Merry Christmas

It’s been a while since we visited mom and dad in Missouri, so we headed “out east” for Christmas. Here are a few photos of moments in the journey.

At one of our stops along the drive, there was a gorilla statue for reasons beyond my ken. Zack and I had a little fun with it.


Gorilla surfing?


Bucking gorilla, seen in many a rodeo:


In St. Charles, the weather was quite nice– temperatures were in the 60’s, which made for a decidely not-white Christmas. But it was a great opportunity to wander Old Town, peeking in some shops and watching the parade. Of course we managed to find a few nice hats:



There was another store that had a big sign by the hats which said “Do not play with the hats!” I guess they had too many kids like Zack passing through or something. Anyway, Zack found a mini-hand, which for some reason fascinates him.


As always, mom did a first-class job decorating everything. The house was beautiful.



We opened gifts, and apparently Kyra’s gifts for me, Laralee, and Zack hadn’t arrived yet, so she wrapped some nice notes for us:




I later learned that “hadn’t arrived yet” was code for “hadn’t even been ordered yet”.

Christmas dinner was amazing, and the table looked great.




Alex– err, Elder Schroeder– called just as dinner was starting, and since it was one of two times during the year we’re able to speak to him, we took the call. We had a great time talking to him for about 45 minutes.

We’d originally planned to come home Monday, but the weather was looking pretty sketchy. A deluge of rain on Saturday led to floods on Sunday, and I-70 was closed in parts later in the day. In addition, a huge winter storm was sweeping north through Kansas (right along our route) and would likely close I-70 on Monday. So we decided to leave Sunday, and the drive was fine. Whew!

All in all, it was a great time and a wonderful chance to hang out with the fam for a few days. Merry Christmas, and to quote Tiny Tim, God bless us, every one.

Furafic Fark

On Saturday night, the fam was sitting on the couch poking around on our tablets, and I stumbled across this:


Holy cow, I laughed for probably five minutes straight, to the point where my sides hurt and I was crying. I don’t know why it was so funny, and the rest of the fam was mystified as well. I still chuckle just looking at it.

The internet is so awesome.


I saw this on the internets and thought it was hilarious.


It was really her facial expression that cracked me up, probably because it reminded me of our 2014 Christmas card photo shoot, where Kyra had some hilarious facial expressions as we snapped pictures of us running for our “Jurassic Park” card.


Yep, it was good.

Yesterday the fam and I headed out to Longmont’s new theater to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens. We ended up with tickets to a 3D show, because it was the most convenient time given other things going on that day. As it turned out, the 3D was really well done– it wasn’t one of those instances where it felt like the 3D effects were over the top just because they could be.

And yeah, the movie was awesome. Like many people I know, I intentionally didn’t go hunting for plot spoilers on the internet. Also, secretly, I didn’t get my hopes up too high. I remember The Phantom Menace all too well. So it was a pleasant surprise to find that J.J. Abrams did a marvelous job– along with screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan, who wrote The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.

The special effects were amazing, as they seem to be in big-budget movies these days.


Daisy Ridley was incredible as Rey, who was a great character. It’s interesting to see how many books and movies in the last few years have featured strong female leads. I suspect that next Halloween we’ll see a lot of little girls dressed as Rey, just like we saw a lot of Padmes a few years ago.


I admit that I shook my head about a spherical robot… what a horribly inefficient design. That said, R2-D2 has probably the least useful mode of propulsion of any robot ever invented, so maybe BB-8 is an improvement. My take on it: there seems to be a lot of hover technology in the galaxy– heck, they even slapped it on a chunk of carbonite– so they should just build robots that hover. But anyway, I digress.

And finally, it was fun to see some familiar faces. Harrison Ford was brilliant, and I like what Abrams did with his character. He threw out some great lines and had that familiar happy-go-lucky swaggering attitude.


I’m excited to see it again next week with Dirk. He and I probably watched The Empire Strikes Back a hundred times on sleepovers when we were growing up, and can still quote pretty much every line.

Well done, J.J.

Meet my friend Mr. Franklin

So it’s a bit of a long story, but we received an interesting Christmas package. It had nine thousand dollars in cash in it. I’ve never seen that many Franklins!


In another story, also somewhat long, we decided to give it back… but not before we took a few pictures. Zack kept asking, “Can I hold it?” So of course he did.


He kept asking, “Can I have one? Just one?” I suppose he hoped to get lucky or something. I posed with it as well…


I felt like one of those cheesy billboards advertising a casino, or maybe the lottery. It was kind of weird to have that much cash at once, even for a short while…


So apparently there’s an app called FatBooth. Zack has it on his tablet, and when I saw the photo he took it cracked me up:


I was laughing so hard I was crying. I don’t know what it was that made it so funny, but whatever.

Kyra also took a stab at it, using her “crying or maybe scared” face:


When I used it, my head just turned into some kind of potato thing.


This is the kind of stuff that Zack does with his tablet. Isn’t technology wonderful?

Choke hold

In celebration of a certain impending movie release, Dave went down to one of his company’s client sites dressed as an Alliance deck officer. Unfortunately he ran into Darth Vader there, and had to be taught a lesson.


That’s exactly why I don’t have on-site meetings with my clients.

Surprise snow day

Today was a surprise snow day. All of us woke up at 5:30 (as we do every day for seminary) and right then the phone rang. It was a recorded message from the school district saying school was cancelled due to “deteriorating weather conditions”. I peeked out the window and it didn’t look too bad. Sure, there was some snow on the ground, but I could see patches of driveway so it couldn’t have been very deep.

Laralee went into Zack’s room, where he was getting dressed, and told him the news. He looked at her incredulously and then, after a pause, said, “Are you messing with me?” She said it was a funny mix of suspicion and joy.

Zack waited a couple of hours and then headed over to his friends’ house. There was a blustery wind that had piled up snow in some impressive drifts. He said he wasn’t able to make it through the drifts, so he grabbed a pair of PVC snowshoes that Alex made about ten years ago:


I guess they worked. Six hours later, Laralee and I went out to shovel the driveway and found drifts that were about three feet deep. Although a part of the driveway was still bare, most of it was buried in about two feet of snow. Impressive– I had no idea. It’s a little hard to see the variation in depth here:


But we huffed and puffed and cleared it (curse this north-facing sixty-foot driveway!) and then took care of the sidewalks.

Kyra is relieved because she has two major assignments due tomorrow and was pretty stressed about finishing them. Now she has a whole day to work on them, and she’s much happier. And it’s fun for me to work at home too, looking at the two-foot pile of snow that’s accumulated in the window well beside my desk.