Hughes Family: February 2015

February came and went in much the same way it always does… begging for more time, making desperate promises- that kind of thing.

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We were so American this year. We hunkered down and watched the Super Bowl in all of its ballesque glory. Mike is a mega-football fan and rooted enthusiastically for the Seahawks so we rooted along with him (“Just… stop talking! Be quiet!” he told us multiple times). A good solid game.

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Every since we went to Nickle City Gabe has been talking about the Transformers game they have there. I decided we should go back and see if we could finish it off. By the time we were done Gabe’s could barely lift his arm and we were $10 deep but we polished it off. Then I showed Gabe who was boss with a game of air hockey. And of course he won some tickets and bought crap. Love this little guy.

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We went to Walmart to get Chloe a real bike (to replace one of those scooter-bike hybrid abominations). Chloe is so particular about what she wants. After carefully going through all the bikes (including test drives) she selected one with the Eiffel tower on it (how fitting).

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Fran and I took a trip to the Hale Center Theater to see “Barefoot in the Park.” It’s always fun to get a little culture at a live play. I really enjoy live performances because there are no cuts- it’s like a movie with very long takes. Actually it’s better than a movie- there’s a heightened intensity and additional skill required when there are no second chances. Maybe it’s time to get season passes.

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For Valentine’s Day we did something a little different this year: Ramen! We made a bunch of different variation and even whipped up some scallops for good measure. We finished off our meal with some chocolate dipped strawberries and sparkling cider.

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What would winter be without snowmobiling (quieter?). This year we headed out toward Heber to a little place called The Aspen Moose (it’s located in a  gated community called Timber Lakes). Overall it’s a nice place to stay for a few days, but the Daniel’s Summit lodge is much nicer. Snowmobiling trails are comparable although I liked the Timber Lakes trails a bit more as it was easier to ride through trees and the landscape was more varied. 

Marble Run Fun

The other day Gabe made me an awesome little cardboard house (below, left). He told me it was for marbles and proceeded to roll one inside. I asked him if we could build an even bigger marble run around the house and he eagerly agreed.

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We created the runs using regular 8 x 11 sheets of paper. It’s pretty simple. Just cut the  paper into fourths (long ways). Fold a section in half (you can use tape to keep the edges together) and then fold the edges up on both sides (make sure your run is wide enough to accommodate your marble).

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Decide where you need turns and cut out triangles in your run. When the cut out sections are folded and taped together they will create the angles (adjust as needed by cutting out more or less triangles). Add runs as desired and tape your new run under your old runs. You can use the same sections of paper to create structural supports. Always make sure your marble runs angle down enough to maintain momentum.

Here’s what we ended up with:

Not too bad! Maybe one day we’ll build something a little more aggressive.

Hughes Family: January 2015

January was a blur. There’s no other way to describe it. I feel like we did a ton of stuff, but the photographic evidence doesn’t seem to support the claim. Maybe the best thing to do is just pretend it was a relaxing month. January was like a slow motion massage.

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What better way to start off the 2015 than with a little skiing? Fran, Catherine, Randall and the kids (most of them) hit Sundance for a day of snow and fun. One of these days I’m going to go skiing again. Green diamonds all the way.

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The beginning of the year is the perfect time to make poorly thought out resolutions. “Be healthy” Vague and yet impossibly difficult. Lots of veggies and lean meats? Check. Good thing these kind of resolutions only last a couple of weeks!

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Gabe is playing basketball again! We put in a quarter court (is that a thing?) in our side yard and he and Mike play all the time. I actually played a quick game against both of them. I am really out of shape, but I crushed them. Keep practicing kids!

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Per French tradition Francoise made “la galette des rois” (the cake of the kings). In addition to being delicious there is a hidden treasure in the cake. Whoever finds it while eating is the king! This year I was the lucky guy so I got to wear this sweet crown.

 

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How is this even possible? I swept up an amazing pile of trash. And then a few days later I swept up another pile. Our kids just seem to dump trash and food on the floor wherever they go. This isn’t “haha” funny to me either.  I feel like it denotes a serious lack of respect and consideration. What can I do? I know… just keep sweeping.

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Even taking into account their messes I feel like I have wonderful kids. I spent some time with Gabe playing on the SNES and working on a few projects- he’s quite the little builder. Chloe is enrolled in dance class and loves it. Claire is turning into quite the little chef and can make cookies completely on her own. Mike is an adept strategist and it’s fun to play games like Pandemic with him. Yes, the rewards of parenthood often outstrip the costs.

