Halloween

Why would WhiteEyebrows be posting about Halloween in August?

Halloween is the single holiday of the year that I least enjoy.  After years as a “theater person” I concluded that Halloween was just an excuse for non-theater people to do what theater people do the other 364 days of the year – dress up, put on makeup, and scare the bejesus out of the world.

However, last weekend while we were hosting family, there were a few suggestions thrown out there for the Father/Son WhiteEyebrows/JR team to be this year for halloween.  You may register your votes/opinions:

Dr Evil and Mini Me from the film Austin Powers

Thank you to Carlton* for the suggestion of Dr. Evil and Mini Me.  We would even have our own soundrack… “Just the Two of Us”

Also – thank you to Mr Braun (who inspired this post) by commenting on my previous post and suggesting a costume that was ALSO suggested by family at this party:

Charlie Brown

Yes, Eli has a nice, round, Anderson head.  Though it’s normal size, according to the Doctor’s measurements, he really only needs a yellow shirt with the squiggle and we’re set.  The question is; what I would I go as?   Snoopy or Linus?

 

Christmas Vacation Part II

We are so freaking happy, it hurts!

For those of you who were eagerly anticipating Part II of the Christmas trip post (part 2 was implied by my calling part 1, part 1), here  you go.  It’s only been a week, so I hope I haven’t forgotten all of the details…

On Wednesday night, we took the photo that I put in Part I, right before Mike, Carrie, Ashley, and Daniel spit for the night to see Mystere.  I think we went back up to the rooms and just did puzzles and enjoyed some down time.  Of course, it took me a little precious quiet time to compose that blog, and then I’m pretty sure that Wednesday night ended with going to bed early.

Thursday brought new joys.  We decided that since we didn’t gamble we’d shop instead, though shopping seems to be more and more of a gamble these days on whether you’ll find something you’ll actually like.  I guess it’s a gamble of time rather than money – but hey – we’re on vacation and all we have is time!

We went to the Las Vegas Outlet mall where we checked out the various stores.  I had a wild moment and decided I wanted to stand in line at the Starbucks for a yummy warm caramel apple cider, but after the line had move 5 feet (it was out the door) in about 15 minutes, I decided to give up and check out the Godiva store.

Now, Godiva has retail figured out.  I went in just to see what a Godiva store was about, having never set foot in one.  They had some yummy looking chocolate dipped strawberries in the window, and I figured I’d buy a few of those.  I was immediately offered sample chocolates when I entered – not just the crappy ones, mind you – the good ones!  I stood in line waiting to order my strawberries, and the girl came and offered me a sample of their frozen milk chocolate.  She then answered a bunch of questions and had my order ready for the guy when I got to the cash register.  I was impressed.  It was even a better retail experience than the Apple store, and they did well because I ended up leaving with at least 2x the product I came in for, and at least 10x the positive feeling about their products and brand.

Anyways… back to the family time.

We looked through some stores and called our excursion good.  Baba and A2 bought some clothes for WEJr – and that’s the only thing I remember buying.  It was already starting to get cold out, and the afternoon was waning, and we were ready to bail.

Friday – New Year’s Eve – we decided to take all the kids to the Children’s Discovery Museum, which was a huge indoor play/discovery area for children.  There were lots of fun things for the kids to do and experiment with.  I was pretty impressed by it all.  We were able to entertain the kids for 3 hours while Annie and Alex were able to go to the temple.

My primary responsibility during this time was to watch their youngest, Westin, who is the cutest little guy, but a big drooler.  They had a really cool baby holder that I used most of the time to carry him around – and he was really good – but I had to aggressively position the baby drool catcher cloth so that I didn’t end up taking an unintended shower.  About 2/3 of the way through the visit, I got a little tired and Baba offered some relief.

Here's A2 with the cuite little droolin' squirt...

Takeaway: I have a long way to go before really enjoying the parent thing.  Maybe the ‘have to’ of having your own kids changes stuff – but I’m not sure I’m made of the parenting stuff quite yet.  Maybe my inner parent hasn’t yet expressed its voice.

After the Children’s museum we FINALLY made our obligatory stop to In-N-Out burger.  This isn’t such a huge thing for the Northern Utahns, but for me, it’s a religious experience.  I have to get my double double, fresh fries, and they have to be consumed ON PREMISES.  I had to fight against some pressure to take it to go, as finding seating for 15 people at In-N-Out is next to impossible, but we performed the impossible and the In-N-Out experience was a smashing success.  Tummy full.  Heart beaming with joy.

Now I might be getting my days mixed up, because I’m pretty sure that we had another trip to the shopping mall on Friday with a different group of people; Ashley and Daniel.  Yes – that’s right.  We spent Friday morning (New Year’s Eve morning) at the Outlets with them where we found the same headphones that A2 gave me for Christmas, only $50 cheaper… so we bought another set so we could return the others when we got to Texas.  (Sorry, Target)

The Apple indoctrination must begin from the youngest of ages...

