BrondaBailey’s Weblog

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Guess What? Another post!

I attended the FJH band concert tonight.  It was delightful – there was plenty of John Williams music (Star Wars, Jurrasic Park, E.T., the Cowboys) and I took some nice pictures for the end of year slide show.  But one of the best parts was actually after the concert.

Post Band Concert Fun

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May 13, 2009 Posted by | Amusing Anecdote, Flickr Update, Ron's Posts | Leave a comment

Birthday

Hooray for being another year older.  Ron and I have just had our birthdays which means now that I am 30 and Ron is only 29 I am pretty much ancient.  We had a birthday party with my family this last Friday and I had this great idea for a cake.  I decided to combine my love of Disney with Ron’s love of Star Wars and made a Jedi Mickey Mouse cake.  I was really happy with how it turned out and wanted to share. 

March 29, 2009 Posted by | Bren's Posts, Flickr Update | , , , | 5 Comments

Catching Up

I’ve noticed in the last few days (or possibly nights) that we have not had any blog posts in a while and that we should try to catch up a little on what has been happening in our lives. Obviously, the adjustment from one kid to two is taking a good amount of time. It is amazing that even though Luke is only a year old, I have forgotten so much about taking care of newborn. I had forgotten how many times you get up in the middle of the night to feed the baby. How many diapers you change, not to mention how often the baby will try to soak you while changing those diapers. I had even forgotten how much of the time the baby sleeps. Unfortunately that gets spread throughout the day and not just at night. (I know that will come eventually). However, even with the lack of sleep (like the fact that I am starting to write this post at 1:40 am) I am truly enjoying every minute of it.

I think the best way that I can catch up on what is happening, is to go through some of our recent pictures and show off our wonderful boys.

Brothers and Dad
This is a great picture of my “boys”. I love to see Ron and Luke admiring baby Jack so much.

Diaper on shelf
This is a great example of one way that we have been so busy. Luke has really taken to pulling books off of his shelves and pulling diapers out of the garbage can to replace them. It is amazing how much he can get in to when he is left to his own devices for a few minutes.

Luke and tree

As you can see, we are anxiously preparing for Christmas. This is actually Luke’s second Christmas, but the first that he can actually do anything. (However, if his birthday was any sign, getting him to open the presents when we want him to might be a bit of a challenge.)

Jack

This will be Jack’s first Christmas, but I’m sure the only thing he really wants for Christmas is to not have Luke climb on him for one whole day. Luke loves his little brother, but hasn’t quite figured out that he can’t climb on him, poke his eyes, grab his nose, or dive on the bouncer while Jack is sitting in it. However, he does do a great job of bringing Jack’s pacifier when he is crying and watching as if to say, Mom can’t you make him stop. Fortunately for all of us, Jack doesn’t cry much.

048
As you might have guessed, Luke has finally figured out that he is supposed to smile at the camera when we take his picture. I love the cheesy little smile he puts on for us.

Hangin' around
Here, Ron can be seen holding both boys as we often do. Luke does seem to get a little jealous at times and wants to be held while we are feeding Jack. As a result, we sit at the computer while we feed him so that Luke can sit on our lap and watch some of his favorite YouTube videos: “C is for Cookie”, “Rubber Duckie”, “and “White & Nerdy”. As you might imagine, his father is so proud of him.

Jack in Husky shirt
Of course I had to add a picture of Jack in all of his cuteness. Then to show off how much his brother loves him, is the picture of what Luke is doing while I’m trying to take the picture.

Brothers

Luke's Birthday Party
This last weekend was Luke’s first birthday and we had a great time celebrating. Luke discovered early last week that if he chewed on the corner of the Christmas presents they would start to open and then he could easily pull of some of the paper to eat. After chasing him away from the tree all week I figured that he would be thrilled to open his birthday presents. However, for the most part he just looked at them and waited for someone else to open it for him. We tried desperately to tear a little part and get him to open the rest, but he just wasn’t that interested. Despite the lack of interest in the presents, he was very excited about the cake. When he first stuck his hands into the bright blue frosting of his batman cake, he wasn’t quite sure what to do. He looked like he was playing with play dough for a while because he just kept smashing the frosting in his fingers. He did eventually taste a little of it and decided it was a great thing and proceeded to smash cake and frosting all over his face. On Saturday we had cake with Ron’s family for Luke’s birthday too and by then he knew exactly what to do. He quickly dug his hands in and went at it. Or, maybe it was just because it was a Spiderman cake and Spiderman is his favorite of the super heroes. (As a side note, Luke has started making the web slinging noise that Ron always makes as he is swinging him down the hallway. In the last couple of days he has even started sticking his hands out when he does it, but he can’t quite get his hands into the right formation so he just sticks out one finger and makes the noise. It is really cute.) I think for his first birthday, Luke had a great time and we had a great time watching him make such a mess. Surprising how cute a mess can be.
Luke eats his 1 year old cake

