Sunday, November 16, 2008

Cirque du Soleil - Ka

Last night we saw Ka. Oh my gosh - what a production! It was amazing - made even better by our seats. We were middle section about 11 rows up in the middle.

I wish I had read about it before I went so I would know the story and characters better, but it didn't matter. It pulled you in and you were there. It really was cool. Lauren loved it, although when asked by one of the ushers as we were going in if she was excited, my daughter replies, "I don't know yet." She is a "see it to believe it" person.

I really don't even know what else to say except you have to see it for yourselves. It is so worth the admission price. Shane and I have decided we need to see more shows here. There really is no other place on earth to have this much entertainment at our fingertips. I hope to have many more posts about what we have seen here in Vegas.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Threat Training Facility

Shane's cousin, Alex, is an intern with the DOD working out of Nellis. Her parents, her boyfriend, and Shane's parents are all here in Vegas this weekend. The visit was to watch the Wyoming Cowboys vs. UNLV Running Rebels. Enough said about the game.

Anyway, on Friday morning we all headed to Nellis AFB to see where Alex works. She gave us a tour of the "Petting Zoo", which is also officially called the Threat Training Facility. It is made up of enemy warfare equipment. We were allowed to play on, in, and over it. The boys had a blast and the girls had quite a bit of fun too! The purpose of the facility is to know the enemy in order to beat them. I am quite sure it is better spelled out in one of their manuals, but in a nutshell, I think I nailed it...

If you know others and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles; if you do not know others but know yourself, you win one and lose one; if you do not know others and do not know yourself, you will be imperiled in every single battle. - Sun Tzu -

Click to play TTF
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I really should have paid better attention to the tour guide (Sorry, Alex), but there was soo much to see!

It was very cool - next time we have to take Lauren with us!

Monday, November 10, 2008

My little chef...

Lauren made breakfast this morning. My mom got her a kit from Sassafras to make french toast. It was one of those Grandma gifts Lauren gets every once in while for just being her granddaughter. She loves those little care packages and since we don't see them often, it is a great little gift of love.

It was definitely a gift for her since I am not known to want her help in the kitchen. Don't get me wrong, I try to be a good mom and do stuff with her. But anything that involves any kind of mess is truly not my thing. She didn't fingerpaint until preschool - that is the sort of thing you do in preschool for fun. If you do it at home, it takes the joy out of the experience at school, right?

Anyway, she has the next two days off from school, so I decided to let her give it a whirl. The kit came with a hat, a whisk, a mix for the french toast, some syrup, and some sprinkles. She did a great job mixing and dipping. The cooking part was more my job as she was more into deciding how to decorate the plate for dad.

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Next kit is cupcakes...maybe tomorrow...

Air shows, freedom, and afterburners

We LOVE air shows. Okay, Lauren is not too fond of the noise, but Shane and I think that is the best part. That rumble in your chest when the afterburners are going off. WOW!!! I think I am having a moment right now reliving it...

We have been so blessed to live in cities with Air Force bases. We have so many AF friends, we feel we are at least somewhat honorary members of their private club. And, I come from a Navy family. While the military isn't in our destiny (unless Lauren really, really surprises us), it is in our blood and we love it. Without trying to sound gooby I want to say we are so incredibly proud to be Americans. I have never really cared about the flybys over our house in Tucson ("The sound of freedom, baby") by the A-10s or the B2s at Mom and Dad's (now the train rumbling I can do without!). I am so honored my friends are willing to go to other countries to fight in wars and battles and skirmishes so they don't happen here anywhere near where I live and my child plays.

Shane's cousin, Alex, is a civilian intern at Nellis AFB. She took us to the air show this weekend (we love the perks of being able to get on base for these and many other events!).

I am going to make another Smilebox, but one of our favorite new planes is the F22 ("Raptor") - WOW.

Why did we make this plane - Oh yeah - AIR DOMINANCE!! LOVE THAT!

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Sunday, November 9, 2008

What kind of dog....

