Friday, December 31, 2010

Holiday adventures on a train, in the snow, in the cold, in the rain

This year we spent Christmas in Logan, Utah with the Humiston clan.  Our trip started on December 18 with 15 hours on a train, which went better than expected, even though Jared still doesn't sleep well on trains.  This was Todd's first train trip, and he could not get over the amount of leg room available.  Our train was shockingly early arriving in spite of a rain/snow storm all of the way through California.  The only incident on the train was as we were arriving in Salt Lake City.  Our car attendant came through to give the ten minute warning for the train stop sobbing and announcing to everyone that a passenger on the train had just died.  We found this to be very strange, unprofessional behavior, but, sure enough, there were paramedics and sobbing family members all over the platform when we got off the train.  And that was the end of our train drama.
Annika and Ryan (known to Jared as "Nanni" and "Ry-rah") sacrificed sleep to pick us up at 3:00 in the morning, and then let us cram into their tiny apartment for a couple of days.  Living in close quarters with my sister and her hubby gave Jared a special attachment to them.  He hasn't stopped asking for Nanni since we got home.
When we got to Logan there was a little bit of snow on the ground.  Jared was in bundled-up-baby heaven.  Here he is in all of his mismatched, too big snow gear.
I forgot what a project it can be to go outside and play when it is 30 degrees and wet outside.  It rained for the first three days of our visit and then the snow was no more.
One highlight of our trip was Jared's first ever basketball game.  My cousin, Carly, is a cheerleader at Morgan High School. Her school's basketball team played Logan High in Logan during the break, so we went to watch.  Jared loved the excitement.  He called out "Ball!" every few moments as he noticed again what everyone else was looking at.
Watching Jared was at least as much fun as watching the game.  Every time the buzzer sounded, he did a shockingly accurate imitation of it.  He was also excited about the giant stairs we were sitting on, keeping us constantly terrified that he was going to fall into the huge gaps by our feet.  He did his best to get into mortal peril, but we managed to take him away in one piece.
Another trip highlight for Jared was plunking on Mama Jill's piano, or "pappo."  He even sang along with his tunes.
Cheyenne, Andrew, and baby Aaron came a few days after we did, and then the cousin fun began.  By cousin fun I mean that Aaron watched Jared constantly enthralled by everything he did while Jared mostly ignored Aaron except to occasionally take his toys away.  Here are the babies with Ryan and Cheyenne on Christmas Eve in their new pajamas from Mama Jill.
Other fun activities included a visit from my dad,
going shooting,
swimming in this nice, warm pool,
way too short visits with my friends, Jordanne and Yeon Mi,
and, of course, all of the Christmas day festivities.  Here is Jared getting into his first Santa filled stocking ever with help from Aunt Faith.
Here are Cheyenne, Andrew, and Aaron on Christmas morning.
We opened presents at Grandma Jill's house before driving to Murray to spend the rest of the day with Jared's great grandparents and my uncles and cousins.  Here are some squirmy babies with their grandma.
It was great to spend this holiday with family and friends.  I think one of the highlights for Mama Jill was getting to go to church with the whole family the day after Christmas so she could show off her growing brood.  I also loved getting to go, as a family, to the Logan temple where Todd and I got married four and a half years ago.
We caught our train back to California on December 26 at 11:00 p.m. after a day of snowstorms.  Anni and Ryan sacrificed their sleep and safety on icy roads to drive us down to the station.  Thanks again, guys!  On the return trip we had a sleeping car.  Jared and I shared a bunk for the night, and he is a major bunk hog, but he slept really well.  Naps were better, too, in the privacy of a closed compartment.
This was a great trip.  Thanks to our Utah family and friends for making this a memorable Christmas.

Since I will probably never be organized enough to send actual Christmas cards, let me take this opportunity to wish our family and friends everywhere a belated Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas! I fail!

So almost a year ago I posted my 2010 new years resolutions and promised a portly sum of $100 for every resolution I did not achieve. Well its been almost a year and I know now which ones I have passed and which ones I have failed, and who I owe $100 to and who wont be taking my money this year.

