Archive for September 2007

First Snow

On the last Saturday of September we got two big surprises. Grandma and grandpa called us up and invited us to go out to lunch with them before they went out of town and we got our first snowfall of the season. The kids got to choose the place we went, so we went to Applebees. Sam was supposed to have a soccer game at 2pm. but because of weather it was cancelled. We would rather go out with grandma and grandpa than go to a soccer game anyways. While we were eating lunch the rain turned to snow and by the time we got home it was coming down in earnest. I decided to grab the camera and have one of the kids take a picture of me outside in the snow. Luckily nowadays we have digital cameras that let you look at a picture first before you decide you want to keep it. I deleted my picture and took one of just the snow.

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Fall Soccer

When a lady from our ward called me a few weeks ago asking if Sam would like to play fall soccer I wasn’t sure if I wanted to spend all my weekends at soccer games. But I thought that Sam would love to play with the kids from the ward instead of kids who he didn’t know. Lucky for me also is that in fall soccer they play a weeknight game as well so the season only lasts a month instead of two. Sam does a little better than he did in the spring, he now runs around more and tries to get to the ball, whereas before he just ran and fell down most of the time. The best thing to Sam about playing soccer is that he gets to play with his friends and have treats, who can beat that.

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Another Great Saturday

Today was another great weekend. It’s always great when there is a BYU home football game and the Cougars win. This morning Nancy and I slept in then went out for a long walk. After the walk I mowed the lawn while Nancy made brunch. I ate brunch on the back patio with the birds twittering and my waterfall splashing.

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Do they really like football or do they just like the treats?

After brunch we got the girls ready to go to the game. Sam and Diana went last week with Nancy so this week it was Emily, Anne, and Caroline’s turn. It certainly didn’t seem like it would rain after such a nice morning but Nancy told me that we should expect rain and she packed the ponchos into a backpack for us to take. By the time we reached the game it was cloudy and sprinkling and in the second half it was downright pouring. No worries – we just whipped out our ponchos and were toasty and dry.

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Thanks to Nancy for packing the ponchos!

The Cougars had a good game against Air Force but I’m still not convinced the Cougs can duplicate their success of last year in going undefeated in conference play. Next week the Cougs will be on the road at New Mexico which should be a pretty good test for them.

Saturday Chores

Today was devoted to getting the yard/garden ready for winter. We didn’t plant a garden this year because we were busy putting the ladscaping in during the spring but we plan to have a great garden next year. This summer the garden had accumulated a very healthy growth of weeds including the two worst kind of weeds on the planet:

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Goat’s Head Weed (Tribulus terrestris)

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Field bindweed (Convolvulus arvensis)

The Goat’s Head Weed is also called Punctureweed and it lives up to its name. It can easily puncture a bike tire and can sometimes puncture a car tire. Nancy hates it so bad that she calls it the Evil Weed. Field bindweed is also known as wild morning glory or creeping jenny. It is a horrible weed that has the most incredible root system. It can store a 2 year supply of energy in its roots so even if you pull the weed, it may still come back after two years. It is so hardy that it has even been known to survive bulldozer operations.

These weeds were taking over the garden and starting to expand their empire into the lawn so the time had come for a counteroffensive. A week or two ago Nancy sprayed them with Roundup and today we spent the morning and afternoon digging up the roots of the field bindweed. According to various agriculture websites, field bindweed must be controlled (i.e. dug up) every two weeks during the summer and every three weeks during the fall if you want to prevent the weed from spreading. After weeding we also spread out the big pile of mulch that has been sitting at one end of the garden for the entire summer along with the summer’s accumulation of grass clippings. A final pass with the rototiller to break up the soil and till in the mulch and grass and we are ready for the winter.

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Miss Caroline Goes To a Party

Caroline got an invitation to a birthday party. She was so excited because she usually watches her older sisters go to birthday parties or else gets to go with them but this time she was going all by herself. Nancy helped her choose a present for her friend and wrap it up. She couldn’t stop talking about it all week and I think everyone was a little bit glad when Saturday rolled around so she could finally go. This morning she aksed me about 20 times, “How many minutes until I can go to the party?”. The last half hour Caroline waited on the front step until Nancy walked with her down the street to her friends house.

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She came home full of candy, party prizes, and excitement. To her credit, she was gracious about sharing her candy with her siblings. I’m glad she got to go and do something fun on her own instead of under the shadow of her older sisters.

Backseat Shopping

Lori called me a few days ago and asked my advice about buying a piano. I really enjoyed shopping for my own piano 4 years ago and was only too happy to throw my two cents into the mix when invited. I advised Lori to get The Piano Book. Its advice on pianos, their cost and quality, is invaluable when trying to make an informed purchase.

It was interesting to watch Lori’s research lead her down the same paths that I took. She decided to skip the various European brands (there are tons of them) just like I did. I think the main reason is that it’s hard to find local dealers for the European brands. The most popular brands in Utah seem to be Steinway (with their 2nd and 3rd lines, Boston and Essex), the Japanese lines (Kawai and Yamaha) and the cheap Chinese and Korean brands. Baldwin, a viable brand when I was shopping, was subsequently bought by Gibson (the guitar people) and there aren’t any dealers along the Wasatch Front for Baldwin pianos so Baldwin and it’s 2nd and 3rd lines were out of the picture.