So now you can see what we have been up to lately. However, amidst all of the chaos that is life, we want to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Bailey Family Christmas

December 23, 2008 Posted by | Bren's Posts, Christmas Memories, Flickr Update | 4 Comments

2008 Christmas Ornaments Premiere!

christmas_ornament

LAME!

I’d guess that buying a new Christmas ornament every year is a fairly common thing. Brenda and I cemented it as a family tradition early on. Each year, every member of the family (Brenda and I are combined) gets a brand-spanking new ornament for the tree. I’m not talking about a new shiny glass ornament shaped like a ball, I’m talking, a cool (normally licensed ornament) that costs approximately its weight in aluminum.  (Does anyone know how much aluminum is by the bulk these days?  I’m not sure, but worth their weight in gold sounded a little excessive.)  The plan is that someday, when we send our children off into the world, they’ll have some darn cool ornaments to start off their first tree.

Over the years Brenda and I have found a few good ornaments at “normal” stores (I’ve gotten some cool ones from Toys R Us) but usually, we’ve discovered that it’s faster and easier just to go to Hallmark, choke down paying too much for an ornament, and moving on with life.  There is a metric buttload (that’s slightly smaller than the Imperial buttload) of ornaments on eBay (like this high quality gator in a sweater and these so-called Rompin’ Stompin’ Cowboy boot ones) , but browsing through them isn’t the easiest if you don’t have something in particular in mind.

So off we went to Hallmarks in the mall and buy ornaments we did.  I now proudly present to you, the Bailey Family Ornaments of 2008!

2008 Christmas Ornaments (3)

This is the one Brenda and I chose. It lights up and makes bips and boops from the early 80's. I know, you're jealous. It's ok.

2008 Christmas Ornaments

Luke got a Spider-Man. This ornament is a really nifty piece of work showing off the power of perspective. He may or may not have had help selecting it.

2008 Christmas Ornaments (2)

This is Jack's ornament for 2008. For his first ornament, we selected a classic Pooh. You can never go wrong with Pooh, right? Technically, we purchased this before we knew he is a "he," but another benefit of Pooh is that he's pretty gender neutral.

And, for the record, the lights ARE blinking on the bottom half of the tree tonight. I have no idea why.

December 1, 2008 Posted by | Christmas Memories, Flickr Update, Ron's Posts | , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Brothers

Just a quick note to let everyone know that all is well. We’re home, Jack’s home, Luke’s home, and Taffy’s home. So, things are going great. (cluttered of course, thanks to Luke’s innate desire to empty every drawer, cupboard, closet, and storage space in the house onto the floor.) Luke still doesn’t seem too interested in his little brother. The more I think about this, the more it makes sense. He’s not even one yet, he doesn’t know what’s really going on. I guess in my mind’s eye he was going to have an epiphany and suddenly strike up a conversation with me about how nice it is to be a big brother. In retrospect, expecting anything that is not Cookie Monster, flashing with bright lights, or dancing around crazily to keep his attention for more than about 30 seconds might have been expecting a little much. We did however get a great shot of him peeking up at Jack on Grandma Bailey’s lap (it wasn’t as great as it would have been if I had had the camera about 20 seconds earlier, but it’s still great.)

Jack 009

November 26, 2008 Posted by | Family News, Flickr Update, Ron's Posts | , , | Leave a comment

Jack has arrived!

I’m leaving the details of the labor and delivery to Brenda (she seems much better suited to discussing the joys of child birth than me) but I wanted to post a couple pictures quick before she gets all serious and introspective and stuff. Here he is:

Gamma-irradiated friend for Baby Jack

Jack and his gamma-irradiated friend.

Grammy with babies

This has got to be one of the best/weirdest pictures of Luke ever. So far, he actually seems pretty ambivalent about the whole little brother thing, but he sure looks giddy in this picture.

November 24, 2008 Posted by | Family News, Flickr Update, Ron's Posts | , , | 7 Comments

Action-y shots of Mento-y Explosions!

