Saturday, December 12, 2009

Elf Yourself

We posted this on Facebook too but here it is for those of you who don't have a FB account. We've been elfed!

Before clicking the link, scroll down on our blog to the black music player on the right side of the screen and press "Pause" to stop the music.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Fall Pictures

A couple of weeks ago we drove to our favorite state park to take some pictures of the boys with the Fall colors. Unfortunately, it looks like the weekend before was the best time to go as most of the leaves had already fallen. But we still got some good pictures and had a good time.

These first few pictures were taken on the way over there. Not bad considering Dana took these while I was driving. She didn't even roll the window down!

Postcard #1 - This is the Tennessee River down by Guntersville

Postcard #2 - Cool shot, huh?

We still can't get used to seeing the vines and undergrowth covering EVERYTHING like it is in this picture.

Playing around with the camera.


Kevin & Cameron completely unaware of Nature's beauty.

My good lookin' Boy #1.

My beautiful family. I love the background in this shot.

Candid shot of Cameron. These types of shots are my favorite.

The handsome Boy #2.

And the stunningly cute Boy #3.

He's NOT HAPPY but it sure made a cute picture. Too bad it blurred. I was having a hard time with the lighting (and dying batteries).

This photo speaks for itself.

My boys headed back down the boardwalk.

Another one where the light got me. Darn it. I like the shot.

Just chillin'.

We're wishing everyone a happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Expedition's Expeditions and Soccer Finale

Our Expedition hit 100,000 miles last weekend on the way home from Cameron's soccer tournament so it got me thinking about where we've taken it over the 9 years that we've owned it (as of this month).

Hey, I have motor oil running through my veins. What do you expect?

My intention was to pull over to take a good photo instead we found ourselves in an area with no where safe to get off the road. I took this quick shot without looking at the camera so excuse the dust and reflection.

The Expedition has been to the Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean and from Montana all the way down to Florida. It's been camping at 10,000 feet and we've slept in it at the lake. It's been stuck in the snow (don't ask) and played in the mud. It's lived at 4 different houses and brought 2 new babies home from the hospital.

So far, it's been to at least 19 states and we plan on going to the Gulf of Mexico next year so that will complete it's tour of major bodies of water.

We love this thing!

Here are a couple of pictures that pre-date our blog.

Leaving Montana and heading towards Yellowstone. Cade was only 7 months old!

Playing in the snow at Cloudcroft. I just like this picture because Cade is so cute. Again.

Camping at Grassy Lookout. Again, Cade makes the picture. I think any pictures we have of Kevin and Cameron when they were little are on film.

As I mentioned, Cameron had a regional soccer tournament in Albertvl last weekend. His team was the unofficial Athens champions as they tied their first game and went undefeated from there on out. They finished their season by handily beating the team they tied.
They saved their best soccer for the tournament! On Saturday, they played 2 games and had to win to advance to top 4 and play on Sunday. They beat the first team 5-2 and Cameron played a great game at goalie. The second game was against the best team they had played to date. Actually, the team was ok, but they had one really good player. We were able to mostly shut that kid down by putting our best player on him but he still got some good shots at our goal. And that's where Cameron really started to shine as goalie. He blocked a couple of shots that were the difference between winning 3-2 and losing. The refs came over after the game and commented on how our goalie won that game for us and how good he is. Funny thing, he really wasn't all that good the rest of the season but he was outstanding on Saturday.
On Sunday, we played another team with one player that was incredible! Our team played hard and were tied at 2-2 at halftime but we had a mental breakdown or something because they scored 3 goals in about 5 minutes. On those shots, Cameron just had no chance of stopping the balls. They were either too high to reach or perfectly placed on the other side of the goal. Cameron didn't give up though and late in the game he singlehandedly stopped the kid TWICE by charging out of the goal at him. I know I sound like a typical pee wee parent saying this, but that game was so horribly refereed that I honestly believe it cost us a good chance at winning that game. I had several conversations with the officials after the game was over about it. Either way, I was really proud of Cameron's team.
The Goalie of the Year (as far as I'm concerned) diving for the ball.
And here are the champions!
We found an old pre-Civil War cemetary in Albertville. This guy was the person that the town was named after. Born March 31, 1796!