As the new year approached, we played games and enjoyed dinner together (made by Me and A2, a scrumptious mexican taco bar), and then played games.  We went downstairs to the other room so we could see the fireworks at midnight, then said good night and got into bed so we could make it up for our 8am flight.

It was a great week!  Thanks to Baba and Papa for making it all possible, thanks to Carrie and Mike for coming (in spite of being 8.253 months pregnant), thanks to everyone else for braving the drive with kids in tow, and last of all – thanks to A2 for letting us take some time to see my family too.

Now – we’re back to work and back to making 2011 the best year ever!

Christmas Vacation Part 1

Our Christmas has been a bit different this year, but has been great!  A2 and I decided to come out west to see and spend time with the family!  While this is great, it isn’t exactly the quiet, home-based Christmas we enjoyed last year, with the surprise white Christmas and enjoying our first quiet Christmas married.

This year, to try to preserve a bit of our-family-ness we decided to spend Christmas eve with just us, then come join other family on Christmas day.  We went with Ben to McCormick and Schmick’s for Christmas Eve dinner.  I enjoyed a Texas redfish, Ben had the sea scallops, and A2 enjoyed plate envy as her parmesan crusted tilapia left wanting.  Other than that, it was a fantastic meal!

We went home and to bed early, setting the alarms for a 4am departure Christmas morning.  We got up and out the door by 5, with Ben taking us to catch our 6:30am flights to Vegas.  We arrived, and as we got to the rental car facility (around 8am pacific time), we passed a man who had clearly been out playing santa all night.  He had a long white beard and hair, and was wearing a red t-shirt, trousers, and boots – and clearly exhausted from being out all night.  I had to bite my tongue to not say “You’ve had a busy night, huh…” – instead I just shot him an understanding smile.

When we got to the rental parking lot, we were disappointed to find the lot empty of the car class we had pricelined for 50% off!  The attendant promised they’d have a car up soon, so we waited and along she came…

A Cadillac DTS.

This was a nice car – don’t get me wrong – but it was also a bit of a granny car.  The plusses were that it was whisper quiet on the inside (a far cry from my Civic) and just glid down the pavement.  It was a nice ride!  The minuses – too much wood glued to the dashboard, and more of a loose suspension.

We hopped on the freeway to St George and made it to my parent’s house at 11am Mountain time.  They had just finished opening up their presents and had cleaned up breakfast – only my parents and my little brother – so we gave the presents we had brought, and then went to my brother’s house to watch his girls open some presents.

Mom had made some fabric ‘quiet books’ for the younger nieces this year, and she spilled the beans that she also made one for our little bun in the oven.  We were quite thrilled.

We enjoyed a great Christmas afternoon dinner with Tio and his family, and puzzled and played games into the evening.  I was introduced to a new game called Blockus while we were there that I soon became family champ on.  Must be those ‘spatial reasoning’ skills shining through…

Monday, we did our obligatory run to Cafe Rio for lunch (yum!), then got on the road back to Vegas to meet up with A2’s family.  Her parents reserved several suites at the Wyndham a year in advance so we could all get together in the week between Christmas and New Years.  It all worked out like we planned, and everyone was able to make it in!  Hooray!

Monday night, we just stayed in, had dinner together, and caught up with everyone; enjoying the two new kids we hadn’t even met yet in the family.

Tuesday we decided to venture out.  GG and I were dead set on a visit to Hoover Dam.

It was a beautiful day, and we thought we couldn’t go wrong.  GG lived in Boulder City in the 1950’s, so she was familiar with the community and everything that went into the construction of the dam.  After a morning full of “dam” jokes, we ventured toward the dam.  The 30-45 minute drive turned into a 2:30 minute drive to the dam.  The dam traffic was horrible, the dam roads were packed, and all the dam tourists were itching (as were we) to just get there.  Good thing we had our sweet ride to enjoy the entire way there!

On the way, we lost half of our family entourage.  The ones with kids just couldn’t take the traffic and waiting, and bailed (for the better).

We finally made it to the dam, but couldn’t find parking to save our lives!  We drove all the way across the dam, then flipped a U turn and came back.  By the time we had made it back, they had reopened the parking garage for more cars.  We got in and found a great parking spot (thanks to GG’s handicap sticker).  By the time we got down the dam, all visions of going on the dam extended tour flew out the window.  We were all tired, hungry, and irritable, and yet the last thing we wanted to do was get back into that car.  So we decided to do the visitor’s center and observation deck and forego the tour.

Smart choice.

Half of the group got through security, but then *someone* had to have brought three of the prohibited items: a pocket knife, a fork, and a granola bar.  *NO DAM FOR YOU*  He had to run back to the parking lot to deposit his bag of terrorist paraphernalia so we could get to the dam visitors center.

At this point, even I, the most committed of the dam visitors, was beginning to falter.  Would I ever be able to successfully consume the dam experience?

We ran through the visitors center and then up to the overlook, got a few photos and a little info on the dam, then called it quits.  Getting back to the car we screamed in unison “get us the hell out of this dam!”