If you haven’t read the post below this one, do yourself a favor and do so before you look at these pictures.  Trust me, it will all make sense after you read the one below.  Ok, maybe not make sense, but it will definitely make more sense.  Ok, you’ll probably still wonder why I did this, but at least you’ll know how cool bright orange duct tape makes even the least moving cars look.

Mentos Powered Car (6)

Power, power, POWER!

Mentos Powered Car (9)

Brenda making some post-last minute adjustments. It wasn't long after this that I kicked the car for being so dang heavy. Cassie then called me a sore winner. 😦

Mentos Powered Car (16)

Luke, tuckered out from all the excitement started to get a little fussy at the end.

Mentos Powered Car (13)

Having given up on actually getting our vehicles to move, Adam resorted to lobbing bottles of Diet Coke with Mentos inside backwards over his head. I'm not sure what, if anything, he was trying to accomplish, but I got this cool picture of the aftermath.

November 17, 2008 Posted by | Flickr Update, Ron's Posts | , , | Leave a comment

Mento-RAMA!

Mentos Powered Car (14)

Science in action!

I’m sure that most of you have seen the totally awesome reaction that Diet Coke undergoes when you drop a couple of the peppermint Mentos in it.  This of course, leads to an awesome new meaning to Mentos’ nickname – the Freshmaker!  I’d seen the videos on the Internet sensation as well as the Mythbusters episode discussing the “cultural phenomenon” that is diet cola and Mentos, but I’d never experienced the sheer thrill that comes from dropping nasty, chewy mints into caffeinated, artificially sweetened beverages.  My friend, Adam, decided it was time to change that.

Mentos Powered Car (3)

Yes, we did buy an old RC car from the D.I. and strap a modified 2 liter bottle to it with bright orange duct tape in an attempt to gain forward momentum. Why do you ask?

You see, a few years back, Adam founded a group, that will someday be famous for our many awesome adventures.  We are Nitro Monkee Adventure Team – and we go off in search of adventure, excitement, and the chance to laugh at each other.  Some of our projects were a success (we made a wicked sledding hill once and then tried to kill ourselves on it by repeatedly throwing ourselves down the hill at the mercy of the tube we were using and gravity Our kite powered cart project did not fare as well.  I think a few basic sketches may still exist somewhere, but the only real progress I saw was that I bought a wheel at an Army surplus store for the front of the cart and Josh bought a kite.  I’m pretty sure that’s most of what happened with that project.

Mentos Powered Car (7)

No action figures were harmed in the making of this picture, don't worry. No really - they weren't for two reasons: 1. Adam removed the G.I. Joe before initiating the carbonation explosion and 2. Adam's car never moved. But it looked pretty darn threatening.

However, this project turned out to be a qualified success.  Only one problem arose from this experiment – we learned that while Diet Coke and Mentos looks pretty darn explosive, the reacting foamy spray isn’t really that strong.  Definitely not strong enough to push a modified RC car or a G.I. Joe vehicle with 2 liters of liquid taped onto to it very far.  I’m proud to say that my vehicle (which I just nicknamed “The Freshmaker” despite that fact that I threw it away a week ago) actually ended up winning the competition (if by winning you mean my car moved a couple of millimeters under it’s own power.)  Adam’s action figure tranport took close second in a crowded field of two while Paco’s car (a Batmobile model from Batman Begins) took home the “Best looking vehicle prize despite the fact that he hadn’t actually hooked any Diet Coke to it and pretty much lovingly held it most of the night.”  Other prize winners: Brenda with the “Most Supportive Wife” award (I came up with the idea of using aquarium sealant for the spout on the top, Brenda figured out how to hold the Mentos out of the diet cola until the time of our choosing using a magnet.)  Chewie garnered many accolades for winning the “I Brought My Dog Instead of a Soda and Candy Fueled Car” award.  Cassie won the “Miss Congeniality” award despite the fact that she’s married (her smile always wins over the judges.)  Isabelle was awarded the “I Put Up with Weirdos” award.  Finally, Luke took top honors in the “Coolest Blanket Based on Cartoon Animals” department.  Despite the fact that none of us are candidates for the next “Engineer of the Year” I had a blast and am already making plans on how to improve my performance with the Freshmaker II.

Mentos Powered Car (8)

The family that attempts to shoot off rocket powered cars together, stays together.

Come back tomorrow for some more cool action shots of the activity. And don’t worry, I’m already working on a streamlined design for “The Freshmaker Dos.”