Some really old, weathered headstones. Couldn't read them.

Dana's getting Cade started on what will likely become a new chore every Fall.

Thursday, November 5, 2009


Ok. You asked for an update and you're gonna get one or three. We've taken a lot of pictures and several things have been going on lately so I'll have to break it up into more than one post.

We'll start with a picture taken from our backyard. It's actually the area directly behind our (recently deceased) neighbor's house as seen from our house. Beautiful fall colors around here!

When I first saw this picture that Dana took I immediately thought of...

this one.

Cade's ready for soccer!

Here's a shot of Speedy Reynolds. This dude consistently outran bigger kids all season long. He's running so fast here he's warping the space-time continuum. Or, maybe that's another kid behind him, but still, he's fast. He also took after his big brother and played goalie in just about every game.

Air Cade! Hard to tell, but he's shooting a basket here.

As usual, we waited until the last minute to get our pumpkins and carved them on Halloween. Kevin is starting on his masterpiece.

Cameron gutting his pumpkin. He and Kevin designed and carved their own pumpkins.
Even Cade got in on the action. Last year he wanted nothing to do with the slimy insides. This year he wanted to help "get the junk out".

And here they are along with the extent of our last minute decorating (6 plastic ghosts for $2 at Walgreens!). Cameron's alien pumpkin is on the left and Kevin's is on the right.

Even Dana dressed up or make-uped up, I guess. It might be hard to tell here but she painted a butterfly on her face. When I first saw her I was kind of like "hubba hubba" but I was also scared at the same time. I'm not sure what that means.
We spent the late afternoon of Halloween helping with a mini-carnival of sorts that our church does every year. From there we came back home to go trick-or-treating with the Williams (the family that went to Cade's b-day party with us). We all had a great time.

Kevin's first concert - and I missed it! I had to fill in for Cameron's soccer coach because he couldn't be at the game.
Speaking of soccer - Kevin's team started off well and fell apart at the end. Blame it on his dumb coach. But we made some new friends and I learned several things while taking the mandatory coaching classes. We even improved Kevin's place kicking technique. Cameron's team on the other hand, had a coach that didn't know the first thing about soccer and killed as much time as possible during "practice" because he didn't know what to do. They tied their first game and won all the others - and even beat the team they tied! What the heck? I guess I took the wrong approach with Kevin's team. Anyway, Cameron's team will be playing in a regional tournament this weekend. Wish us luck!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Slow Month?

It seems like things have slowed down since our last post but on second thought we're as busy as ever. The soccer season is in full swing and that occupies most of our weekdays. Weekends aren't too bad because they cancel more games than they play. At this rate this season will be overlapping with the Spring season.

I just like this shot of Kevin because you can see how (not) hard he was playing against this poor team. To give you an idea of how it went, our team was up 5-0 in the first 6 minutes.

Another thing causing a disruption in our lives was my travel this month. I went to WSTF (where I used to work) one week and then to Huntington Beach the next week. I took the opportunity to leave a day early on the WSTF trip and took Cade with me to get some extra visiting time with my parents. When we first arrived, Cade was quiet and shy. When Mom and Dad kept trying to get him to talk, I reminded them once he starts he wouldn't stop. Four days later of non-stop jabbering, I'm sure they were ready for some peace and quiet.

Here's my little jet setting buddy getting ready to "blast off" from the Huntsville airport.

It only took Cade about 15 minutes, if that, to get comfortable around them again. He and Pa had a good time hanging out while I was at work.

Homemade cookie night! The idea was to make some Halloween cookies but they came out much more pastel colored and looked more like Easter cookies. You'd think poor Kevin and Cameron don't own any clothes by all the pictures you see of them without shirts on. Dana hates that.

