T Rex Family

T Rex Family

Monday, December 29, 2008

Update to blog...

As you might have noticed, this blog has a new title: T Rex Mom and Dad Tales.

Skip will now be helping me with posts since it is becoming increasingly difficult for one person to keep up with everything.

Plus, he has some interesting insights that will shake things up!


(P.S. For now we're keeping the address the same. We will let you know if it, too, changes.)

D & D Gaming

We had our friends over this weekend to do some role play gaming - D & D. Here are highlights from the adventure:

Thomas helping Dad with his character sheet - no, we have not yet rolled up a character for Thomas! The game officially kicked off at 7:30 - T Rex bedtime!

Our DM - Anya seems to think she is his "familiar" for the night!

"Okay, what are we going to do? Polymorph self or shrink?"

The board is set - the evil magic user is down - what next?

More deliberations...

"What spells do I have that might be useful?"

Let's see what the dice have to say?

Hmmmm, let the scheming begin...

Thanks everyone who participated. It was a fun time - as always. We're looking forward to our next adventure very soon!

Snow Photos

Just a few photos to document the snowiest December I've ever experienced!

Thomas watching Dad and Sydney shovel snow through the back door.

After Skip was done shoveling the driveway - note our light up snowman is nearly covered!

A couple of views of our street and neighborhood

Me watching Skip shovel the drive.

Friday, December 26, 2008

White Christmas

Yes, it was definitely a white Christmas this year!

It snowed Christmas Eve, then rained, and then snowed again Christmas morning. Crazy weather!

Snow on Christmas Eve - this is our backyard

Snow on Christmas Morn - doesn't it look bitterly cold out there?

Skip shoveling a path so Sydney and the little dogs could get around the back yard. The little ones were shoulder deep in snow before he cleared a path for them. (View from back door.)

This is a photo from the front door - our light up snow man is half buried!

We had just the most wonderful Christmas. It was calmer than in recent years. Mostly because of Thomas we were not running from one Christmas gathering to another. Instead, we watched Charlie Brown Christmas, watched for Santa, read, and slept.

We both commented this was probably the best Christmas we have had since we got married - I think having a youngling to share the magical holiday season with makes a huge difference. I think it will only continue to get even better. I can only imagine what that will be like.

Santa's (Mrs. Claus' too) handy work - they left a note for Thomas stating that the kitchen set took 3 hours to assemble. Thanks for all your hard work, Santa and Mrs. Claus! This must explain why all the cookies were devoured!

Thomas gave us the best Christmas present ever - he slept until 8:45. We were such changed people the next day. We've never had such a good night's rest since he's been born. Of course, last night he woke up 6-7 times from teething. But we were still charged up on sleep from the previous night so no biggie.

After a day at home we spent the evening of Christmas at my in-law's place. Mom made a delicious turkey roast, mashed potatoes, gravy, sweet potatoes, and pumpkin pie. It was SO good. We all ate way too much. Thomas played with his grandparents and ran, yes, RAN, around their house.

Thomas cruising Grandma and Grandpa's place

Rocking in Grandpa's chair - he climbed up there all by himself - scary!

Family photo evening of Christmas - Thomas was ready for sleep so he was not wanting to smile.

We then came home and enjoyed the rest of our relaxing and happy day.

I do hope all of you had a wonderful and merry Christmas. Christmas truly is the most wonderful season of the year. My hope is that we can carry that spirit with us the whole year through.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve Salute: Hail The Heroes

NASA photos

Remember when the world was young? Where things really simpler then? Do you think these times we live in now, these troubled times, are anything new? Well... Forty years ago tonight our country, and the world, were in much the same situation as we find ourselves today. People, especially Americans, felt a bit lost then, just as now. Our country seemed adrift. Wars, economic troubles, unpopular leaders, a country split by discord; left and right. And the world seemed to be going mad.

Then from space, came a message from the first people to leave our home planet. From orbit around the Moon they spoke as they began their final orbit, after which they hoped their ship would bring them home again. They gave themselves only a 50/50 chance of returning alive. The words they spoke were a surprise to everyone - NASA expected more inadequate descriptions of the scenery outside their spacecraft windows. Instead came something else.