November 16, 2008 Posted by | Family News, Flickr Update, Ron's Posts | , , | 2 Comments

Halloween ’08

Halloween Lightsabers

Jedi Trainee Luke Skywalker, Jedi Master Yoda, and Padawan Bariss Offee on the prowl for candy (with cool lightsaber effects!)

Greetings faithful blog readers – this is your somewhat less than faithful blog writer!  I’ve been a little wishy-washy about upkeep on the blog of late.  It might have something to do with video games.  It might have something to do with the 4 week old cold I’ve had for 3 too many weeks.  It might have something to do with life in general.  I’m not sure – but here’s the news:  I’m back!

Halloween

"When 900 years old you reach, have cool pants like me you will not!"

So, Friday was of course, my favorite holiday based on Scottish and Irish traditions brought to America in the nineteenth century.  (I was going to say my favorite holiday based on pagan traditions, but many of our modern holidays parallel traditions from those wacky pagans of yore – see here for more details.)

Anyway, since Friday was a teacher work day, Luke came to hang out with me at the end of the day.  We went down to see our favorite shop and PE teachers Joy and Kim and posed for some fun pictures in front of the lockers down there.  Yes, I’m supposed to be Luke Skywalker (a Skywalker who had apparently been eating too much candy and not doing enough Jedi training) with Yoda (the real Luke) on my back.

Halloween

Sydney and Luke hanging out on Grammy's couch

After Bren got home, we hit the road to show off our cute little Jedi Master.  We ended up visiting Great-Grandma and Great-Grandpa Robinson, Grandma and Grandpa Berry, Grammy Bailey (Wendy, Vince, and Sydney were there and Britt of course), Great-Grandma Brown, Great-Grandma and Great-Grandpa Bailey, Grandpa Bailey, and Bert and Lisa (along with good old Skyler and Camden.)  Driving to see everyone in one night pushed my patience in the car a little bit, but it was very nice to get the chance to see so many members of our family in one day.

We didn’t actually go trick-or-treating at all since we were too busy visiting people (luckily I have enough money now to just go buy the candy I want!)  Adam, at least, will be happy to hear that we didn’t attend a trunk or treat.  🙂

Luke Pre-Halloween

Bonus Picture! Luke in his Chewbacca attire!

November 2, 2008 Posted by | Family News, Flickr Update, Ron's Posts | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Fillmore – the once (and hopefully not future) capital of Utah

Utah Territorial Statehouse

I looked carefully - there was no do not touch sign.

Utah Territorial Statehouse

Here's a picture of the architectural drawings. FUN FACT: The same guy (Truman O. Angell) designed the Territorial Capitol building and the Salt Lake Temple.

Utah Territorial Statehouse

It's officially called the "Territorial Statehouse" on the brochure - but since it wasn't ever the capitol when Utah was a state, I don't understand why they call it a "statehouse."

One of the unfortunate totally awesome things about being in a family with a history teacher is that you get dragged off to all kinds of places that normal people don’t find terribly interesting. Lindsie had to go to the Golden Spike National Historic Site once with me and a few years back Brenda and I spent a lovely weekend in Vernal for our anniversary so I could take some pictures of petroglyphs inside Dinosaur National Monument too. Since we went down to St. George this weekend, I decided we should stop on our way back at Fillmore so I could see the Territorial capitol. I’ve talked about it in Utah Studies class for years, but I’d never been there, so this seemed like a good chance to snag some pictures for my power point presentation in class and have a nice break from driving.

WARNING: HISTORY CONTENT AHEAD – And so Brenda, Luke and I pulled off the freeway into the thriving metropolis of Fillmore, Utah (population as of 2000: 2,253.) In 1850, Utah Territory was created. It was a lot smaller than Brigham Young’s original plan for a State of Deseret, but still much larger than today’s Utah (woot, Utah once owned most of Nevada!) Despite being settled before many other cities in Utah (Cedar City was founded the same year, Logan seven years later, and St. George 10 years later) Fillmore never really caught on with people as a great place to live. As a city, it came into being when Brigham Young, who had been appointed governor in the year before, chose it as the site for the new territorial capital in 1851. Utah was still larger then (see the map) and the site was chosen because of it was basically at the geographical center of the territory. That may not make much sense in today’s world of instant communication, but I think for the time period it was a novel solution to the problem of everything being a very long horse ride away.