And the big event for the month - Cade's 4th birthday is tomorrow!!!
We had a birthday party for him at Chuck E. Cheese today with some sort-of-friends of ours. They have 3 kids (2 girls and a boy) the same age as our boys so Dana and their mom carpool the kids to school. Fortunately, all the kids get along very well. They're all very nice.

The birthday celebration bunch. Hagen is only 2 months younger than Cade and considerably shorter. I'm starting to realize Cade is a monster! Ally (on the left) and Mikayla are the two girls.

The best part of any birthday - opening presents!

King Cade and his inflatable crown (and birthday medal).

My wonderful family

Cade picked out a dinosaur theme for his party. Nothing says "Don't mess with me!" like a triceratops tattoo on a 4 year old's cheek. Look at those cute little freckles on his nose!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


The title for this blog comes from Dana's repeated demand on our trip to Florida. It was first uttered the night before we left while we were packing and continued for the duration of our mini-vacation. We heard it so many times even Cade was saying it. "Hey Mommy! Don't smash the bread!"

Guess what. The bread got smashed.

So as everyone probably knows by now, we drove 273 hours to Florida to watch Discovery launch on what will probably be the last night launch of a Space Shuttle. We arrived at our hotel on the beach just as the sun was setting so we made a quick trip down the water to let the kids play for a few minutes. It only took a minute or two for the boys to "accidentally" get soaked.

Fresh out of the car. Haven't even unpacked the Expedition yet.

We were officially in Florida as an award honoree and were supposed to go to a nice banquet dinner and bus tour of KSC followed by half a day at the KSC visitor center. Unfortunately, the rules changed for the previous flight and kids under 12 were no longer allowed on the bus. They still gave us free passes to the visitor center so we took advantage of that. I also had the pleasure of seeing a couple of my former coworkers from WSTF who were also there for the award. It was nice to chat with them again.

Bruce, the roving photographer, took this photo for us. It's nice to drive 700 miles from home and still know someone who will take photos of your family.

Cade was a little freaked out about the spaceman. He liked him from a distance but not so much up close.

They had all these cool rockets and space artifacts and the kids' favorite thing was the play area.

Me and my boys.

We had a great time at the visitor's center. I could have easily spent a few more hours there looking at all the neat displays. Two of the more memorable things we saw/did was ride the Shuttle Launch Experience and watch "Magnificent Desolation" in 3-D. The SLE was really cool. You get strapped into your seat in the cargo bay of the orbiter and then it rotates you 90 degrees so you're lying on your back looking out the "windows". The whole thing rocks when the main engines fire and then you start shaking as the solid rocket boosters ignite. When they burn out the shaking immediately stops. A moment later, when the main engines cut off, you pitch forward and hang weightless in your seat. I just couldn't stop grinning the whole time. Everyone else came out with a smile on their face so I know they enjoyed it too.

The movie was absolutely incredible! It was somewhat of a documentary of the Apollo missions and had some awesome views of the moon. It was so realistic you feel like you're really on the moon in several scenes. When Dana walked out of there she made the remark that all the NASA critics should go watch that movie. Absolutely wonderful movie.

We played on the beach a little more that afternoon before taking a nap and getting ready to go watch the launch at 1:30 or so in the morning. We were also supposed to get a ride on the bus out to the Banana River Causeway to watch the launch but again, kids were not allowed. Fortunately, I had the connections to get a personal vehicle pass to the causeway.

It was really exciting to drive out and see the Space Shuttle lit up under all the lights. We had an excellent view of the launch pad. We were about 3-1/2 miles away and looking right at Discovery. Our camera just couldn't focus on it so I wasn't able to get any decent pictures. Poor Kevin was sick so he slept in the Expedition the whole evening. We arrived 4 hours before launch and got comfortable on a blanket on the grass. They had vendors set up and speakers so we could all hear the chatter between Discovery and Mission Control. I really enjoyed listening to all that. Dana and the boys all slept so I guess it wasn't that exciting to everyone else.

