Thursday, August 27, 2015

Hello? Is this thing still on?

Just wondering if anyone actually looks at this, anymore.  We haven't blogged since the day we discovered Instagram.  Just makes it sooooo much easier, ya know?  Anyway, here is the last picture that was taken on my phone.  I didn't take it, I think my kids did.  Enjoy!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Abbey's Piano Recital

Admittedly, I have been dreading this day for quite awhile.  Today was Abbey's first piano recital.  Its not that I wasn't excited for her (I was), or that I can't stand to listen to piano (I actually enjoy the songs she plays)... its just that I didn't want to have to sit and listen to anyone ELSE'S children play piano.  Much to my surprise, I found that I really enjoyed the whole thing.  The recital was downtown in an area where the older homes are being restored.  This particular home has been transformed into an art center.  There are paintings and sculptures throughout the house.  It was really awesome.  About half of the performances were Christmas songs, and I actually really liked all the arrangements, etc.  The whole thing lasted about an hour, and afterward, we had delicious eclairs (which may explain much of the good vibes I had about the afternoon).

Yeah, this house makes an awesome art center, but wouldn't it make an even BETTER haunted house?

Here is Abbey introducing herself and her piece.  It was funny to see her get a little nervous (whoa!  I just noticed the statue in the background.  Nothing brightens up a piano recital like some racy graven images, eh?) 

Action Shot

Afterward... all smiles!

Grrr... I forgot to start recording her until halfway through her performance.  I had my phone on my lap, ready to go - but maybe I was the nervous one.  I did catch some of her first song and then the second song she played with just one hand.  On a related topic, does anyone know how to upload video to this blog and retain the video quality? 

Great job, Abbey!  We are proud of you.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Birthday Abbey

You've come a long way, baby!  We love you!!!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Safety Check

Can you spot the danger in this picture?

If you think you know what it is, please speak up.  Leave a comment with your observed safety infraction.

After 9 days, we still have not received a correct response.  The answer I was looking for was: Puddle of water at home plateSorry, nobody wins the prize.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Things Big and Scary

Halloween may have been weeks ago, but I am going to attempt to re-create the mood today by showcasing some of our 'scary' encounters in nature this fall.  First off, check out this wasp/hornet's nest we came across recently:

That thing is hanging about 15 feet in the air and is just bigger than a basketball.  Yikes!

 This little guy was hiding out next to my neighbor's garbage can the other day.  That is my foot in the bottom-right of the picture.  Just for some perspective, I wear a size 14 shoe and that is one of those big boxes they put apples and such in.

I actually like spiders, and I think it is cool that we live in the far northern edge of a tarantula's range.  They are most active (and likely to be seen) in September/October when the males go all nomadic in search of a mate.  Hey, you can't fault a guy for that - so, we only kept him in the box long enough to take a picture, then set him loose in the foothills above my house.

This below, my friends, is a photograph taken while Emily and I were attending our second annual Bigfoot Show (yes, you read that correctly).  The sculpture behind Emily is allegedly a life-sized creation of a Sasquatch.  I really enjoyed the show, but I remain unconvinced that a large hominid roams the wilderness undetected.  However, I REALLY wished I would have taken a picture of the Bigfoot feces that was on display at the show.  The finder of said feces claims that it was found about 5 miles from my house.   Ooooooohhhh!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Some Stuff We Did This Fall...

We spent a weekend at my buddy's cabin:

We bought bicycles this summer, and have really used them quite a bit:

These probably aren't the best photos of how the bikes were used, but you get the idea.

This is one of our favorite biking trails.  We went up there one day without the bikes, but with a camera:

We went to Lagoon for Frightmares.  This dumb ride is older than I am.  Somewhere, there is a photo of me in that same spot when I was about 4 years old.

Oh, yeah.  We also saw this Bald Eagle (look close).

Fall seems to have gone by really fast this year.  Snow is already starting to fall here.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

What My Kids Wore for Halloween 2011

OK.  You've asked, and I am here to please.  Without further ado, I present to you evidence that I am still alive and well in cyberspace and that yet another year of Trick-or-Treating as happened:

Now, let me see if I've got the costumes right.  Mylie was a fairy, Garrett was Mickey Mouse (he wasn't happy about it in this picture, but he grew to love it), and Abbey was a ... prep-school plaid-pink wearing witch, I guess?

Friday, June 17, 2011

Beard Ballot 2011

My beard, which was born at scout camp, is nearing its 2-week birthday on Sunday.  It has been itching me like crazy, and I came home from work tonight determined that it must go.  However, I'm beginning to feel a sort of closeness to it.  I need your help.  Please use the comments section to vote 'yeah' or 'nay' to my keeping the beard.  Your help is much appreciated...

Yeah, that's quite a bit of gray you see in there.

Abbey asked me to grow it as long as Santa's Beard.  She probably assumes that since I already possess his round physique, my transformation to Old St. Nick will be sure to follow.  Little does she know that saying this is only HURTING her chances at Christmas time.

She actually asked me to either "Grow it as long as Santa's... or just grow a mustache".  Yikes.  I'm beginning to seriously wonder what kind of guy she will end up marrying.  She one time told us how she thinks Mario (yeah, the Nintendo guy) is very handsome.