Now the election is over, we have to decide on what dog the new President-elect should get. To be honest, to me this is a truly bipartisan decision. Maybe this is the first issue to really bring this country back together. While I may sound a little flippant, I really am not (mostly, anyway).

Shane's cousin, Alex, who lives with us thinks he should get a Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier like hers.
The pros:
1. Hypoallergenic for his daughter, Malia, who has asthma
2. Smallish, but not too small
3. Dignified looking
4. Handle being alone nicely
(and many, many more--too many to list)

The cons (well, in Alex's opinion - none):
1. Must be groomed - hair does not shed, but needs to be brushed
2. Ok, there aren't a whole lot of cons in my opinion, either...

Other ideas? Let me know...

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Consistent Parenting...yeah, right...

Last night, Lauren, Alex, and I were planning to go see Madagascar 2

Lauren completely lost her mind and was really talking back and being mouthy in general. Which really isn't too new, but she was not to be dissuaded. I gave her a few warnings and even gave her a little longer to get herself under control. No dice. I finally told her she was not going to go to the movies with us if she said one more word in that tone...she did. I told her she just lost her movie privilege. That inspired a complete meltdown. Lauren holds her emotions in quite a bit and when she lets loose, she lets loose with everything that has been bothering her since the last meltdown. It has to be exhausting - I know it is for me! So, we discussed why she would not be accompanying us to the movies and cuddled and talked about her "rough" life! :-)

In the car, Alex said she would not be a good parent because she would have caved and let her child come after an apology. There have been many times where I would have caved too. Those of you who know Lauren know she is a good kid overall and not at all bratty (at least 95% of the time). It would have been easy to tell her she could come - she truly was sorry.

Not being consistent makes you human not a bad parent. This moment, while I truly wish I had more of them, was one of my good ones. At least, in the matter of true and effective discipline. And, I am proud of myself and proud of Lauren for "womanning up" and taking the punishment responsibly.

WHEW! Alex and I did go to the movies at the Southpoint Casino, since it is the closest theater to us. We ended up deciding to see Role Models
A little different choice than Madagascar. Since it didn't start for 45 minutes we went into the casino and played penny slots. We were both able to play for 1/2 hour on $1 - nice entertainment value! The movie was vulgar, but very funny. Some of the lines are just hilarious (and some are just nasty). I don't know that it was worth the $10.50 price tag, but is probably worth a $4 rental. Honestly, I probably would have enjoyed Madagascar just as much and would have laughed just as hard... We shall see when I do get to take Lauren to see it.

Thursday, November 6, 2008


I was reading one of the blogs of my friend, Kim, where she mentioned the craziness being passed along to our children.

Obama, according to 5th graders (here and in Tucson and probably elsewhere as well), is going to:
1. Change the American flag
2. Make kids go to school on Saturdays (and maybe even Sundays, depending on who you listen to)
3. Take their fun away by making them have longer school days
4. AND...he likes black children better than white children

What are we telling our kids that they are feeling this way?

Lauren got some homework from her teacher about the election - percentages of votes, who won, etc. One of the questions was "Will the new president be good or bad for the country?" WHAT??? Shane and I were both separately and together appalled by this question. Don't get me wrong, we are not Obama fans in this family, but he is the new President-elect and with that comes a patriotic respect for the post if not the person himself. And we would not be more happy with the question had McCain won. We told Lauren to tell the teacher she would answer the question in 4 years when we had a better idea of whether promises were kept or broken.

I hope, as Americans, and more importantly as parents we are teaching Lauren we can disagree with people. And that is not a bad thing - it's called democracy and freedom and we are incredibly blessed to have that right without fear of punishment. BUT, especially as a child, she needs to show respect for all adults, whether we agree or disagree with them.