Here it is! A picture that I didn't take of the launch of STS-128 that we didn't see! Photo courtesy of NASA.

All that chatter included a lot of weather talk and the countdown never came out of the T-9 minute hold. If they'd had another 1/2 hour the weather likely would have improved enough to launch. So it was a scrub and they decided to try again the next night. I'll save the suspense and tell you they scrubbed that launch too due to a suspected valve leak. We took a nap the next afternoon and missed the announcement so we didn't find out about it until we drove the 40 miles out there and had the guard at the gate look at us like we were idiots. The next attempt was going to be at least 2 days later and we just couldn't stay that long. Darn it darn it darn it!!!

Anyway, we spent that second day playing in the water again. I was afraid the boys were going to grow gills and webbed feet.

I think this is a neat picture. I like the reflections in the sand.

Cameron looks cool no matter what he does. Here's his Baywatch run up the beach. Cade doesn't quite have the cool gene. At least not in this picture.

Another nice picture.

Dana's self portrait with little Mr. Talksalot.

We also drove to Orlando to eat at Rainforest Cafe. We had a little drama on the way in the form of a separating tire. I heard a thump and felt some vibration so I pulled over and found a patch of about 6" x 6" missing out of the rear tire. One worn out spare later, we were on our way. Cade absolutely loved the restaurant. He was in awe and spent the entire time there with his mouth agape and eyes wide open as his head whipped side to side trying to take in all the animals and action. I wish we'd had the camera with us.

Four new tires and no launch later, we were on our way home. We still enjoyed our mini-vacation though.
It occurred to us during our trip that we have now driven the Expedition all the way across the country. It's been to the Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean and as far north as Montana and all the way down to Florida. All we have left is to take it to the Gulf of Mexico and we plan on doing that next summer. I love that vehicle. It's a great road trip cruiser.
On Labor Day weekend we took the boys to the something-or-other state fair in Huntsville. It was about the same size as the Southern NM State Fair, not huge but not dinky either. Cameron wanted go in the haunted house but couldn't talk Kevin into going with him (Kevin wanted to go on a different ride). Cameron marched right in and disappeared behind the door while Dana and I discussed the whole thing. We decided it was more scary on the outside that it was on the inside. A few minutes later, Cameron came charging out the door with his eyes as big as saucers and his mouth wide open and a horrified look on his face. Yet another moment I REALLY wish I'd had the camera ready. We all cracked up at the look on his face.

Cade chilling out while he waits for one his brothers to finish a ride.

Before we left we watched 2 riders enter the Sphere of Death (say it in a deep, booming voice) on motorcycles. It was actually pretty neat and the kids got a kick out of it.

My wonderful family.

In another instance of "I'd better watch what I say", Cade asked me to take him to a Halloween store that was near another store we were in. So we walked over there and as soon as we walk in we see a scary display and hear the creepy music. He immediately got stiff. I explained to him it was all fake and showed him a rubber snake like the ones at Wal-Mart. After a minute or two he asked if we could leave. I told him we should go look at the kids costumes first. Well, it turns out it was all the way across the store in the back corner so we had to walk by all the scary things to get to it. Cade saw a zombie thing that looked like it had pulled it's head off and had one eye hanging out of its socket. Cade told me he wanted to go again and pointed at the zombie and said, "Dad, he's a jerk!" We left and as soon as we met up with Dana again, he told me to tell Dana about the jerk. Dana and I both thought it was funny (especially when you hear him say it with all seriousness) but I think perhaps I'd better be more careful what I say. Unless, maybe it's Dana that says that. Well, there are certainly worse things I've heard kids repeat.

And to wrap this up, on the way to soccer practice tonight, Cade told Dana out of the blue, "Don't smash the bread!"