Saturday, December 13, 2008

O' Tannenbaum!

The kids were very excited to put up the tree this year. It is so fun that they now look forward to some of the Christmas traditions. We played Christmas music and danced a little while we opened boxes and rediscovered old decorations. We had a great time just putting the decorations up and trying to figure out where to put them all. The kids loved finding their old hand-made decorations and always made sure to put them in a very special place on the tree. Troy was a little confused about why a new-found shiny ball would shatter after throwing it on the ground. He just stood there for a while with a little frown and his big blue eyes looking up at us like they were trying to understand what just happened. I think the broken ball hurt his feelings. He's so tender-hearted. I had to run out and buy another star for the top since my star's lights refused to light up. You can't have a dark star!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Nice post honey! If any of you understood that you are very smart and have an intricate understanding of brain stuff. As you can see, I don't. Anyway, it really was fun just to get away and enjoy some time with my man. He's so smart (but I can still beat him at Scrabble)!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Our Hot Date - A Look Into Rachel's Head

For some time now (okay, a very long time) I have been working on my Master's Degree at UNLV. My research is focused on the brain's response to Olfaction (smell). I would tell Rachel about it and she would understand very little. The more we talk the more she "gets it" and thinks it is actually pretty neat. Well, a couple weeks ago we had a chance to get out for the evening (thanks to Sister Bevel for offering to watch the kiddies). There was still some work I had to get done, so I actually took Rachel out with me to get her brain scanned on our 3T MR scanner. We did a Diffusion Tensor Image (DTI) and also an olfactory response. This is a picture of her Rt and Lt DTI of the white matter tracts originating at the corpus callosum. I didn't have a chance to process the Olfactory response images yet, but I can post those some other day. We had a good time and it was very inexpensive. I'll take you out "for reals" , real soon honey. I love you and thanks for stickin' with me.

Left lateral view of her fiber tracts

Right lateral view of her fiber tracts
Aren't they beautiful?
If anyone wants to have their brain scanned, please let me know. We are always looking for volunteers. It is usually late at night, you need to be at least 18 years of age, and we image at NV Imaging Centers (NIC) in the Southwest part of Las Vegas.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Thanks Be...

Troy Boy trying to play a little ball with the big boys.

Jeremy is in the yellow Brazil jersey, it turns out that there were a lot of Brazilians and Brazil fans there, and Ryan is in the orange and blue shirt. GOOOLLLL! (That's Portuguese for goal, just so ya know).

Sam and Leah trying to get in on the action.

While waiting for the food to be done, the kids decided to turn Grandma's bathroom into a beauty parlor. They invited people in to get their hair done. Shaunie made a sign that said it was only "$1 or Free" and when you left you got a tootsie roll. I must say that everyone had wonderful hair for Thanksgiving.

We had a delightful day of family, food and soccer for Thanksgiving. Umm, yes, I said soccer. It turns out that our friends like soccer more than football. We started the day very early when Kristin and Ryan came to stay Wednesday night and got here around 11:30pm. We stayed up talking about lots of good stuff and didn't get to bed until around 1 or 2am. I loved spending the time with them and I loved the political talk (thanks Ryan). We got up around 7 and I did everything I could to keep the kids from jumping on a very sleepy Ryan and Kristin. Finally, Kristin got up, no doubt woken up by my kids' very loud "whispers" and overall silliness. Ryan soon followed and then the party really started. We ate breakfast, it was one of the few times that we had pancakes for breakfast, and then we headed over to a soccer game with some ward members and friends at the high school down the street. I got some great action shots as you can see. We came home for a quick shower and then gathered everyone and everything in Jeremy's new-to-you Pacifica and headed over to Grandma's House. It was not over the river and through the woods, but it was sufficiently exciting regardless. We hung around for a while and then I started cooking. I made the deviled eggs, sweet potatoes, rolls and taught Teri how to season a turkey. By the way, the turkey turned out DIVINE! I could have eaten half the turkey by myself!. Anyway, we ate a late dinner to make sure everyone who worked could be there for the feast. I must say that the food was delicious and the company very delightful, but my favorite part of the day was the rain. It poured on us and I was very grateful. It turns out that it CAN rain in Vegas. Thanks.