To remind everyone, my goals were:
  1. Release 3 websites (I'll announce them as they are released here on our blog) (claimed by Colette)
  2. Release an Android/IPhone program on either the android market or the app store (claimed by Jill)
  3. Read The Book of Mormon from front to back before the end of April (to be paid out in May if I fail) (claimed by Dan)
  4. Learn how to Surf (claimed by Annika)
  5. Take at 3+ night campout with Jared (claimed by Ryan)
  6. Go out of my way to do additional exercise at least twice a week, with exceptions when traveling or in other exceptional situations (claimed by Annette)
  7. (Bonus Universe Imploding Goal!) Give at least one person $100 for failing one of my goals (claimed by Katie)
I have to say this year has been amazing. These goals motivated me to do things that I wouldn't have done otherwise, and had made my year that much more memorable. I am very happy I made these goals and tried hard to reach them.

Lets see how I did:

Release 3 websites (I'll announce them as they are released here on our blog) (claimed by Colette)
Release an Android/IPhone program on either the android market or the app store (claimed by Jill)

I consciously abandoned these 2 goals half way through the year. Maybe in a few years I'll get back to working on my personal nerd programming projects, but for now I am enjoying my family, work, and other responsibilities.

Colette gets $100
Jill gets $100

Read The Book of Mormon from front to back before the end of April (to be paid out in May if I fail)

I did achieve this goal (I finished a week or 2 early even, so dan, you owe me :)

Sorry Dan, I'll try to suck more next year.

Learn how to Surf (claimed by Annika)
Take at 3+ night campout with Jared (claimed by Ryan)

Woooo!! I did it! I went surfing, took a class and got up a handfull of times. It was incredibly fun, and I discovered how weak my arms and shoulders are. I really need to get to doing more pushups.

After having to canceling our camping reservation at Yosemite the night before due to a freak winter storm, and also deciding against spending a week in yellow stone (instead to spend time with our awesome Salmon family) we still pulled together 3 nights camping out.

1) We camped out in the back yard of Barbra and Boyd's house in Salmon
2) We camped out about 40 miles south of salmon. Despite it being very rainy and windy, Jared actually slept pretty well.
3) On the way up to Salmon we camped at Rye Patch Nevada. The campsite was full so we set up camp at the parking lot by the front entrance. At 2 am we decided it was to windy and jared would never get enough sleep with the tent almost blowing over on us, so we decided to pack up camp and continue to Winnemucca where we got a hotel room and slept for the rest of the night. Definitely not the worst camping experience I've ever had, but it sure was exhausting.

So that was great, I achieved these goals!

Well... In my original new years resolution post I wrote:
"if [...] Savannah decides that I failed at the goal you chose, I will mail you a check for $100"
Savannah loves loosing money I guess :). She said I had to go out on 2 different days in order for me to really _know_ how to surf. She also tells me that leaving at 2 am to go to a hotel can't count as camping. I have some father/son campouts that say contrary, but I gave her all authority in this matter so...

Annika gets $100
Ryan gets $100

Go out of my way to do additional exercise at least twice a week, with exceptions when traveling or in other exceptional situations (claimed by my Madre)

I went strong for about 6 months (which is a lot better than a lot of people thought I would, including myself).

My mom gets $100

(Bonus Universe Imploding Goal!) Give at least one person $100 for failing one of my goals

The universe survives to see another year, since I paid out at least $100

Sorry Katie, You dont get the $100, but then again, if I did owe you $100 I wouldn't... and then... Well... no point on dwelling on that potentially devastating situation.

Total cost of failing at my goals: $500
Total saved: $200 (kind of)

My hard work and determination to meet my resolutions has reminded me of quote from H. J. Simpson "You tried your best and you failed miserably. The lesson is 'never try'."

Who knows, if I can afford to set new years resolutions for 2011, I guess I should aim lower :).

Merry Christmas everyone!

Friday, December 17, 2010

It's a girl! . . . We think

On December 1 we had our 20 week ultrasound scheduled.  Todd was really looking forward to this, since this was the first thing that made Jared seem real last time around.  I'm afraid that this time was a little bit of a let down since Jared, who came with us unexpectedly, was bugged by the dark in the exam room and the length of the exam.  Not to mention the fact that, after an hour of waiting to hear what the baby is, the technician told us that she couldn't really tell.  She looked and looked, but what she finally said was, "Congratulations on your girl! I think."
It's not exactly the confidence we were looking for, but I'll take it.  I assumed we were having a girl anyway.  I have visions of pink dresses and baby dolls dancing in my head this holiday season.

Speaking of holidays, one of our neighbors told us about a neighborhood in San Carlos that requires all of the homeowners to decorate for Christmas.  For our Tucson readers, this is like a miniature version of Winterhaven.  On Tuesday evening we decided to check it out.  Most of the lights were more classy and subdued than we had expected.  We went a whole block and a half before we saw any inflatable snow globes.  My favorite was the yard with the thirty foot tall Christmas tree decked out in giant ornaments.