We sped back to Boulder City where we enjoyed a visit to the A&W drive in, with the freshly brewed root beer on tap.  YUMMMMM!  Best part of the day, bar none!

On our way back to Vegas we got to try out the handling on the DTS as well.  As we sped through traffic, a pink super-jeep stopped on a dime in front of us, and I had to quickly respond by merging into the other lane.  Though we all wet our pants, we made it out alive.

Today (Wednesday) we re-tried doing something together as a family; we loaded up the cars and went to the Mandalay Bay’s Shark exhibit.  This time we were successful!  We all enjoyed the aquarium, in spite of a few meltdowns along the way.  It was similar to the Dallas Aquarium (though a bit smaller).  Proving you always meet someone from St George when you’re in Vegas, I ran into the Reids from my parent’s neighborhood in the exhibit.  (I can’t go anywhere in these western United States!)

After the promised trip to McDonalds was complete and the incapable front-of-house staff at McDonalds had messed up our simple order, we came back to the resort and took it easy for a few hours.  I’ve been playing chauffer to those who wanted to go to The Strip or run an errand, but other than that we’ve been just doing a puzzle and staring at each other.

Three more days of vacation bliss to go!

I’d Like to Thank…

Well, another Thanksgiving has come and gone.  This year we hosted most of my family here in Texas, and the weekend turned out really nice!  We really missed my sister and her family who were in Washington DC doing classified stuff, but we tried to have as much fun as possible without them.

Since my aunt took care of most of the Thanksgiving dinner, I was able to spend a little more time baking and doing other meals.  I made another Triple Chocolate Mousse cake for thanksgiving dessert, and also baked a homemade Red Velvet cake for Ben’s birthday celebration on Friday.

We had a traditional thanksgiving dinner with Turkey and heidi’s YUMMY stuffing!  Oh soooo good!  We also were able to squeeze in the obligatory trip to Steak and Shake for my Mom.  It’s her new favorite joint, and she’s excited that one will be opening soon in Vegas.

Mom brought the first “batch” of baby stuff, and we made a trip to Joann’s to pick out a quilt panel with her.  She is just too excited about this stuff, and I say bring it on!  I love having the hand made stuff.  And I have a slight feeling with a couple of very craft grandmas and aunts, we’re going to have plenty of it.

Sorry.  No pics of that stuff yet.  I’ll get A2 on that, stat!

Now its back to work.  Ugh.

Christmas Recap

It’s the day after the big day.  How are you holding up?  How was your Christmas?

Ours was very nice.  Life is good at the WhiteEyebrows household.  We enjoyed a fun, low key Christmas together.  We opened some gifts, ate breakfast, enjoyed some time with FavUnc and family, and TXT messaged pretty much everyone in the world.

The “Christmas Miracle” this year, though, actually happened on Christmas Eve when a huge storm rolled through the area, dumping what felt  like a lot of snow.  So much snow, in fact, that it actually stuck to the ground!  We had a very white, stormy Christmas Eve and we had a white Christmas morning, even if it only lasted a until about 10:30.

Ho Ho Ho!

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iPhone doesn’t take great low-light photos, but you can barely make out the blanket of white on the grass!

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Here’s what was left on the bushes on Christmas morning!

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It’s not all melted yet, but it’s going fast!!!

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This requires no explanation.  (Merry Christmas, Tio)

Evening Song

My wife and I sing as part of a community choir called Evening Song.

This year we put out a new Christmas album titled “Carol Me Sweetly”.

(Coincidentally, we recorded it in the same recording studio that Vanilla Ice used with his 1990’s hit, “Ice Ice Baby”.)

Here is a sample of a song that both my wife and I sang in:

Get the Flash Player to see this content.

CDs are available through the EveningSong.com website.

Halloween and The World Series

Last night, we enjoyed sitting on the couch, watching game 3 of the world series, and handing out candy to the local children.

Did we decorate our house?  No.

Did we dress up?  No.

Did we have to give away some of the good candy?  Yes. (But I saved most of the Kit Kats)

Did we have any teenagers come and take candy by the handfuls and put it in their pillowcase?  No.

We turned off the light at 9:15, watched the game through the top of the 6th inning, and went to bed.  (Without setting our clocks back, nor informing the sun to not come and wake us up as if it were Standard Time, rather than daylight savings time.  But I won’t complain about that, since the extra hour has allowed to me to catch up on blogs and write this blog.)

I hate baseball.

I know hate is a strong word, but I really don’t like it a lot.  It’s SOOO long and boring.  Moreover, it is NASTY!  Does everyone in Baseball have some kind of mouth problem where they have to spit every five seconds?  Especially when the camera is on them?  I realize this is from a long history of chewing tobacco, but even those who don’t chew anymore still find necessary to spit every few seconds.

Spitting in high def is extra nasty, too.  And so are the nose hairs hanging out of the team manager’s nose that you can also see in high def.  I’m now starting a campaign to revert MLB to standard def coverage.  If you would like to join me on this, please enter your credentials in the comments area.