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San Jose > Detroit

Wow, what a great early birthday present! Jeanette got a couple great tickets to the San Jose Sharks vs Detriot Red Wings game Saturday. 3rd row, right by the Sharks bench. The game was great,… more like playoff hockey than mid-season doldrums.


Seeing the speed of play at ice level is something else. I used to think that maybe I could possible keep up with the speed of these guys, but no way… this experience cured me of that!

The whole game was back and forth and high scoring, and the Sharks came out on top, 6-5, regaining the lead for top in the NHL over Boston. Here’s hoping there’s a Sharks vs Bruins match-up for the Stanley Cup next June!

I can’t believe it’s been 2 weeks since Thanksgiving already!  Christmas is fast approaching, so I figured I had better get in this post before it’s just too late.

My parents came out this year to spend Thanksgiving week with us and to attend Grandparent’s Day at the kids’ school.   The kids all get such a big kick out of having a campus full of Grandparent’s and letting them see what it’s like being in school today.  They even got to eat school lunch together (although, for this occasion the school brings in pizza).  🙂

Usually when my Mom and Dad come out, we plan on doing some cool hikes and other walking around activities.  Unfortunately, my Dad injured his knee just before the visit, so we ended up taking it easy on him.  Derek definitely sympathized with him.  🙁   We did manage to get up to San Francisco and do a little walking around to check out the newly reopened California Academy of Sciences.   Talk about nuts!   The line was ridiculously long!  …but we finally managed to get in.  Here we are checking out the living roof.


The highlight of the visit had to be the enclosed tropical rain forest  exhibit with free flying butterflies and birds and all kinds of cool reptiles to check out.  You can play a little “I spy a frog” in the next few photos. 🙂




…and we just could not figure out what these butterflies were up to.  😉


There were also these amazingly beautiful striking blue butterflies in the exhibit (these were Theresa’s and my favorite) and these cool zebra stripped ones. Even though the number of people there was a bit overwhelming, we did all have a great time.   Afterward, we met up with my Aunt Sue who lives in San Francisco and had some great Thai food in the city…. but what’s Thanksgiving without turkey and of course lots of pie ?!!!  Theresa and James were happy to pose with both!



Cherry pie was Theresa’s request and then I made fresh pumpkin pie with yummy local Sugar Pie pumpkins we bought.

We hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving with family and friends!  It’s definitely during this time of year where we wish that the family wasn’t so spread out all across the world.  We miss you all and hope to see you soon!

First Sleepover…

 Theresa’s 9 years old!   Doesn’t seem like it could be possible.  Didn’t she just look like this?!!!


Now she’s almost as tall as me already, in the 4th grade, sending e-mails between friends and asking for her first sleepover birthday party – sheesh!

So, sleepover birthday it was, and I have to say it was a lot of fun.   Theresa kept it to a small group of girls AND I made a deal with a good friend to take James for the night so we didn’t have to deal with any “Mommmmm!   James won’t leave us aloooooooone!!” all night.  🙂  That was a really good call….and Derek and I will be doing the same for them for their daughter’s sleepover party this Saturday!  Perfect!

Theresa helped me make her cake this year.  She picked a seahorse for her theme and this is what we came up with.  We made the sea grass and star fish out of sugar cookies and the fins out of melted lifesavers.


For evening fun, Derek and I created a treasure hunt with riddles the girls had to solve to find the next treasure and the next clue.  We made them work pretty hard, but they had a blast.


Then after some yummy chocolate cake,the girls headed to their room and got on their PJs and each decorated their own set of slippers.  I found these really neat kits on-line and thankfully it was a huge hit (sometimes you just don’t know how well a craft will go over).   The slippers turned out great and the girls had fun coming out and modeling them for me and Derek when they finished.

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Ahhhh….but the night was still very, very young.  Only 9pm don’t you know…FAR too early to call it a night when having a sleepover.     I did manage to get a token photo of the girls set up with their sleep bags before more fun began.


….then we were off on some serious Guitar Hero battles, webkinz visiting and more Wii games.