The Piano Book reccommends avoiding the cheap Chinese and Korean brands unless your budget forces you down that route. Thus, the contenders were Boston, Yamaha, and Kawai. Lori and I went to each of the dealers and looked at the various pianos. My job was to play something on the piano. When I was shopping for my own piano I was embarrassed to sit down and play it. I felt cheesy for some reason. When shopping with Lori, I didn’t seem to have any shame and gladly played the same song over and over again so she could compare pianos. The only trouble was that Natasha didn’t particularly enjoy hearing the same song over and over again and was ready to end the piano shopping trip after only about three pianos. Thus, Lori and I made arrangements to go out again the next day when Natasha was in preschool.

It’s funny how much buying a piano is like buying a car – the test drives, the creepy salesmen, the slick marketing brochures, etc. The hardest thing was to compare pianos across brands. It’s difficult to play the Kawai at the Kawai dealer while trying to remember how the same song sounded on the Yamaha at the Yamaha dealer.

Another thing that was different between my own shopping trip and this backseat shopping trip is that my ear seems to have improved a bit. Like Lori, I could tell the difference between a $2500 piano and a $5000 piano; however, when I was shopping for mine I couldn’t really tell the difference between the $5000 and the $7000 piano. This time around I was able to hear the difference between the $5000 and the $7000 piano and I seemed to be able to tell a bit more which piano sounded “brighter” and which had a richer sound. I could also discern more differences in the “touch” or “action” of the various pianos than I seem to remember from my own shopping experience. I don’t know if my increased discernment this time was due to the fact that I was just an unemotional bystander or if I really have developed a better ear over the past few years.

After playing all the various pianos my own personal favorite was the Kawai K5. It seemed to have a richer tone and a nicer action than the comparable Yamaha (the Yamaha was very bright sounding). I thought it was the best piano of the bunch but I was hesitant to tell Lori which one was my favorite because I didn’t want to unduly influence her decision. Fortunately, Lori was blessed with good taste and it turns out that her personal favorite was the same as mine. Now Lori is the proud owner of a brand new Kawai K5 piano:

Thanks Lori for letting me go backseat shopping with you. I hope I didn’t unduly influence your decision but I really like the piano you ended up with. Let us know when it gets delivered and we’ll come over and listen to you play a concert.

Trip to Grandmas

It has been quite a while since we made the trip to Coalville to visit grandma so we decided to take a final day trip before the kids start school again next week. They love to go up to grandmas and have fun playing in the attic or playing outside. We got to grandma’s house about 1pm, the first thing Samuel and Caroline did was head to the attic. Anne loved having grandma’s undivided attention and proceeded to talk her ears off. Emily was nice and helped clean up after Sam, Caroline and Diana got done playing in the attic. We also took a walk up to the cemetary while grandma was being helped by her massage therapist. The last time we visited grandma, coco the horse was still alive, so it was kind of sad walking past the field she used to roam around in all empty. Time sure flies and we definitely need to visit more often.

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Chinese Souvenirs

Yesterday grandpa and grandma came over on their way out of town to drop off some souvenirs they got for them in China. Diana looks cute in her little chinese dress. Caroline liked it so much that she wanted to try it on also. Samuel got a t-shirt and the other girls got cute little handbags along with a little coin purse. They love it when grandma and grandpa stop by bearing gifts, but they like it even more because they can tell them all the things they’ve been up to and show them how much they love them.

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My Favorite Saturday

College Football season is finally here again – my favorite time of year. There are few experiences I enjoy more than going to a BYU Football game. Today the Cougars played Arizona from the PAC-10. I had picked BYU to win but I was still nervous because the Cougs are breaking in a new quarterback this season. I really like going to the games with Nancy; however, the drawback to taking Nancy is that you also have to take Sam and Diana. We can leave the older girls at home by themselves for 6 or 7 hours but we can’t leave Sam or Diana with them. Sam and Diana, while cute, usually get bored of football by about the time the BYU band comes onto the field before the game starts. Today was no exception.

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The view from our seats

One of the best things about going to BYU games are the excellent seats we have. I’ve been a Cougar Club member for at least 14 years now and it has enabled me to work my way into top-notch seats. I love being on the 9th row because the seats are right on the railing – there is nobody sitting in front of us. Although I wish I was closer to the center, the view is unbeatable when the game is down at my end of the field.

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The Cougars approach the end zone

Today was scortching hot so Nancy slathered everyone up with sunscreen before we left the game. Unfortunately, Nancy’s car seems to have developed a problem with it’s air conditioner in the past few weeks so we were all sweating on the drive down to Provo. Once at the stadium our experience consisted of taking Sam potty 37 times, taking Diana potty only slightly fewer times, listening to Sam and Diana ask for treats approximately 1,273 times, and watching the occassional football play.

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Cute, but annoying – especially at a footbal game

Fortunately, BYU’s new quarterback did a good job, their defense did an even better job, and the Cougars were able to come away with a victory. We listened to the post-game show on our way home from the game and were glad to find that the older girls were safe and sound and hadn’t burned the house down. Now how does a Saturday get any better than today?