I feel as though I am rambling and not quite getting across the point I am trying to make, but I am also deep cleaning the house and I have a head full of fumes... :-)

I think overall, we, as adults need to be very cognizant of what we are telling our children. They repeat it all (and sometimes even repeat it wrong) and believe it. I want Lauren to have her own opinions and do worry they will differ from mine, but she is entitled to have them as long as the information she received in order to make up her mind is accurate.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Pahrump, Nevada

I totally forgot about this little jaunt we took the other night for dinner...we went to Pahrump, NV. It is a town about an hour drive straight west from our house.

The plan was to find something to do and somewhere to eat. We drove the 8 hour drive to Pahrump. Okay, it was only an hour, but we had a whiny kid in the backseat...

We got there and found this little mom and pop place to eat which was packed to the gills. Looked great, but busy. Shane and Lauren were not into waiting so we drove up the road to one of the casinos there (WHEE!). We went in and lo and behold it looked like every other casino we have ever eaten/hung out in. The cafe and buffet were both very small and not a lot of choices, so I suggested we go back to SeeMoore's 2 and eat. My kids reluctantly agreed.

Turns out they were having a Pop Warner 5-6 year old football season ending party with trophies and awards and speeches.

We ended up getting a table when one of the families was trying to head out the door. It was a very long awards ceremony - too long for 5 and 6 year old boys and their many younger siblings. It was kind of fun (read - kind of creepy) in a very small town sort of way to watch all these people supporting their little ones.

The food was definitely from a "greasy spoon" type establishment which to us was pretty darn yummy. They also had an ice cream shop, but my "little ones" were just not as into this adventure as I was and we left without trying any of the dairy refreshments.

Maybe next time, I will go back by myself...

Twilight (there may be spoilers if you have not read the series and actually care...)

Okay, Twilight got me hooked (at first). I listened to Book 1 on CD in my car on a 12 hour round trip to and from Tucson. I was reluctant to even read the books, but needed something to pass the drive time. Alex, Shane's cousin, had book 1 on CD and said it was okay. For those of you who know me, I will read pretty much anything. I downloaded Books 1, 2, and 3 onto my ebook which is how I read most books. I read Book 2, New Moon, and WAAAH, WAAAH, WAAAH - cry baby Bella whined about how her life would never be the same again. I chalked this up to the fact these are teenie bopper books and I have not been in teen angst for quite some time.

You see, Bella has got to be the most boring person on the face of the fiction planet. She has no interests, no hobbies, nothing to occupy her time until she meets Edward and then he takes the role of interest, hobbies, etc. He is somehow incredibly attracted to her. He says her blood smells irresistible to him. Her blood must smell really, really good (and I am talking rich hot chocolate with some butterscotch schnapps and whipped cream with little chocolate chips sprinkled on it!). There really is no other explanation given. Same with Jacob's attraction to her - she is mopey when hangs out with him - attractive, no?

The end of New Moon was back to the vampires after a pretty cool diversion into werewolves (who, btw, are mortal enemies). It was an okay end to the book, except for the "I will love you forever and ever and if you will just bite me I can live with you forever and ever...blah, blah, blah"

Book 3, Eclipse, is a blend of the vampires and the werewolves and trying to coexist against more brutal vampires who are out to get their "beloved" Bella. It isn't too bad, really, except again for any Bella parts (who is the tie between the Sharks and the Jets, but is pretty much just annoying). She wants to be a vampire, but wants to make love to Edward first, he wants to be married before this happens (good for him), she doesn't want to wait, more blah, blah, blah...

I have yet to read Book 4 and it has been a month since I read Eclipse. In my world - that is unheard of. I like series and love to see what happens with each character to the end. I have read some of the reviews of Book 4, Breaking Dawn, and am afraid it has veered from somewhat innocent teenage love into full blown erotica. Not what I would want my daughter to read (not that she would - whole 'nother story).

I have been hinting I want an Amazon Kindle

for my birthday/Christmas present. I may download Breaking Dawn if I get one.

I am excited about book 5. From what I have heard it will be Book 1 from Edward's perspective - maybe that will shed some light on the attraction. Stephenie Meyers is working on it after saying she wouldn't work on it anymore - more drama and this from the author (a good mormon girl from Utah, I think).