Supposedly half the people alive on that day in 1968 heard their broadcast or watched it on TV and saw the Earth set behind the edge of the Moon. Watched as their planet with every single person alive disappeared in the distance. The message Apollo 8 sent resonated then and it resonates still, forty years later. Here's to those heroes who ventured forth, not knowing whether they would return. Who sent the right message at the right time to remind us where we come from, and to remember Christmas.

Here's to the heroes:

Commander Frank Borman
Command Module Pilot James Lovell
Lunar Module Pilot William Anders

December 24th, 1968:
William A. Anders:
We are now approaching lunar sunrise. And, for all the people back on earth, the crew of Apollo 8 have a message that we would like to send to you.
"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. "

James A. Lovell, Jr.:
"And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day. And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so. And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day."

Frank Borman:
"And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so. And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good."
And from the crew of Apollo 8, we close, with good night, good luck, a Merry Christmas, and God bless all of you, all of you on the good earth.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Twilight Confessions

So Skip and I have both been dying to see the vampire movie Twilight. My mom friends got me started on reading the books, and they have even waited for me to finish the first one before we all go see the movie.

When another friend mentioned to Skip she wanted to go see it, he set up a time for us to go. So I couldn't turn down the fun time, right? Especially since the last time he and I went to the movies was in July!

Thinking I could also go with my mom friends at a later time, I agreed. Plus, I was just bursting to see who was cast for all the characters after having an image in my head of who everyone looks like.

It was a great movie, by the way. Except we did not get to see the end. I failed to mention that the friend we went with is a physician. No usually of huge importance except when the person sitting behind you in the theater suffers a medical emergency.

I'm an RN by trade but I've never worked in the ER and I honestly just assumed the girl was sleeping. I've slept through movies before but when she would not wake up, that was scary. Skip immediately knew something was wrong. He rushed to the aid of the individual and grabbed our friend in the process to have her assess the situation. Luckily, I didn't have to do anything. He then called 9-1-1 and they arrived at the theater 15 minutes later.

My two heroes - Dr. NM and Skip - they took care of the whole emergency

So, we missed probably the last 10 - 15 minutes of the movie - I'm guessing. The good news, the girl seems to be alright but still needed to go to the hospital. We got refunds for the movie. And as my physician friend, Dr. NM, said, "Never a dull time with you guys!"

Yes, never a dull time but now I'm dying to see the end. I know what happens but I want to see if the magical prom is as wonderful on screen as I imagined it from reading the book.

To my mom friends, my apologies for not waiting to see it with you. I think fate intervened and determined I need to wait to see the end with you!

Dr. NM, thank you for such a fun visit even with the craziness. We never have a dull time with you either!

Sunday, December 21, 2008


Every morning most of the geese in the valley fly over our house en route from the river. This morning was no exception.

This group was a bit disorganized but this is usually how they get before they merge into a giant group. I wish I could get a shot of one of those! Sometimes the sky is filled across the valley with different flocks of geese merging into one giant group!

You can see from the photos that it's cold and snowy outside.

What you cannot hear is the honking the geese make. It's just awesome to hear. And they always make the trek back to the river and surrounding fields. Sometimes we will see 500 - 1000 going over in the morning and evening.

We live in a pretty cool place to get to enjoy scenes such as this from our living room window.

Saturday, December 20, 2008


It's been quite cold and snowy here. People say a picture is worth a thousand words so here's two thousand words worth!

View from my kitchen window.

I took both these photos with my birthday present - this was what it looked like on my birthday. However, I braved the weather to go down to the hospital to see my friend who just had her baby. It made for a nice birthday!

Sydney on her birthday - she just turned nine. Happy Birthday, Syd!

Don't worry about Sydney, she can go in the insulated garage anytime and has a bed and heater. Sometimes I'll even wrap her up in a blanket. The past couple night's we've brought her kennel in so she could be cozy in the house. We just have to be very careful with Thomas. He loves her but she makes him wheeze.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Holiday Eating Tips

Once again, my faithful friend, LB, passed along some blog-worthy info.



1. Avoid carrot sticks. Anyone who puts carrots on a holiday buffet table knows nothing of the Christmas spirit. In fact, if you see carrots, leave immediately. Go next door, where they're serving rum balls.

2. Drink as much eggnog as you can. And quickly. It's rare.. You cannot find it any other time of year but now. So drink up! Who cares that it has 10,000 calories in every sip? It's not as if you're going to turn into an eggnog-alcoholic or something. It's a treat. Enjoy it. Have one for me. Have two. It's later than you think. It's Christmas!

