Thursday, December 31, 2009

Fare thee well 2009

2009 only has a couple more hours remaining, but we wanted to get one more post up before the end of the year.

Dawn and the girls took Patrick up A Mountain in Tempe last Wednesday and Steven met them at Mill Avenue for a lunchtime snack. Then we spent a quiet Christmas Eve together topped off with a turkey dinner.

Christmas day was a nice day with Steven cooking omelets after opening presents. We enjoyed a nice lasagna dinner and then took Patrick to the airport to catch a red-eye back to Virginia.

A major Christmas gift that we gave out families this year was a book that Steven put together with 156 of his favorite photographs from the past year and a wall calendar displays some more photos. This is a project that had been long in the works and back on November 1st, everyone got up early to shoot family pictures at ASU. Steven arranged all of the shots and set the timer on the camera so he could get into the pictures. Below are some our favorite shots from that day.

See you in 2010.

Family Portraits

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Patrick in the Valley

On Wednesday Patrick arrived here in the valley and we have been running around showing him the area.

On Thursday, Dawn took Patrick on a tour of ASU and then Steven joined in for lunch. The girls demanded that they show Patrick off to their friends as they got out of school and then we took him to Organ Stop Pizza so he can witness the power of the Mighty Wurlitzer and its nearly 6,000 pipes. We had a great time and really enjoyed the music. They played a lot of songs that we had not heard before and it was great to hear these tunes.

Steven took Friday off and we took Patrick around some of the popular areas around the eastern part of the valley including Camelback Mountain, Downtown Phoenix, and we spent some time at Papago Park and Hole in the Rock. Then we grabbed the girls after school got out and headed to South Mountain to watch the sun set and the lights come on in Phoenix.

Then we took a couple of days to relax a little and to make the final preparations for Christmas.

Today, Dawn took them all to the Arizona Natural History Museum in Mesa where they had a lot of fun, especially panning for gold.

Below are some of the pictures that Steven took using a DSLR camera from work. It is similar to the one he wants to get. He has a lot of fun taking pictures in conditions that his camera can not handle and using a style he can not do with his camera.

Organ Stop Pizza

Hole in the Rock

South Mountain

Christmas Lights

Monday, December 14, 2009

The run up to the holidays

It is amazing how fast things can move. You think you are going to sit down and write a blog post about everything going on before Thanksgiving and suddenly it is mid-December.

Lexi's school had a really cool project where every sixth grader dressed up as some sort of historical character and presented a wax museum. Each student had to create a poster about their character, write a report, and memorize a little speech about the character. Then on the night of the wax museum, the students would stand like a statue until someone stepped on the "button" on the floor in front of them. Also from time-to-time, all of the students would sing a song together. Lexi selected Aphrodite as her character and did a real nice job. See a video of her speech and singing the song below.

Then Dawn was making a push to finish up her major project for class. She has enjoyed her class on nutritional health, but she is very glad the final exam is tomorrow.

We enjoyed a quiet Thanksgiving and quickly put up our Christmas decorations. The house looks nice and I hope to get some pictures of the house and tree as soon as I stop fighting with my camera. Because my camera is not capable of adjusting all of the settings I need, nor does it have the range I need, I keep taking pictures that are unusable.

Thanksgiving weekend was also the running of the Arizona Ironman Triathlon. Once again we helped on the run course, but this time we were matched up with a bunch of folks from ASU's Student Recreation Center. We had a lot of fun cheering on and providing food and drinks to everyone from the Ironman Champion to the average person that just wanted finish before the course closed at the seventeen hour mark at midnight.

To keep things moving at a very fast pace, the next day Lindsey and I left for a week of Outdoor Education. Her school provides an opportunity to the eighth grade to spend a week on the Tonto Rim learning about the outdoors. They had some of the best weather that in several years, while it was cold every morning (it got to 19 on the last morning), it was sunny everyday. I went as the "Firegod" since I was in charge of keeping a very large cooking fire going for two days starting at about 6:30am till about 4:00pm.

We began the week by hiking up to a fish hatchery and it was funny seeing the kids stopping all the time to take group pictures on the way up. During the next three days, the students had classes on candle making, foil dinner cooking, rappelling, trust games, mountain boarding and scooters, drama, wilderness survival, the supreme court, and more. The last day, we all took a hike up to the caves to hangout before going back down to the buses to head home.

We were all assigned cabins, and I had double duty as a "cabin dad". There were a lot of competitions between cabins for cleanliness (mine did pretty good), skits, and spirit (mine one this one).

Lindsey had a lot of fun and I did my best to not embarrass her. I took a lot of pictures and instead of embedding them on the web page, here is a link to the online photo album.

As soon as we got back from Outdoor Ed, Lindsey had her Holiday Concerts. I have linked to some video of those below.

Crismon Wax Museum

Rhodes JHS Holiday Concert (part 1 of 2)

Rhodes JHS Holiday Concert (part 2 of 2)