Tastefully Simple Party

I am inviting everyone to come to my house for a Tastefully Simple Party on Wednesday, December 10th from 6:00pm to 8:00ish. Tastefully Simple sells amazingly yummy gourmet appetizers, desserts, breads, spreads, soups, etc. They are delicious and perfect for any special occasion. Come hungry and taste all these yummy treats and if you want, order some for your family and friends. Don't feel bad if you come late, we'll save some for you. If you can't attend but want to buy something you can go online at and order something from my party there. I suggest the key lime cheese ball with graham twists or beer bread!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Sam's Feast!

It's kindergarton tradition. The kids get a big feast on the day before Thanksgiving. The kids made these really cool hats. Some kids were Indians and some were pilgrims. Sam only wore his hat for the picture and was too embarrassed to actually wear it while eating. He enjoyed himself and it was lots of fun.

More Awards!

The end of the trimester means award time for the elementary school. We went and saw both Shaunie and Sam get their awards at school at a Monday morning assembly. The kindergartners got awards for being good students and the older grades were awarded for their perfect attendance, excellent citizenship and the A honor roll. Shaunie got all three awards and Sam got the Kindergarten one. Here are pictures of them receiving their awards from their Assistant Principal. It was good and the kids appreciated the recognition. I am proud of my great students.

Leah was a little bored with the whole award thing so she decided to play with Troy. She put these glasses on him and snapped the picture herself. Maybe she is our budding photographer?


This praying mantis looks like he was taking a break from Kung Fu Panda and showing some moves to my kids and the neighborhood kids. He was actually a very frightened mantis who was ready to fight the kids because they had closed in on him for their bug collection. Shaunie has been collecting bugs, spiders and worms for her 10 gallon glass aquarium that she keeps outside. This poor guy had tried to avoid capture but the kids were too fast. Good thing Mom came to the rescue and sent them away. He held this pose for about 5 minutes after the kids had left him alone. Poor guy. I want to keep lots of mantis' in the garden and around the home because they eat other less-desirable bugs and they are dang cool.

Superman in his 'Jammies

Here is Sam waiting line with his class watching the kid's get their awards. It was pajama day at school and he was very excited to wear these.

Great Writers

This is my beautiful Shaunie. She won the award for Writing at her school. Her teacher chose her out of all the class to be recognized for her great writing abilities. I was very proud of her. She is such a great student and I am so happy that she loves to express herself through writing and words. Could she get any cuter!!?

Here she is with her principal and the other winners of the award in the 2nd grade. She's the cutest!
Once again, I don't know why this turns the picture. We got a Walmart ad in the mail and Sam was inspired to write a letter to Santa. Here is his Christmas Wish List. I hope you can read it, and I hope some of them change.

Bright Lights

These pictures are from a fun Family Night at the Festival of Lights here at Sunset Park. Each year their are millions of lights on display at the park and you can drive through and see them in the warmth of your car. We heard that on the opening night they were letting people go through for free so we called Jeremy's family and met everyone out there. It was a lot of fun. They gave away little bells and reindeer hats and we rode through with the van doors open (it was pretty warm outside). The kids loved the lights and they loved it even more when we stopped at a playground in the middle of the park and let them play with their cousins for a while. The pictures are a bit dark because they were taken from Jeremy's phone camera, but they let you get the idea. After playing for a while we headed over to Jeremy's parents house and had ice cream and brownies. It was a great little family get-together and it helped us get into the holiday spirit.

These cute little pictures were taken by the camera on my phone at McDonald's. Troy is discovering ketchup. I just thought they were cute. After a RS meeting we decided to go to McDonald's for lunch. Thanks to my friends who don't mind going to McD's for lunch so that I can take my kids.

Basketball Star!

Shaunie's basketball "season" has ended and we are very glad that she had so much fun and was able to learn a lot. It started out being a little more social than serious but she ended up getting into it by the end. She was going after the ball and running up and down the court with much more enthusiasm by the end. She even got to shoot the ball a couple times in the final game. Overall, it was a lot of fun and I think she loves basketball and understands a lot more about it than she did before. Way to go Shaunie!