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We’re working on landscaping! The HOA here in Ivory Ridge has been fantastic. They have completely ignored everything we have asked and our repeated submissions. I don’t understand why the HOA hasn’t been turned over to the community or why no one who actually lives in Ivory Ridge is part of any decision making process. We are just plunging ahead. I don’t see why they wouldn’t approve our beautification efforts but nothing surprises me anymore.

As I said, the visual documentation of what I experienced in January is lacking. Perhaps that’s due in part to being gone for a few days at the SHOT show. Perhaps I need to take more pictures. Or perhaps my brain just makes stuff up to hurt me.

 

Hughes Family: December 2014

Another year draws to a close. As as the old year goes out, gasping for life, it throws one last month-long party. As always I thought “Oh, surely things can’t get any busier than last month!” Wrong as always. It’s a running joke with no punchline. Here are a few highlights from December, my nemesis.

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Another birthday! This seems to be a recurring problem. Wake up! Here’s a blue birthday. Donuts at school. Presents from the grandparents. And then a trip to Texas Roadhouse (what is it with this family and steak?)  along with a  few more gifts. What do you get the boy who has everything? Cash. Cold hard cash. For games. But not cold hard games (digital goods- what a scam).  A nice birthday, but we weren’t quite done.

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A few days later we took Mike and some of his friends to play Laser Tag at Jack and Jill’s.  After the lasering and tagging we had pizza, cake and presents. Spoiled enough? Since these collages are getting much more “advanced” I have upped the resolution on some of them (like this one… but unfortunately not the next one).

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Behold the yearly graham cracker “gingerbread” houses. I crammed a lot of magic into this shot. Just like real life that day- lots of magic. Or maybe it was yelling… sometimes I get them confused. And this year one round of houses wasn’t enough. So…

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…we did it again! We had Fran’s sister and her daughter over for more faux-gingerbread house-making. This time I opted to make the houses in advance instead of letting the kids “help” (note the horrific mess in the last picture and compare it to the relative organization in this picture). Next year I hope we’ll try and make three houses each.

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The Hobbit: Battle of the Third Movie courtesy of Blade HQ, Megaplex Theaters, Zupas and Peter Jackson. I love our yearly work movie. Next year: Star Wars: The Force Awakens. I will camp out to get tickets if I have to. People are going to get jobs at Blade HQ just to watch that movie.

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Ever heard of Cup Bop? Korean BBQ. They came and catered a work lunch for us (BHQ BBQ). I thought it was fantastic food and now I feel like some kind of weird stalker because I’m willing to drive for miles and miles to get their delicious Cup Bop cups. Last time I went  I dragged along Claire and Mike. They were not mighty fans of Cup Bop. I wept a little. Next time I will go alone. Shhh…just eat.

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We did Sub for Santa this year (to offset our selfishness). We got our family sort of last-minute and spent part of Saturday afternoon before Christmas shopping at Target (oh… wow… busy!). The kids got somewhat involved and I think by the end we were all feeling pretty good. Chloe, Claire and I wrapped most of the presents. Later as were dropping off the gifts the kids got into a fight. I may have yelled something like “Do you even know what the hell we’re doing here?!” It was a bad parenting moment. I was trying to force my kids to feel the spirit of Christmas and I was angry at them that it wasn’t working. Really I have myself to blame. I don’t know if our act of “service” will count, but hopefully some of our good intentions made it out alive.

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Christmas Even dinner with Fran’s Family. Delightful as always. As everyone knows I love to have parties / dinners/ events at out house so that’s where we did it this year. To be fair Fran’s extended family is pretty wonderful.

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Here is a picture for the ladies! Les bûches de Noël (Yule Logs for the English speakers).  The origin involves a King named Pierre. One day he decided to eat a log. He liked it so much he made a rule that everyone would eat logs for the holidays. Eventually a clever baker made a cake that looked like a log. People rejoiced and have eaten log-shaped cakes ever since.

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Christmas Day. It snowed during the night which was a treat (white Christmas – check). The family managed to pry me out of bed by 9:30 am which might be a new record. We had our traditional hot chocolate and croissants and then it was time for gifts.

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I’m not sure if everyone got what they wanted, but supposedly it’s the thought that counts. Sometimes I feel like we are too preoccupied with what we are getting as opposed to what we are giving or even what we  already have. I think we were able to keep things fairly simple this year (the presents here are from my parents and sister too) and we tried to incorporate serving others which is a step in the right direction. Merry Christmas!

