Sunday, August 31, 2008

Staycation Day 2 -- Church, Relaxation and Family; Reno / Sparks NV area

Agenda:
* Church in Washoe Valley
* Picnic at Bower's Mansion
* Relaxation at Davis Creek
* Dinner at Grandma and Grandpa Knight's house

Day 2 our of staycation was nice. Small variations can lead to drastically different outcomes. While we are in the same area and living in our home, we truly are on vacation. I had my doubts about a staycation. How could it be as good as a 'real' vacation? So far, our experience has been better than many vacations that we have been on. It provides relaxation and discovery, without the stress and expense of traveling.

While I remembered the camera; its battery was sitting at home with the charger. Needless to say, there were no pictures today.

Our goal for the day was to keep in the spirit of the Day of the Lord or the Sabbath. Never an easy goal when you are on vacation, but it proved easier on our staycation -- it was a great day.

We started the day worshiping with a small LDS congregation in Washoe Valley. They were so friendly and welcoming. To ensure our staycation was a true vacation, we needed new places and faces. The change was nice.

Bower's Mansion proved to be a great park for a picnic. We stocked up on picnic food at Costco on Friday -- so we had a tasty lunch. The strong cool breeze proved a little too much for us to stay very long. Who would have thought jackets would be necessary this time of year?

We found our afternoon relaxation at Davis Creek, NV. The scent of pine filled the wind that was flowing through the limbs of the trees -- creating our calming retreat. The late-season stream bed and dried up pond left a home for frogs and a variety of insects. The tiniest chipmunks could be seen scampering in the distance, gathering what appeared to be pine-nuts (we gathered our own, only to discover that they aren't very good when you find them lying on the ground).

Dinner at Grandma and Grandpa Knight's house finished our day off nicely. The food and company were great. Carson loves playing with his cousins that are in town from Modesto, California for the weekend. His nighttime prayer tonight was simple, but well put: "Heavenly Father, thank You we go to Grandma and Grandpa Knight's house today..."

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Staycation Day 1 -- Sardine Lake, California


Agenda:
* Visit Sand Pond, Lower and Upper Sardine Lakes in the Sierra Buttes of California (click on the picture above to see how Tucker REALLY felt at that moment)
* Ice cream in Historic Downtown Truckee, CA
* Circus Circus trapeze show and games
* Take and Bake pizza at home.
* Movie at home (after the kids are asleep)

Day 1 was great! With two very young kids, it is easy to get an earlier start. We got to the lakes nice and early; it was still cool and there weren't too many people there. Right off, Carson and I explored the area -- finding lots of frogs that were way too fast for us to catch. But we did catch a garter snake.



I love Carson's view of the snake. He took this picture:



The snake wrapped himself so tightly around Carson's hand that we had a difficult time getting him off.

We had a really nice picnic by the side of Sand Pond.


Carson was pretty good with his new wiffle ball bat.


We took on the 4x4 road to Upper Sardine Lake in our Tundra pickup truck. We got through it with minimal damage to the truck, but with extreme stress to Angela. It was this tiny little road, barely wide enough for the truck. There was a nice 100' drop-off on one edge, and a steep hill on the other. If you came across another vehicle, you would be in serious trouble. The road was way too rough to back down. Some of the rocks were huge. I wasn't sure if we could make it over them, but we couldn't turn back. Even with all of the off-roading that I have done, it was tough. We got a pretty good gouge in one of the running boards of the truck, but other than that, we survived. I thought that Angela was going to have a heart attack on the ride down -- she was on the cliff side. Needless to say, Carson loved the drive. Tucker was amazingly calm.

After that drive, we were ready to go. We headed down to Truckee, CA and got some ice cream cones at an old soda fountain.



Circus Circus was alright. The show wasn't too spectacular and Carson was a little young for the games.

Overall, Staycation Day 1 was every bit as fun as vacation. We'll see how Day 2 goes.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Staycation Rules

The dilemma: a four day weekend. What to do? We've got a baby boy that isn't fond of driving, so visiting Angela's family in Visalia could be torture for all of us. But I have been dying to get out of town for months. Our decision: a staycation.

Our Staycation Rules:
1. We are on vacation -- all activities should be vacation-like activities. All routine activities should be avoided
2. We aren't answering phone calls (we may respond to messages left)
3. Each day is planned with things that we don't typically do
4. We are spending money like we would on a vacation -- eating out, snacks, admissions, etc...
5. No house projects, minimal chores, no paying bills

We've never done a Staycation, so we'll see how well it works out. Ideally, it will be just as fun as a vacation, with a little less stress and less expense.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Hip Hop Fam

We've been working on our hip hop moves... What do you think?

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Monday, August 25, 2008

Dinner Discovery at Costco

This blog entry will reinforce my in-laws belief that we live and die by Costco:

Our most recent Costco discovery (thanks for the tip, Kate!): uncooked tortillas -- delicious!

Angela made ground turkey tacos for dinner tonight. The are really good alone; but add hot tortillas directly off of the 'comal' and you've got yourself a masterpiece. It was SOOO good.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Carson's New Truck


Lowe's had a great kids project this weekend: GM Pickup Trucks. Carson and I both had fun building our truck -- twice. It turns out that Dad isn't that great with directions; so Carson had to build it twice to get it right. Carson is getting really good with the hammer and the stickers finished the truck off nicely.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Goats, Roosters and Alligators, Oh My!

We went to the Nevada State Fair on Friday, where Carson saw goats, cows and sheep in the livestock section.


He made friends with a goat,


and then we walked over to see the bunnies and the chickens and roosters.

Tucker was begging us to take a picture of him with this huge rooster that HE made friends with....