This was just the opening if our holiday season.  Since then we have been busily attending Christmas parties, shopping, wrapping, drinking cider, fighting off colds, packing, listening to Christmas music, and reveling in the spirit of Christmas.   There has only been one damper on our celebrations of this best time of the year.  On Thursday, December 9, Todd's mom was run over by a truck while she was out jogging.  Our worries and prayers for her have been uppermost in our thoughts for the past week, but she is getting excellent care.  Her healing is progressing faster than we could have hoped, even though it is going to be a long, slow road.  We are looking forward to being back in Tucson very soon to help, and give Grandma and Grandpa Knight some grandchild therapy.

In the mean time, our holiday vacation starts tomorrow morning bright and early with a train trip to Utah.  See you soon Utah relatives and friends!  Merry Christmas, everyone!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


I should have posted this a week ago, but somehow the holidays make time go by really fast.  On November 18, Jared and I flew to Tucson for a week and a half visit to family and friends there.  Todd joined us from the 21st to the 28th.  We had a fantastic and very relaxing trip.
One of our trip highlights was meeting new baby Annie for the first time, even if she slept through pretty much everything.
 Big sister Rachel's strawberry themed third birthday party was on the 20th.  I'm really impressed that Colette pulled this off with a three week old baby.  The party was complete with a strawberry shaped cake and a homemade strawberry pinata (which Jared napped through).
With dozens of trips to the park two blocks from Grandma and Grandpa Knight's house, Jared was in little boy heaven. He took two long naps a day and slept pretty well at night.  Here is Jared at the park in a little bit of a pickle.
Not content to go around the bar to get to the other side, Jared got himself stuck in this position three times.  I rescued him twice, but the third time he figured it out on his own. He got a face full of gravel for his pains and decided to stop flinging himself over the bar.  Einstein.
We did get together with lots of our Tucson friends while we were there, but, of course, we were having too much fun to remember to take pictures.  This is too bad because Jared and Landon and Sadie were really cute together, even if Landon was sick for most of our visit.  Jared caught a little cold in Tucson, too, and developed a strange rash on his face and limbs.  We were tempted to panic, but eventually decided that since it wasn't bothering him, it shouldn't bother us, and it went away on its own in time.  I'm proud of our calm as parents.
Another trip highlight was our trip to the zoo with Grandma, Colette, Rachel, and Annie.  Tucson's zoo is just the right size for toddlers.
Jared is finally old enough to notice that the zoo has animals, so he had a great time.  Here he is noticing an elephant.
And my favorite attraction of the zoo, two cute boys!
Thanksgiving dinner was excellent, as usual when I don't have to cook.  This year it was complete with gluten free options for everything.  Since Jared wanted to spend all of his time with "Bampa," and his grandparents were only too happy to oblige, this Thanksgiving was as relaxing as we vaguely remembered Thanksgivings could be.
And for our post holiday festivities, Jared did not sit on Santa's lap.  Todd did.
Jared was happy to say hello to Santa from afar, but when it came to the prospect of sitting on his lap, we got a vice grip and a panicked, "No! No! No!"  Oh well.  At least Santa could tell us that Todd was a good boy this year.  Rachel was much more willing to sit with Santa.  She even fake smiled for the cameras.
 We had some leftover rolls, so we went to feed ducks at Lakeside Park.  Jared was a little wary of the hordes of hungry ducks,
but he loved the playground.
Grandma and Grandpa wanted to watch Jared open his presents, since we won't be there for Christmas.
Jared was better about opening the paper instead of eating it this year, but his little heart could only love one toy at a time.  Thanks for the presents, Grandma and Grandpa! Jared really loves and plays with all of them.

Thanks for a great visit Grandparents and Campbells!  Jared hasn't stopped looking around for the dog and "Nama" and "Bampa."  I'm afraid he's been horribly spoiled and now expects to be allowed to carry my watch and broom around to his heart's content, and to be read to for hours on end.  We miss you already!

Tucson was unexpectedly cold, even for November.  There were even freeze warnings several nights that we were there.  We felt a little warmer when we looked at the weather our Logan, Utah relatives were experiencing and found that they had low temperatures between -6 and -10 degrees.  As Jared would say, "Burrr-urr-urrr!"
Happy late Thanksgiving everyone!  Merry Christmas!