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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Tecko the Gecko Sheds

Everyone gets mentioned, why not Tecko the Gecko.

Papa formed a special bond with Tecko. Perhaps it was because he actually fed it :-) Just kidding! We were very diligent about giving him two little crickets at night. Papa hopped on the Internet one morning and researched why our little guy didn't have a fat tail like other geckos. We were seriously underfeeding the little guy! Now he is on a regimented diet of AT LEAST 2 large crickets and either 1 wax worm or several mill worms a day. Plus water and a small dish of calcium supplement. Now he has a fat little tail. I think he's almost 1, so now we can start giving him 'pinkies' aka one day old mice.

While Papa was here, he shed his skin for the first time! I guess he is suppose to be doing this every month. In other words, I wasn't giving him proper care. He's much better now, I promise :-)

See the skin coming off his head:
He is busy circling and scratching up against the coconut to remove the skin:

Happy Thanksgiving!

This year was Papa's turn to spent Thanksgiving at the awesome house of Tubbs (or Terribly Tiring Tubbs dwelling). Papa had his heart set on Tur-duc-hen. It is a deboned chicken stuffed into a deboned duck stuffed into a partially deboned turkey. The legs and wing bones were really the only bones from the turkey. Apparently these masterpieces of poultry butchery are not as common around here as they are in Oregon. I called multiple places (even the place where turkeys meet the chopping block) and got the undeniable hint of 'she must be crazy' tone of voice. Perhaps Tur-duc-hen will be very popular next year because of my phone calling and curious businessmen.

Here is the pre-cooked muli-bird concoction: And here is Thanksgiving dinner with all our favorite dishes: candied sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, gravy, rolls, mashed potatoes, stuffing, candied carrots, Tur-duc-hen, jello salad, sparkling cider and our newest addition pumpkin mousse pie. We tend to add a new dish each year. Our first Thanksgiving we only had gravy....just kidding!! We even brought out the china and Old Spaghetti Factory glasses (you know, the free ones you get with an Italian Soda, which I must love because we have 8 glasses)...Fancy!
Paula Dean's Pumpkin Mousse Pie was delish! Papa worked very hard on it.

And finally the cooked Tur-duc-hen:

Papa telling Travis how to cut it:
It was FANTASTIC!! The duck wasn't greasy, the meat was moist, and it was simple to carve. Hardly any was wasted because there weren't any bones to pick meat off! The only complaint was the sausage Creole stuffing. The stuffing soaked up the grease and turned mushy, so we tossed most of that. Otherwise, I would highly recommend this if it wasn't for the cost. Our 14lbs was a whooping $80!!
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!

Tops in Blue

On Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving we saw Tops in Blue.

First is the article I wrote from Examiner.com, then some pictures, and lastly was our experience.

"There is plenty to get excited about in this year's Tops in Blue musical performance "To Dream" at the Ervin J. Nutter Center on November 25th. This year they will be celebrating 56 years of entertaining audiences around the world. The mission of Tops in Blue is to entertain Air Force members and their dependents. In Dayton, however, this a free event open to the public, including families!

"The opening act is Johnny and Shelby Hansen. They are a military couple stationed at Wright-Patterson Air Force base. The Hansens participated in and won the Air Force Family Talent Competition in the couple's division last fall. After that they send in a recording of their performance to an Air Force wide competition. They won that competition, so now they will be doing the opening act for the Tops in Blue show in Dayton. They plan on playing a little bluegrass tunes to kick off the show.

"This year's Tops in Blue's show entitled "To Dream" will included music from almost every genre and decade including pop, R&B, and country/western. Hence, there will be something for everyone to enjoy. Of course, there will be the usual patriotic, heartrending tribute to America and Her greatness. According to the website, this year's act hopes to instill in the audience that "America is indeed the place where dreams really can come true" through the "sight and sound of music and dance".

"Many may not know but Tops in Blue performers are actually on a one year Permissive Temporary Duty (PTDY) away from their normal duty stations. These are active duty members that have talent and a passion to perform. Contest winner then go through about two months of rigorous preparations before hitting the road to present the show to audiences around the globe.

You can read all about their history, mission and news at the Tops in Blue website.
Details for the event:
Show starts at 6pm, doors open at 5pm.
First come, first serve seating arrangements.
Ervin J. Nutter Center
3640 Colonel Glenn Highway
Dayton, OH 45435
(937)775-3498 "

There were tons of different acts and costume changes according to the genre and age of the music, as shown in the pictures below:

It was a good show, but lets just say that were are glad it was free. The kids sat through most of it, then got bored. Some songs almost seemed out of tune. The visuals were stunning, but some improvement could've been made in the vocals. We did enjoy Shelby and Johnny. They were an excellent opening act!

Overall, we were glad to go and have a good time out!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Papa's Visit - The Cincinnati Zoo