There was a really nice reptile exhibit and all the snakes and lizards were very active.

This alligator was just sitting there on the floor. It didn't move at all, and didn't mind as everyone knelt down to feel his scaly skin.

We FINALLY caught a smile on film from Tucker. This was while watching a science show at the fair.

That's Carson in the foreground. Tucker seems to really like it when Carson is nearby; he calms down and turns his head toward Carson.



Thursday, August 21, 2008

Beautiful Eyes




Angela has the most beautful eyes I have ever seen. Luckily, our children inherited that trait from her. Both have amazing eyes -- Carson's brown and Tucker's blue.

At dinner time, Tucker was furious. Nothing I did could calm him. Eventually, Angela took pity and took him from me. Within a minute she had figured out the problem and calmed him down. They looked so cute together -- I had to take a few pictures. The lighting really highlighted Tucker's and Angela's eyes (to see what I mean: click on the images to see larger high-resolution versions).

Are These Two Really Brothers?


They are as different as can be! (Tucker isn't always this serious, he has his smiley moments)
After bath time, Carson, Tucker and Keith were playing around and ended up sitting on the couch together. It was really cute, so we had to get some pictures. Tucker is growing so quickly. His face is filling out and he is starting to recover from his baby acne.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

A Child's Prayer

Carson's prayer tonight: Heavenly Father, thank you for brownies...

Angela made delicious frosted brownies for dessert at Grandma and Grandpa Knight's house tonight; Carson definitely enjoyed them.

After his short but sincere prayer, he grabbed his book of paintings of Jesus and curled up with it in bed.

It's nice to see your child gain an appreciation for prayer and for our Savior.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Orcas

Carson and I explored our Cabela's store today. A complete stranger gaves us several dollars worth of tokens for the shooting gallery. Carson was a pretty good shot.




"Orca!" Carson exclaimed as we were walking through part of the store. He was so excited and I was completely lost. Finally, he pointed to the large killer whale above us. I hadn't even seen it and didn't know that a killer whale was actually called an orca. I assumed he was wrong until I looked it up on the internet. How do our kids learn so much?!?


When we saw the African display, including an elephant, lion, eland, leopard and many other amazing animals, our budding photographer begged for the camera with his cute puppy dog face.






How can you say no to that face? He actually takes some pretty good pictures. His pictures allow you to better understand the world through a three year old's eyes -- a world that includes orcas that adults are too rushed to notice and too busy to learn about.

Carson's Grandmas

Friday night I had a moderatly bad allergy attack, keeping me up nearly the entire night. So I decided to sleep in the extra bedroom upstairs -- where Grandma Bea slept while she was here.

In the morning, Carson noticed that the bed had been slept in and asked: "Is Grandma Bea here?" He was disappointed when I had to say no.

Later that day, Grandma Knight got down on the floor and played toys with him.

Carson has been blessed with excellent Grandparents. He really cares for them and is always so excited to see them.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Anniversary Dinner

Tonight we celebrated our seventh anniversary at Applebees. We had relatively low expectations and they were almost met.

It's always rough going to a restaurant with a three year old and a one month old -- tonight was no exception. Tucker was a handful and difficult to console -- Angela was wonderful with him.

We decided to go there because of their desserts, only to find they stopped selling my favorite: Sizzling Caramel Apple Pie.

The dinner in no way represents our last seven years. It has been wonderful to be married to Angela. She has been a wonderful wife and mother -- I am so lucky to be married to her.

I love you Angela.

Carson's Take on Family Relationships

Since Carson seemed to understand family relationships so well. I asked him, "Who is Grandpa Knight?"

"Your dad, " he replied.

"Who is Grandma Bea?"

"Mom's mom."

"Who is Aunt Teresa?"

His response: "Uncle Phil."

I got a good laugh. I guess there is still more to learn...

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Carson's Grandma and Grandpa

On the way to Lowe's this evening (which is near Grandma and Grandpa Knight's house), Carson said, "Can we go to Grandma and Grandpa's house?"

"Not today," I replied.

Shortly after, he responded, "I want to go to your mom and dad's house, Dad."

I was surprised he understood that relationship that well -- pretty astute for a three year old!

Building Lockers at Lowe's

Carson went to another workshop, this time at Lowe's. He built a mini locker out of wood, and he got to keep this little hammer!
As you can see, he was very careful and precise when hammering those nails.
Lowe's is so nice - they give you the locker kit, and stickers to decorate it after it's done, plus some badges to put on the apron he's wearing to let people know of his building achievement!

Brothers




Tucker is doing really well in holding up his head, he is a strong baby!






Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Hot August Nights



The coolest cars come to town for Hot August Nights. They say that more than 800,000 people participate each year -- that's double the population of Reno and Sparks combined! So we went to downtown Sparks to check it out.

Carson loved the cars. On occasion, you could catch glimpses of car owners smiling as Carson ran up in excitement to their cars.

Of course, he had to bring his 'The King' car from the Pixar movie 'Cars'. He even got to see a real race car, like the one in the movie.

While Carson and I explored, Angela watched Tucker sleeping in the shade by an old DeSoto -- it was a really nice car.

Needless to say, it was an exciting evening.

To top off the excitement, an ambulance and fire truck pulled up to the restaurant that we were eating at and treated the person sitting at the next table over from us -- talk about awkward. There weren't many other tables, so we took our food and left.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Home Depot Kids Workshop




Carson and I joined about a dozen other kids at the Home Depot kids workshop. Carson is really good with a hammer. I kept waiting for him to accidentally hit his thumb with the hammer, but he hit the nail nearly every time.