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Christmas Dinner with my family. We had amazing prime rib and appetizers courtesy of my mother. And we had amazing green bean casserole courtesy of my Grandma. It was a pretty amazing feast (Did I mention it was amazing?). Afterwards the kids opened presents from my Dad’s sister. I have never seen a family have so much fun with balloons. Ever.

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We really didn’t want to have a party this year- there was just too much going on and the house was (is) still getting moved into. We did get together with the Browns (and Browns) for dinner. Then they followed us home for some small talk and a few games until the new year hit.

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Snow means sledding. I missed out on this one. It looks like they’re sledding on a trail. Is that allowed?

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But sledding on a hill (or trail) just doesn’t cut it anymore. Eventually you upgrade to being pulled on a sled by an ATV. Good times with the Ercanbracks! I missed out on this one too. A plot, perhaps.

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Determined not to be left out of the next round of sledding I decided I would need to make my own hill. The whole family gathered snow from the driveway, poured it in bins and hauled it to the backyard We made a small ramp feeding into a snow covered decent inside our trampoline pit. If you were brave enough to take the ride a concrete wall rewarded you at the base of the pit (no one got hurt). Not a bad way to spend an afternoon!

And then, like a flash, it was 2015…

Hughes Family: November 2014

I always feel like November goes in like a lamb and comes out like a lion. At work we have a lot of holiday preparation to take care of and things go crazy right after Thanksgiving (and they don’t let up for a solid month). Lots of family events and activities create an even tighter time crunch. But we love it, right?

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We started off the month with a Thanksgiving feast. We hosted Fran’s side of the family in the wee days of November and had a dinner fit for a king. A good time was had by most.  Party number one- check. Tip: You can fit twenty five people into a room meant for six.

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We recently acquired more warehouse space in the building where we currently operate BHQ. This allowed us to consolidate some of our assets and we decided to turn our detached warehouses back over to the landlord. Since we had some of our personal effects in these warehouses we moved them into our new home. We had almost no storage space in our last house so this was super exciting for me (I like having things together). Randall and Catherine showed up with a mega trailer and  many of our friends came by to help and we made short work of the move. Thank you guys! Couldn’t have done it without you. Tip: Nothing builds character faster than hauling giant metal shelves down stairs.

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Another trip to the Museum of Natural Curiosity. Curiosity killed the cat, but so far it seems no children have experienced the same fate at the museum. Tip: Shaving cream- not just for shaving.

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A fun little dessert party with Erin and Doug and my parents. Eat, eat, eat. Seems like there’s a lot of that this time of year. Luckily conversations with the family are calorie free. Reading with Grandpa- also calorie free. And erasers shaped like food from Grandma- very cool and calorie free. Tip: Don’t ingest calories.

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This year we decided to add an extra holiday event at work. I’ve always felt like there’s just not enough stuff going on. What better way to address that than by having a bowling night? So we rented out the VIP room over at Jack & Jill’s (Lehi) and bowled the night away. I’m pleased to report that nearly all of us had scores over thirty. Or maybe I’m embarrassed to report that. Out of the eighty attendees the highest scores of the night were in the 160’s. Not too bad. The lane my family played on had broken bumpers but we suffered though endless gutter balls with dignity and long-suffering. Tip: When you write a blog historical accuracy is subject to foggy recollection.

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Moving in feels like an endless process. But we’re getting there, little by little! We liked the built ins from our last house so much that we decided to go that route again. It took about two months for them to make and install the shelves and desk but we were finally able to unpack most of our office items. That felt good. Tip: Every office should have a little girl reading in it.

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The Living Planet Aquarium… again. Do these kids ever get sick of this stuff? More importantly- do the appreciate that their mom takes them to do these things? I’m out of tips.

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In preparation for another dinner Fran made pies and rolls. Claire is turning into a great kitchen helper!  I wrangled out some long lost roll-making skills from my Great Harvest days. Chloe made a mess.

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And here is another dinner. Thanksgiving with the Hughes family (and my wonderful grandmother who is technically a Francis). We dined, we laughed. Mike’s plate of dessert made me question the meaning of life.

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Here’s a collage of us eating some more. Do we we go out and eat enough? I seriously can’t even describe how sick I am of food. Maybe this seems like a ridiculous thing to say but I have a really hard time controlling myself when there are group feasts, when we go out to eat or basically any time I see food. I would like a food break. Is that too much to ask? Give my food to someone who needs it please.