There has been a noticeable decrease in the number of hugs and kisses I receive from Mylie.

My vote is 'Nay', but we can let the voters decide...

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Foxy Ladies

I'm lucky to have a great commute.  It takes about 15-20 minutes of my day and it is a nice time to relax and enjoy the views of the mountains, etc.  I pride myself on the fact that I don't text and drive.  Don't get me wrong, I think texting is fine and all (albeit a bit overused) - I just think there is a time and place.  I'm so glad that I use my morning and evening commute to simply drive.  I listen to the radio and I'm always on the lookout for anything interesting.  Every day, I drive by a farm in North Ogden, where I spot deer frequently.  Tuesday, I saw something a bit different in the field.  The hay had recently been cut, and I spotted an animal perched on the far side.  At first, I drove by and simply wondered what I saw.  Then, it was killing me.  The more I thought about it, the more I thought I saw a coyote.  I flipped around and parked my truck next to the field.  I keep a pair of binoculars in my pickup, so I grabbed them and jumped in the bed of the truck for a better look.  There saw a beautiful red fox, staring at something intently.  Excitedly, I went home and grabbed Emily and the kids and we returned with our camera.  Things got even better when I realized what mommy fox was staring at:  She had a den nearby, with at least 3 pups (aka kits) playing about.  I was able to snag a few precious photos:

Meanwhile, the mom watched me carefully.  Eventually, I made her nervous, and she let out a VERY loud bark, and disappeared into the trees.  I didn't get a great shot of her, but she is beatiful, I tell you.  She is very blonde, for a red fox.  That is likely why I mistook her for a coyote originally.

Update:  The foxes were there again this morning.  I sure hope they stick around.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Zion Adventure 2011

Below are a few photos from my latest adventure.  Last week, I led a group of Varsity and Explorer Scouts on a 5-day High Adventure in Zion National Park.  From the moment I became involved in Scouting, I knew I wanted to visit Zion as a high adventure activity.  Zion has been my favorite place to visit, since I began trekking there about 15 years ago.  This year's agenda was altered considerably due to the severe flooding, but we still managed to have a great time.  Most of all, it was adventurous.

I wish pictures could ever do this place justice.  I like this picture, but it is impossible to truly capture the moment.

Displaying the fine art of the Cannonball

This is what happens when you go with teenage boys.  They hunt EVERYTHING.

This is what happens when you go with adult men who think 'they've still got it'.

This is what happens when a Dutch tourist falls 20-feet.  This was seriously no laughing matter.  We came across this guy, and he really needed our help.  That isn't a beard you see on his face - its blood, bubbling out of his mouth.  He was missing teeth, had a serious head wound, broken bones in his legs, in need of stitches around his knees, and couldn't remember anything in the past few weeks (including coming to America and taking this fall).  Three of us, myself included, joined the Search and Rescue squad, and spent the better part of 3 hours assisting his rescue. 

We were about a mile up Hidden Canyon, which is fairly remote and hard to get to.  Fortunately for Martin (the 'Flying Dutchman'), we had a medical professional with us.  Phil Burnett (in white above), was a true superstar and possibly saved Martin's life.

We eventually got Martin in a transport sled to keep him safe for the rugged trip out of Hidden Canyon.  I was astounded when we offered help to the rescuers, and they willingly accepted.  "We need all the help we can get", they replied.  A few minutes later, I was carrying Martin like a Pall Bearer, only over large boulders, and across tiny ledges.  The operation was very military-like, in that there was a squad leader, and we would yell commands like "copy that" while en route.

We took turns hauling the sled and a bunch of gear down the mountain to a place where a helicopter could reach him.  We would carry him until we tired out, then would 'bump' out of the sled and let someone else take over.  This was exhausting.  The big pack you see in the forefront weighs upwards of 50 pounds.

Zion Search and Rescue told us this was the most difficult rescue they had performed in over 18 months.  The terrain was rugged, and once we carried Martin out of the canyon, we had to get him up the mountain to a point where he could be airlifted.

After over an hour of work, we finally got him to an open spot up on one of Zion's cliffs, where the helicopter could reach him.  What you don't see in this picture are the 1,000 foot cliffs on either side of this flat spot.

We hurried down the mountain to watch the airlift.

It was truly miraculous that we were able to get him safely onto this point (upper-right, above).  In another life, I want to be a Search and Rescue professional.  They are true heroes.

Best of luck, Martin.  I hope he could at least enjoy the view.

Besides saving lives, we did some serious hiking.

My sheer size, and tolerance of cold water sure came in handy.

Here I am leading the boys under a small waterfall.

I thought these things were extinct???

These waterfalls were our trail.

In order for the boys to maintain thinking I am cool, I never let on that I have a paralyzing fear of snakes.  I lied and told them how cool I thought this was.

I love Zion.

Slot canyons are so cool, and I believe the perfect activity for a high adventure.  To get to this point, we had to trek across the desert, wade up a river, climb up a 25-foot cliff, and swim through ice-cold water.  It was well worth the journey.

The Subway.

You can see how it got its name, right?

Serious Hiking.  I loved every minute of it.