3. If something comes with gravy, use it. That's the whole point of gravy. Gravy does not stand alone. Pour it on. Make a volcano out of your mashed potatoes. Fill it with gravy. Eat the volcano. Repeat.

4. As for mashed potatoes, always ask if they're made with skim milk or whole milk. If it's skim, pass. Why bother? It's like buying a sports car with an automatic transmission.

5. Do not have a snack before going to a party in an effort to control your eating. The whole point of going to a Christmas party is to eat other people's food for free. Lots of it. Hello?

6. Under no circumstances should you exercise between now and New Year's. You can do that in January when you have nothing else to do. This is the time for long naps, which you'll need after circling the buffet table while carrying a 10-pound plate of food and that vat of eggnog.

7. If you come across something really good at a buffet table, like frosted Christmas cookies in the shape and size of Santa, position yourself near them and don't budge. Have as many as you can before becoming the center of attention. They're like a beautiful pair of shoes. If you leave them behind, you're never going to see them again.

8. Same for pies. Apple, Pumpkin, Mincemeat. Have a slice of each. Or if you don't like mincemeat, have two apples and one pumpkin. Always have three. When else do you get to have more than one dessert? Labor Day?

9. Did someone mention fruitcake? Granted, it's loaded with the mandatory celebratory calories, but avoid it at all cost. I mean, have some standards.

10. One final tip: If you don't feel terrible when you leave the party or get up from the table, you haven't been paying attention. Re-read tips; start over, but hurry, January is just around the corner. Remember this motto to live by:

"Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming "WOO HOO what a ride!"

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Evening Project - Gingerbread Train

With all the economic hardship going on, I am anticipating this to be the last "frivolous" Christmas for us. "Frivolous" being a relative term. I don't go over board all that much. But I do consider sending $10 on a gingerbread train kit to be "conspicuous consumption".

So, here it is. My evening project that I invested $10 into this year. And if I do one next year, it will probably be made from stale graham crackers or something of that sort.

2009 we go into serious cost savings mode!

Enjoy the last one for a while...

Kit pieces

Early assembling...

Finished Product - I stole some of Skip's birthday M&Ms too!

It definitely does not look like the one in the photo - they never do, but I am a little partial to mine anyway!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Live Nativity Scene

Last night we went to a really cool live nativity. I've always wanted to go to one. There used to be one every year a the church up the road where I lived for several years. And every year I said I was going but things never worked out. Well, this year, by serendipitous chance, they did!

The event was held at the Christian non-denominational church just below the hill to our house. It was one that you just drive through. I was totally impressed!

Outside snow was falling so it made for a beautiful evening. Especially since we were toasty warm in our cars. But, the photos are a little distorted from the camera flash against the snowflakes. There are still a few cool shots - I love the one of the camel. (Remember they are taken from the inside of the car.)

I was so busy snapping photos that by the time we got to baby Jesus, the cars behind us were getting restless and I could get no more shots. So, that's why there is not one of him. It's not that I am forgetting who Christmas is really about.

It felt like such a "Christmasy" (yes, I make up words) thing to do! Truly!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Polar Bears - amazing creatures...

Right now Thomas is totally into bears. Panda bears have always been his favorite because we used to have a black and white panda flash card next to his changing table to encourage him to look to the left - trying to keep his head nicely shaped.

Next it became all things bears - polar bears, panda bears, blue bears, yellow bears...

Now this is his favorite book - Knut, the Baby Polar Bear. I have to admit, it charms me too. And Knut's caretaker's name - Thomas!

I stumbled onto this today and was just totally amazed me. After seeing the photos of Knut in the book I was just commenting to Skip this morning about how expressive they are and wondering if all bears are like this. I'm not sure but after looking at this link, I believe you will agree what amazing animals polar bears are!

Disclaimer - I am totally an oxymoron - I have conservative tendencies except when it comes to animals and kids (I, too, want to save the polar bears and my kid eats all organic foods). Then I tend to be on the liberal end of the spectrum. So, don't think I've jumped the fence on my political views. And I will NOT be subscribing to his blog.

What happens when a polar bear encounters a pack of dogs? Find out here (click on the photo):

Some of you will also be receiving my Defenders of Wildlife Polar Bear Christmas cards too. So, you'll see an adorable photo of a mother bear hugging her baby - coming to a mailbox near you!