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Cocoa before trimming the tree. And then the decoration ritual. Here is the only picture I have of Chloe not pulling off ornaments. She looks concerned (probably contemplating ornament trajectories). I was sick that day so I sat on the couch and complained about tangled garlands. The holidays always bring out the best in me.

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Other November highlights. We put up a growth chart to keep track of the kids. If any of them hit the seven foot mark we’ll buy them ice cream. We had the first snow of the year and Claire made a snowman! He was very cute but in the sun he melted, melted. And somehow we made it to to the Lehi Legacy Center to run with the Sabins. It’s like running with the bulls except usually no one gets gored to death. November- a month of miracles.

Well… I think that’s enough sarcasm for one month. Let’s get together and do it again sometime. Maybe I’ll be a little less on edge next time. I can’t imagine that would be the case but you never know. Tallyho!

Hughes Family: October 2014

Okay! Made it through October. Didn’t know if I would. Way to go me.

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We celebrated Chloe’s 3rd birthday! She is such a great addition to our family. As much as I love to see our kids grow up, those feelings are coupled with a profound sense of sadness and loss. I have known no greater joy than parenthood and I will always be “Dad” but my children will not always be my “babies.” Happy Birthday!

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Furniture shopping usually makes me feel sick. I strongly dislike walking around looking at things that might go well with other things. “Hey, this buffalo hide might draw colors from the stainless steel cactus and the human bone table to make them work together.” We have done more shopping in the last month than I can recall doing the previous year. Do you like this chair with circles? Fancy. Table? Rug? Ugh (we did not buy that chair).

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Once in awhile I must appease the gods of parenthood and interact with my children. What better place to do this than Nickel City? (yeah… maybe Disneyland). The children quickly became smitten by the ticket bug and exchanged many nickles for the chance to take on fate. Happily I was able to persuade them to play a few “real” games with me.

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If you haven’t been to The Museum of Natural Curiosity yet (at Thanksgiving Point) you’re missing out!

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The kids always have a blast at Cornbelly’s. Fran and I met up for dinner, but I wasn’t feeling well enough to hit the main events this year.

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We finally got to the keys to our new place! We had a few cabinet related issues that necessitated work even after it was “done.”  This is what our house looked like a couple days after closing. No sweat.

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Moving in! The guys at 7 Brothers Moving were excellent to work with. And after nearly a decade of love, feeding and education one of our kids can do useful things!

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We wasted no time in starting the landscaping (no time). A bit of dirt here, some curbing there, a few sprinklers, some fence posts, more dirt, a trampoline pit and maybe some grass if we hurry. Winter Shminter.

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Halloween 2014! Fran and the more agreeable kids dressed up like the characters from Guardians of the Galaxy. The older ones were committed to doing their own thing. Admittedly Claire made a cute vampire. I have no idea what Michael was- some kind of shadow guy in gym clothes (“I’m a morph, I told you!” “Okay, sure.”)

 

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Eating some Halloween breakfast (wearing costumes to school is a thing now- I don’t remember doing it when I was a kid). And then the long awaited Sabin Halloween Party! Each year the decorations get more elaborate, the costumes get weirder and the fun gets pushed past the maximum allowable limit.

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Here’s a couple of October parting shots. Mike got his Arrow of Light award!  Claire was asked to go to a recording studio to sing a French song for a Christmas album. Gabe has become an excellent RC car racer- he’s now working on becoming an excellent RC car mechanic. Chloe and I went shopping and she insisted on carrying the basket until it was literally too heavy for her to lift (cute, but inefficient). Awesome kids? Check.

Captain, I see November dead ahead! Should I drop the anchor?
There’s no point. It will just come to us.
Can we outrun it?
No… we’ll have to batten down the hatches and sail full speed ahead. Heaven help us.

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Hughes Family: September 2014

Yet another month has gone by. This one all too quickly. There were some good times, some bad times, some rip my hair out and then set the Earth on fire times. This post is going to be short and sweet (maybe just short).

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My lovely little girl celebrated her birthday with a trip to Texas Road House. Spoiled much? Yes.

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September highlights include putting up a tent in our microscopic backyard (Fran slept in the tent with Mike so he could pass off a scouting requirement). In an attempt to become tougher I ate a Jalapeno pepper. It turned into the worst stomach ache I can remember having (I also fed slices to my kids- some cried). Chloe ate her first Sushi roll- she seems partial to the California. The rest of September is a horrid blur. 

