 3D show and the rest of the park had roller coasters that were either too scary or were closed in the rain so after bumper cars we called it a day (half-day) at the California Adventure and set off to get our lunch.

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More Bumper Cars

Having lunch the day before was so expensive that I went to Albertsons that night and got some groceries. We had seen some picnic tables at the entrance to Disneyland and had decided to have a picnic there or else in our car if it was raining. It was pouring rain so we headed on the tram back to the car and had a picnic lunch in our car in the parking garage. It was actually a pretty fun lunch and the kids didn’t make any messes in the car and everyone was happy. After lunch we went back to Disneyland.

The second half of the day was devoted to riding whatever rides people had thought were the most fun from the day before. This meant at least two or three turns on the carousel. Another time on the Autopia (car driving). Twice more on Pirates of the Carribean, a couple more times on Winnie the Pooh, once more on the Haunted House, Snow White, and Peter Pan. We even had time to do Mr. Toads Wild Ride and that Storybook land ride where you sit in a boat and go through the whale’s mouth. If it was up to me, I’d close Storybook land and Mr. Toad and use the space to do something more interesting. Heck, they got rid of the People Mover, the gondolas, and the submarine ride – they ought to be able to get rid of Storybook land as well.

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Another day in the rain

It rained all afternoon but started to dry out around 5:30 or so. We asked around about whether there was going to be a real parade or whether the Rainy Day Cavalcade was going to come again. The Disney people kept saying that no decision had been made yet and we didn’t want to stick around until just before seven to see the Rainy Day Cavalcade again so we decided to head back to the hotel.

After dinner at Dennys the kids were out like a light for the second straight night and Nancy and I packed up most of the luggage and got ready to go in the morning. The next morning it was pouring rain which made the commute into Los Angeles and to the LAX airport very slow. We planned 2.5 hours to go from Anaheim to LAX and we ended up using every minute of it. We caught the plane and headed home. Wouldn’t you know it – the weather was cold and rainy when we got back to Salt Lake too.

Even though we had planned well for the rain I still would have preferred nice weather but all in all it was a fun vacation.

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