Friday, December 12, 2008

For Sydney, Anya, and Sonador...

'He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are his life, his love, his leader. He will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of his heart. You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion.'
--- Author Unknown

(With Anya and Sonador just before Thomas was born)
Since Thomas was born last year, our pups have been getting much less attention. And we knew this was bound to happen. But finding out that he is horribly allergic to dogs and they trigger his asthma, made life a whole lot more complicated.

Skip and I are both devout animal lovers. And getting Anya was a big deal for us. She was our first child together (Sydney our lab was mine before we were married.)

Anya came all the way from Italy. And she was raised very much like a human child. So we knew the transition to human parenthood would be a strain on our all canine relationships.

Ecstatic pups upon Thomas' arrival home - oh, and they're probably happy to see me too!

Anya, Skip, and Thomas (1 week old)
This really did not impact Sydney, our Lab, since she is always outside and can get to her bed in the garage (with a heater). But for Anya and Sonador, it has been a huge change for them spending time in the laundry room and the side yard.

Syd with her daily morning milk bone - she turns nine on Sunday. See that gray muzzle?

Anya has always been queen of the caste or "our little princess". She has had the most challenges with Thomas. Being exiled from the bed and couch have been especially difficult. But she has Sonador, whom she treats more like her pet and less like a sibling.

Princess Anya taking over both beds while waiting for me to move them into the laundry room.

All that aside, we still love them and have a special place
in our hearts for them. However, I definitely feel unworthy of the love and devotion they give me every day no matter how happy or grouchy I happen to be that day.

I can certainly take a lesson from them.

Can't we all?!?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Tortilla Traditions (and Recipe, too!)

When I picked T Rex up on Tuesday (see photo to side - I am walking up to the door to pick him up and he spotted me), Mom was making tortillas. I wish there was some way I could post the smell I walked into on Tuesday upon arriving at my mom's apartment. It was delicious!

I did take some photos of her making tortillas. And I am willing to share the recipe. However, they very challenging to make them unless you have someone walking you through the process. And even then it takes years of experience to achieve true tortilla making success. The hardest part - getting them round! My sister and I always joke that we make the 50 states every time we make a batch. Although, each time I seem to get better at it!

I grew up with tortillas instead of bread. In fact, I would trade my tortilla for someone else's peanut butter and jelly sandwich during lunch. Most of the time, I could get any sandwich I wanted because everyone else wanted the tortillas. Yes, in the Thomas L. Reeves Elementary School lunch room there was tortilla dealing going on - no drugs there!

Later when I was a bit older and no longer trading lunches, Mom and I made tortillas to sell so I could pay for cheerleading camp. She also made tamales for fundraising but I haven't learned how to make those yet. Very complicated and very delicious!

So, here's the tortilla recipe if you are brave enough to give it a try. Actually there is no recipe. Really, you just sort of have to go with it. But here's the best I can do...

2 - 3 cups self-rising flour (if you use regular flour you will also need baking powder maybe 1/2 tsp and 1/4 tsp salt)
approximately 1/4 cup shortening
(you can use lard too, but many in the family are allergic to pork so we stick with regular shortening)
Water - enough to make doughy

Knead ingredients together to make a dough. Separate dough into balls and flatten slightly with hands.

Then on a slightly floured surface roll each flatten ball into a tortilla.

Heat dry skillet (I use a cast iron flat pan) to medium. When hot, place flattened tortilla on skillet.

When you see it start to bubble slightly, turn over. I use my fingers to turn it over but I am sure you can use a spatula. When both sides are browned, remove from heat and place on kitchen towel to cool.

Yields at least 12 tortillas or maybe a dozen and a half. (They will be fatter than those in the store so don't think you did something wrong.)

I always eat mine warm. I've just never been fond of them cold. Everyone else I know loves them warm or cold. And you can heat them in the microwave for 10 - 15 seconds to reheat. But it's just not the same to me.

Please let me know if you try this. And also if you would like me to make some with you to show you how. I am by no means an expert like my mom. She has far more experience than I do, but I continue learn every time. I just want to make sure I am able to pass along the tradition to my children as well.

T Rex chowing down on Nan's famous tortillas! He will NOT eat store bought!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Seasons Greetings from Idaho

This house is in our neighborhood. I think it pretty much tells how things are in Idaho.

I have nothing against gun ownership. However, I do think it is a private matter and should not be "glorified" in such depictions.