So, for all of you who I may have misled when first extolling the virtues of Twilight, I apologize. It is an okay series if you don't take it too seriously and probably more so if you are a 14 or 15 year old girl.

I will probably go see the movie, but am already disappointed with how the characters look (except for Jacob, who is pretty much exactly how I pictured him and how do you not love Sharkboy?). The movies in my mind are always way better and the characters also.

I'll try to keep y'all posted if I do read Breaking Dawn and watch the movie.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Dinner at Hofbrauhaus with family

After my whirlwind trip to Tucson, I flew back just in time for dinner at the Hofbrauhaus in Las Vegas. It is a Bavarian beer fest. The food was good and plentiful and the band was fun, if you are into polka music and other music played by a polka band! We met Shane's Uncle Bob (I know you know him - everybody does!), Aunt Cathy, cousin Tammi, cousin Justin, and some of their friends. In all 11 of us. We danced, drank, and ate.

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Fun times were had by all...

The braces came off...

Finally, I through with braces for the last time! I had them put on when Lauren was 1 and when she was 3 she lost the ever important retainer. My teeth did not move great amounts, but did move. I didn't go to back to my orthodontist because she was mean and not very personal (and really scared me!). The thought of having to tell her my toddler lost my retainer was unbearable! SO.... 6 years later I did it again. My braces were on for less than a year ... YAY!! They picked up the pain (oh, I mean pace) to get my done so I wouldn't have to keep commuting to Tucson to finish up.

I also spent the night with our old neighbors and, while it was a quick trip, it was a fun one. After a few delays with my flight, I got to Keith and Amy's around 11pm Sunday night. Amy and I stayed up until 3 am talking and catching up. Back up at 7am to start the day. I got a couple pictures of the girls. It was Maddy's birthday. She is a big 4 year old now. My appointment was at 9 and round one ended at 11. I was to come back for the retainer (think an invisilign tray). Amy, Maddy, and I had a nice lunch at Buddy's grill. Maddy was sooo cute! She loved being the center of attention.

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Saturday, November 1, 2008


Happy Halloween (or Happy Nevada Day, as it was here)! It was a very strange Halloween. I don't know if it was a new location or what, but Shane and I just couldn't get into it at all. In Arizona, we would set up our fire pit outside and would roast hotdogs for dinner and smores for dessert all while passing out candy to passers by. Our neighbors would join us for the party and kids could hit 3 houses with one stop. AND...others in our neighborhood would also sit outside with their fires going. It was very cool! My mother-in-law, Sue, started making a point of being in Arizona for Halloween - it was that fun! Our neighborhood was the one where kids would get dropped off to trick or treat. We would go through, usually, at least 6 large bags of candy.

Anyway, reminiscing...

This Halloween was very different - for one, no one came by and I truly mean 0 kids! Lauren went out with her friend Bailey and her dad and brother and they hit a lot of our subdivision houses and got a decent haul (Lauren's bag even fell apart from the weight). There were no other kids out. Alex and I took Clea to the dog park in her costume and we saw no kids. The dog park was a different story. By the time we got there, a little later and darker than usual, there were 5 or 6 dogs there. All either in costume or just recently out of costume with owners holding them. Yep. Alex was afraid Clea would be the only one and would get "teased". One lady handed out goodie bags with treats in them.

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Lauren came home at 8pm after spending an hour at Bailey's, so we went to dinner using one of our restaurant coupons. That is such a great deal - $10 for a $25 coupon to local restaurants. We also got a ganga deal on them. We got them for 80% off, so $2 for a $25 coupon. The place we went to last night with tip cost us $25 for 4 of us to eat. Not too shabby. We were a little nervous the waitress would look at our coupon and laugh, but they didn't even flinch. We can't wait to try some of the other ones we got. I will try to keep you posted on if they do another 80% off sale on them, although we thought even $10 was a pretty good deal.

Looking ahead to Thanksgiving now...