Tuesday before Thanksgiving we decided to head down to Cincinnati to go the Zoo and pick up a Tur-duc-hen at Jungle Jims. The zoo was neat because it seems to be smack in the center of town, but once inside you forget about the surrounding city.
The zoo was huge! There were all different types of 'houses'. But the 'houses' had tons of animals inside or around the building. Like the cat house had a lot of different types of cats. The insect house had many, many, many insects. So we were there for 4 hours and still didn't see everything!! Trouble wanted to go the zoo for his birthday. So here are the pictures:
Papa as a zookeeper: Beautiful Eagles:
A snake eating a mouse:
Gila Monster:
Lizard hanging upside down:
There seemed to be quite a few mom/kid combos. The kids got a kick out of seeing the babies with their mommies. Here is one mom with baby picture:
With moustache:
These things were huge (please excuse my lack of knowledge of all the animals):
The nocturnal house is always my favorite. Probably because I'm a bit nocturnal myself. I'm just impressed with their special adaptations.
Backpack a bit tired, cold and hungry.
The zoo was proud of their ownership of this Indian Rhino. He was a bit bored!
White Tiger behaving so elegantly:
There were quite a few animals that stared right us. Obviously they are use to zoo life. In Minot during off peak days the animals were acting like they belonged to a circus. I guess they missed humans, so when we did come along they were excited!
The kids, oh so excited :-)
One bored lion. Can you see the figure 8 he has worn in the ground from pacing??
We were humored by these guys...or the other way around! This one came down to the ground by Backpack and tapped on the glass and put his hands on the glass where Backpacks hands were.
Growing up we had a dog named Butch. He was a lab/chow mix. he looked just like a brown bear, with a long curled tail. So imagine this animals a few pounds lighter, black nosed and a tail and that was our dog. We'd had him for 13 years.
Picture of a Kookaburra, just in case we didn't find one in Australia!
A sign of a good trip!

We left the zoo and headed to Jungle Jim's for the centerpiece of our Thanksgiving meal! It was already late, so we didn't get to tour the store. We made it home safely to continue our adventures with Papa.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Trouble's Birthday

Trouble's Birthday was on November 22nd. That day we skyp'd with Yaya while Trouble opened his present from her.
It was one of those kid digital cameras. He's had a lot fun with it. He takes pictures and movies and plays games. There is even a function to record audio to go with a pictures; like a talking picture frame.

Papa flew in the next day. I made a 'Zoom' cake. (That is McQueen's nickname).

We then had our dear friends, The Thompsons, over for cake and ice cream.

Travis and I made this agreement that we'd only do friend birthdays for all the year's divisible by 4. It sort of works. I love birthday and I love to throw parties. That was a hard agreement for me :-)

It is so amazing how much a child develops in a year. Trouble is a sweet, funny, happy go lucky, and one good lookin' kid. He has a ton of energy that is easily converted into in work and hard play. He's always loved books, drawing, doing crafts, and playing games. He is well coordinated. Knock-knock jokes are his favorite because he loves a good laugh. We are constantly amazed by his memory, which makes it difficult to secretly purge toys. Since he is quick to understand even the most difficult subjects, he doesn't mind a quick purge as long as he is present to have a say in what goes!! He is eager to please. If we ask him his option his usual answer is, "whatever makes you happy". He has inherited a scientific mind; always asking questions, seeking answers, and doing experiments. He was a super easy baby and continues to be a great kid despite the blog name)! We are blessed to have him in our lives.

Happy Birthday, Trouble!!!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Merry Christmas!

We hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas!! Travis and I left for Australia on Wed. Dec. 16th and returned Christmas afternoon. So we celebrated on Boxing Day. Grammy and Yaya watched the kiddos at our house while we 'honeymooned'. Grammy flew out before we arrived home. Yaya got to stay and celebrated with us. There will be plenty of details to follow.
Here is the Christmas card we sent out this year:And the letter. It is scanned and hard to read, so I've re-written it out below:Greetings! This year we are saying BOO to our annual Christmas letter! Our life is much more interesting in terms of ‘Thumbs up’ and ‘Thumbs down’. The story goes that many years ago when we team taught Sunbeams (the 3 year old Sunday school class at church) we used ‘Thumbs up’ and ‘Thumbs down’ to basically describe gospel principals. For example, “Sue listened to her mommy…thumbs up!” or “Johnny told a lie…thumbs down!” This practice followed us into parenthood and for explaining, well, just about anything! So here is our 1st annual “Thumbs up! Thumbs down!” list of 2009.

Thumb up: Orders to go to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base
Thumb Down: Having to finish the house and say goodbye

Thumb up: Finishing the house
Thumb Down: Travis putting up siding in -45F weather

Thumb up: Selling the house!!!!
Thumb Down: Letting go of our first house

Thumb up: Moving to Dayton, Ohio!! Visiting Papa on the way
Thumb Down: Driving through Illinois

Thumb up: WE LOVE DAYTON, so much to do and see!!!
Thumb Down: That we love Dayton too much

Thumb up: Found out where the Children’s Hospital is
Thumb Down: Backpack getting stitches in his thumb

Thumb up: Dynomite loves to dance
Thumb Down: Saving money now to afford it later

Thumb up: Trouble is a whiz kid at preschool
Thumb Down: He’s outsmarting his parents already

Thumb up: Dynomite potty trains herself
Thumb Down: In her words, “But Trouble gets to stand”….

Thumb up: Denay & kids went home to visit tons of people
Thumb Down: Not too many invites to come back next year…

Thumb up: Travis went to Alaska to see Dad
Thumb Down: Travis brought home 40lbs of Salmon

Thumb up: Our ward is AWESOME!!
Thumb Down: We’ll be moving again in 2011

Thumb up: Travis finished his 1st Masters in Space Studies
Thumb Down: Just in time to start 2nd Masters in Space Systems

Thumb up: Denay writes for Examiner.com
Thumb Down: Free time is out the window

Thumb up: We hit 100 posts on our blog
Thumb Down: Not many comments…hint, hint…

Thumb up: Travis & Denay going to Australia for Christmas!!!
Thumb Down: Kids get to hang with the Grandmas!

We had Christmas pictures done. We opted to have studio portraits because of the weather, otherwise we would've had then done outside again.

Christmas wouldn't be complete without a screaming baby with Santa.
We went to The Greene and paid to have this picture taken. No discounts for uncooperative kids!!Not more than a week later we discovered free Walmart pictures with Santa.Travis was just there for moral support ;-)
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