Our home is still not quite ready. It looks like we’ll be moving sometime in the next couple of weeks but the house still needs some work. I used to joke that I was building a fixer-upper, but it looks like the joke is on me. More to come… probably.

Hughes Family: August 2014

What did we do in August? Oh yes… we moved. We have been moving perpetually. In between moves we found time to go have a few adventures.It was a busy busy month!

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Toward the beginning of the month Fran had a baby and a bridal showers to attend I got to hang out with boys for the day. We hit JCW’s, went to see Guardians of the Galaxy (great movie) and worked on moving things and getting our old home cleaned up.

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Later that week we went to Lagoon with the Sandbergs. I know thatLagoon isn’t Disneyland but I think it’s a fantastic local park with plenty to do if your expectations are realistic. The weather was overcast so the park crowds were just right and everyone had a fantastic time.

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Lagoon has plenty of fun rides for thrill seekers. Wicked, in particular is a blast. Samurai is another fun ride… until is starts going backwards. For people not impressed with Lagoon’s coaster options the Cannibal is opening in 2015.

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Chloe had a lot of fun this time! She was pretty fearless and wasn’t afraid to go on any of the rides (and on some of the rides the kids have to go on alone).

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What trip to the park would be complete without some ice cream? And a broken phone. Fran’s phone was a victim of the Samurai- midway through the ride those of us on the ground watched her phone literally launch off the ride and sail about fifty feet through the air onto a bathroom roof and then onto the ground. Amazingly the phone still worked.

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The carnival games at Lagoon were as popular as any of the rides. Personally I don’t see the allure of throwing my money away on junk (okay, I’m sure some would disagree). The park food is so-so but there’s something exciting about eating it (maybe knowing you could barf it back up later).

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Here are a few fun parting shots. A pic from Colossus (it was really hard to hold my camera going to through the loops).  I went with Chloe on the BomBora roller coaster. Claire was really worried when I pulled out my phone for a pic on the Rocket. “No Dad! No! Put your phone away. Hurry!” But I’m not the one who breaks my phone on rides 😉

House stuff…

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After selling our Hunter’s Grove home we moved into a rental up in Traverse Mountain. It’s an interesting place (both Traverse Mountain and the house). The home has some quirky features…  For example the only outside access to the [very tiny] backyard is through a gate on the side of the home. It’s conveniently blocked by a rather large retaining wall. If you actually managed to work your way to the gate you’d find that it swings open into one of the porch supports ensuring continued difficulty. Awesome. And in the kitchen “there are four lights!” There is a strange sad little fifth light with a burnt out bulb. I think you could make a case that this is the location Captain Picard was held after being captured by the Cardassians. I discovered the lights while I was lying on the ground trying to hold our dishwasher door closed with my foot (otherwise it won’t complete a wash cycle). Aside from the home’s strange quirks we enjoy having potential buyers walk though at all times of the day.

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The house is coming along. The exterior is mostly finished at this point. I saw a rainbow shooting into our house and I’m totally sure that’s a sign we’re supposed to live here. Sigh.

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Lots of concrete! I’m happy we pushed the driveway out  (via the retaining wall). Can’t have to much driveway, I always say…   I’m pleased that Ivory epoxied the garage floors- they look great and it saves us a ton of money. I love a nice garage… Wish I had something to put in it.

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There’s always time for a wedding! Caroline and Brian were married in August. Beautiful wedding and a fun reception. Congrats! “What? That’s all your going to write about the most important day of her life?”  Uh… yeah?


I happily accepted the ALS ice bucket challenge extended by my sister, Erin. The water was way colder than I thought it would be! I called out my business partner, Jim, my friend, Tom, and my sister-in-law, Catherine. I think the general assumption is that people who pour the ice water on their head are getting out of donating to ALS, however for the curious I also contributed money toward their research (you can too by visiting www.alsa.org).

The kids got called out by their friends (and each other) and chose to participate as well:

Not done yet…

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Over Labor Day weekend we went camping near Mirror Lake with the Ercanbracks- Catherine (Fran’s sister), Lauren (Catherine’s daughter) and Randall (Catherine’s husband). Lots of good food, adventures and fun.

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Kids in nature are extra cute! They carve wood, play chess, build traps and collect firewood. They also get dirty and complain. All part of the gig.

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Mirror Lake was really pretty and equally as cold. Next time we’ll need jackets and maybe some fishing gear. Or maybe we could just look at these pictures and call it good.