Finally, around 11:45pm I got the girls to retire to the room and try to call it a night.  I finally stopped hearing giggles around 12:30am…although I found out the next morning that 2 of the girls stayed up whispering until 3:00am!   Hard to believe, but they were all up and at em by 7:30am and ready to finish off the morning with a fun breakfast of build your own crepes before heading home.   Needless to say, by around 3pm in the afternoon, Theresa was completely wiped out and could barely stay awake.   🙂   Happy Birthday Theresa!

Knee surgery again

Well, I went in for repair of my ACL again. Things went well, though the surgery went longer than the last time. My surgeon ended up cleaning up some roughness on my kneecap and my meniscus while he was in there. At this point I’m off the narcotics and getting around on crutches. I figure another week and I’ll be back moving around relatively normally, then doing some physical therapy.

Anyway,  at least football season is back on TV and hockey is soon to be back, so I should be able to stay entertained from the couch while I heal. That and guitar hero.

Sigh….summer went by way too fast.   I can’t believe we are back in full swing of school, homework, sports, schedule, schedule, schedule…  At least we were able to sneak in just one more vacation – Colorado!!   The main reason we planned the trip was to surprise my Grandma for her 80th birthday party.   She had no idea that we were flying out!!  It was great fun having the family together to celebrate her birthday and play a little friendly penny anti poker – a long family tradition.  My uncle John just couldn’t resist picking up another long standing tradition of starting a food/water fight either – I got even by getting the top of his head with whipped cream.  🙂   James kept forgetting his name and just kept calling him “the purple guy” (because of his purple shirt) – too funny.

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As per usual, it’s always a challenge trying to squeeze in seeing some old friends while we are visiting.  However, on this trip we did manage to see Derek’s good college friend (and our best man in our wedding), Chris Rice and his wife, Cora. We hadn’t met their new little girl (last time we saw them Cora was pregnant), so it was really great to have a chance to catch up with them!


We also got to spend some quality time with our nephew, Peter.   We hadn’t seen him since October of last year, and…wow!…has he changed.  He’s talking up a storm!  He just loved hanging out with Theresa and James too!    We went up to the rec center by my parents and hit the pool and water slides there and also took him to play mini-golf – what a crack up!

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Before going out to Colorado this year, Derek and I came up with an idea to rent a cabin up in the Rocky Mountain National Park instead of just hanging out in the Denver area the whole week.  We weren’t sure who would be game, so at first we just scoped out places that would sleep around 6-8 people….but as it turned out  EVERYONE said yes!!   It definitely changed our search a bit….but we found a quaint little “cabin” in Grand Lake that could “squeeze” in 16 people.   Oh…alright…no way you should be allowed to call this thing a “cabin”….it was at LEAST twice as big as our house!!!!  This thing had 3 floors, 4 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, a huge kitchen/dining/family room area and an awesome deck on the front to hang out on.  The crew included all of my family and Derek’s sister Jessica even made it up for a day of hiking with all of us and stayed for one night!   It was really nice getting to spend relaxing time with the family – my brother, Brian, and his wife, Shelly, put on a treasure hunt for the kids, lots of cards and family games, playing in the fort someone built on the property, hanging out on the deck, and of course lots of eating.   The timing was also perfect to celebrate my brother’s 34th birthday at the cabin!!

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We got in some great hikes while we were up there – Emerald Lake, a few mile stroll along a river, a hike that started above timber line, and a tough one on the last day to Fern Falls with just my parents.   It was really great hiking up in the Rocky Mountains….brought back a lot of great memories of growing up hiking and back-packing as a kid.   I had forgotten just how amazing the views are hiking at those elevations (and yes, we were definitely huffing and puffing that first couple of days up there being sea level folks these days). 🙂   We had some great wildlife viewing as well – lots of elk, marmots, pikas, some snakes and even a fox right outside the cabin (James was actually the one to spot it!).

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Theresa and James finished out our Rocky Mountain trip by both becoming Junior Rangers.  James did awesome answering why we shouldn’t feed the animals and Theresa was able to answer questions about the different climate zones in the park!  🙂


A great way to end the summer….

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