Utah Territorial Statehouse

I really like this model. I do. It shows the basic outline of what the capitol was supposed to look like - and the red section is the part that was actually built. But I do admit I wonder why they let a first grader color it with a dying crayola marker. Shouldn't it, you know, look . . . good?

Unfortunately, novel ideas don’t always work out. The new city was named Fillmore (in Millard County), after one of the (somewhat) revered Presidents of our great nation – Millard Fillmore.  Naming both the city and a county after the guy may seem a little much. This was at least partially due to an attempt and a desire to keep the Mormon’s on the president’s good side, but I like to think that there was at least some gratitude on their part as well for being made a territory so quickly after settlement. One section of the capitol was completed, and used for two full and one partial session of the territorial legislature – but a much more grandiose building was planned.

Utah Territorial Statehouse

The outside walls were never even stuccoed to make them all smooth and pretty as planned. The workmen who built the building carved their initials into the rock because they thought it would later be covered up. See the "SB" in the shadow in the top center?

The attempt to curry political favor floundered though, when President Fillmore was refused re-nomination from the Whig Party (many Northern Whigs still held grudges against him for signing the Compromise of 1850 – I still do too, but I’m not a Whig.) The Whigs instead nominated the increasingly rotund war hero Winfield Scott, who lost badly to Franklin Pierce – neither one of them was incredibly popular though.  In protest over the two crappy candidates, Daniel Webster got 7,000 or so votes despite the small problem that he was, you know, dead at the time.  Anyway, President Fillmore left office and Utah Territory quickly lost its funding to finish its new capitol (as you know, Mormons weren’t very popular back in the day), which stands about like it did then, not even one quarter finished. As far as I can tell, with no money to finish the capitol building, the legislators decided that it was not worth the hassle to head to Fillmore every year (which was even smaller and less populated then, plus fewer fast food restaurants) and they switched the capital to Great Salt Lake City (which made good use of the occasion to officially chop the “Great” off the name of the city – the lake is still Great.)

Utah Territorial Statehouse

Ron and Luke in the basement. It's not very far below ground level for a basement, but whatever. I like the pioneer pictures covering the walls.

Being so pragmatic, the pioneer people put the abandoned capitol to good use. They used the building for offices and as a theater/dance hall. It was even used as a jail for a while (which seems appropriate given my opinions of politicians.) Both Mormons and Presbyterians used it as schools. When Johnston’s Army was approaching Utah in 1857 and all heck broke loose as the Mormons thought they were about to be exterminated, Brigham Young had everyone living in Salt Lake City flee south of Provo (again, they were pretty freaked out.) The Deseret News relocated to the basement of the capitol in Fillmore during this time, probably rightly assuming that Johnston’s Army would probably not even notice Fillmore existed.

Utah Territorial Statehouse

Here's the first floor hallway. There's some really cool pioneer quilts in some of those rooms. That's worth the $2 entry fee right there.

Since then it has kind of become a dumping ground for historical “stuff” from around the region. Most of the rooms in the basement have different kinds of small town style museum displays (be ready to pony up $2 to get in, if you go visit, BTW.) The first few were all related to the capitol itself, but there was a room dedicated to guns (it was something like this, “Pioneers had guns. They used guns to shoot things. Sometimes food. Sometimes Indians.” I’m not kidding, that’s what it was really like.) About that time I stopped paying as much attention if the subject of the room was not related to Fillmore specifically (I’ve been to the Daughters of the Utah Pioneer Museum – I’ve seen enough pioneer junk to last me a lifetime.)

A picture I found out on the Interwebs that shows what the second floor is like when not being used for a weding reception

The first floor has more small rooms with pioneer style bedrooms and assorted other historic bric-a-brac, but its halls are plastered which makes it look slightly more upscale than the rock walled basement. The top floor is where the legislature actually met (for a whole two and one half years.) Compared to the capitol building in Salt Lake, it’s a pretty boring room. No gold inlay. No really cool wood work. There are some chairs though! Governor Huntsman made one of his State of the State addresses here during the modernization of the capitol building (I think he did one at a school too – weird, I’d probably make the press come to my house so I could do it in my pajamas and go back to bed.) Actually, we didn’t get to see the chairs – they were setting up for wedding reception that night. Anybody getting married soon? I know a great reception hall about three hours south of Salt Lake! They had brownies!

Utah Territorial Statehouse

Pink and yellow? What happened, did the bride let the groom randomly select their wedding colors from a hat?


October 19, 2008 Posted by | Flickr Update, Oh no! History!, Ron's Posts | , , , , | 4 Comments