The Circus is in Town

These are pictures of the amazing circus we had in our driveway. Shaunie, along with our neighbor's kids, really have a knack for organizing things. Most of the time they do bake sales or lemonade stands, but now they have really moved on to the big time...or should I say "Big Top" stuff. They planned a circus! It was complete with prizes, games, side shows, rides and as you can see below plenty of neighbor kids. Their advertising consisted of signs on bikes and the riders going up and down our and the neighboring streets yelling out "Circus! Circus! Come to the Circus! Only 10 cents!" They also went to a lot of doors took their advertising to the next step. Here are the pictures to see how grand of an event it really was.
I don't understand how these photos come out sidways, but here is an example of the advertising. The sign says "CIRCUS" then our address and then "10 cents" The 10 is actually torn off because they ended up raising their prices.

This sign was on our driveway, written in chalk. Troy was the side show but he ended up being a no-show because he had to take a nap.

These are examples of the games the kids could play. They even had bikes to ride (of varing sizes) if you wanted to ride instead of play. They had to pay to play but they had lots of choices, and if they won they got to pick a prize. As you can see, the kids had a great turn out. Thanks to the parents who let their kids come over so early on a Saturday morning for great games and prizes.

My award...

It was a Wednesday night and I was tired and very ready to submit myself to my bed and my TV remote. Suddenly, the doorbell rings and when I open the door a group of beautiful Young Women greeted me and handed me this award (it also came with a couple miniature candy bars...nice!). The girls were so sweet and it was the perfect little pick-me-up to make my day end on a positive note. Thank you to the Beehives and their leaders for the little award. It was really appreciated.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Livin' Life

This is Troy's new obsession. If you know anything about Troy, you know that he is obsessed with animals. If he keeps this up he will definitely become a Veterinarian, Marine Biologist or Zoo Keeper. When he first wakes up he points (leads you by pointing) you to the kid's bathroom where the fishbowl sits. He will just sit in the red chair and talk, laugh, point to the fish for hours at a time. He gets mad when you pull him away to eat or change his bum. I am glad he likes animals but sometimes I wonder if he is taking it too far ;).

Here is just one of the many creations by Sam. He loves building and I thought I would show this picture. I am sure he took this picture by himself, too. He likes recording his creations.

This is a common site in our house. Besides sitting on the red chair in the bathroom watching the fish, Troy loves to bounce, fall, roll and romp around on Sam's bed. Good thing we have this rail put up, or this place would be off-limits. In this picture, Leah and Sam decided to get in on the action. Troy loves to play with them.


Here is our little garden gnome. He was woken up from a nap after a very busy day of decorating cookies at Aunt Shannon's house so he was a little groggy. He was a great gnome, though.
We always go to grandmas house to go trick-0r-treating. Here they are in what was left of their costumes. They had fun going with Grandma to visit the scary house on her street. They got a big candy bar. Well, they all went except Sam. He decided he didn't want to. He stayed back and ate candy and kicked his shoes off.

Here we all are at our tri-ward trunk-or-treat. We didn't decorate our trunk but that's okay. The kids got lots of candy and we had lots of fun. Halloween is always so much fun!

Pumpkin Patch

Here is Shaunie driving her car and I don't really know why she has her binoculars on the swing ride. I should ask her what she saw.

Here is Troy with the animals and after he was with the animals. He cried for a very long time.

Here are Sam and Leah. They were a little more timid with the animals. Sam was a race car driver and totally had all the moves. Too bad he was connected to the ride.

Here is one of the best family pictures we could get of them. They are like herding mice! Here is another picture of Troy with the goats.

Here is Sam in the swing ride. I loved his smile. Here is Leah getting a little help on the game. Good thing, she could barely lift the hammer.

We went to the pumpkin Patch at Sunset Station. It has become an October Tradition. There are fun carnival games, rides, a petting zoo and just a bunch of pumpkins everywhere. The kids had fun on their rides and Troy had even more fun with the animals in the petting zoo. He ran around to all the animals but would stop just before he reached them, then he would put his had up to touch them but would usually get too excited to actually make contact. It was really fun to watch. He would've stayed in there all night and was very upset when we left. You can see him crying in the picture above. He never really got over leaving, either. We had lots of fun and ended our night by going to Walmart to buy treats (carnival treats are just too expensive, plus we had a few things to pick up). We loved our little family night out.