Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Day 212: Little Brother

One of the best parts about living in my basement apartment in Woods Cross is that I get to spend a little bit of time each day, even if it's just for a few minutes, with four of my nieces and nephews. Unbelievably, Jenna (fourth grade) and Luke (first grade) have already begun their new academic year, returning to the classroom last Wednesday, as they are part of a year-round curriculum at their elementary school.

Nearly five-month-old Jacob is, of course, among those four great kids, and it's great to sit back and watch him take in the world around him with wide-eyed wonder. It's also not uncommon to see, most every day, something like the above picture: Kira and Luke fawning over the little guy. They sure do love their little brother.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Day 211: Puppy Sitting

I don't know if you've read about this or not, but the 2012 Olympic Summer Games are now underway in London, England.
Ben and Adi are currently across the pond, where they will be attending a few Olympic events, as well as visiting our British relatives and also doing some tourism on the side.
Not that I am bitter that I can't be there, too.
At any rate, when Ben and Adi departed, they left their "baby," Saru, in the care of Mike, Jana, and their kids, and, from what I gather, they are enjoying having the little monkey around the house. Saru was present for the latest family dinner and had a good time playing with the kids, running around in the backyard, and chewing on her toy groundhog.
Kylee was particularly proud of this photo she snapped of Saru:
I must admit that it is, indeed, a great shot.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Day 210: Bill Murray's DNA

What you're looking at here is a napkin, proudly displayed by my sister, Biz, on her refrigerator, that has both (1) Bill Murray's autograph and (2) his DNA:
How did this come about? you ask? She and Jeff attended a home game for our local AAA-class minor league baseball team, the Salt Lake Bees, a couple of nights ago, and Mr. Murray was there to throw out the first pitch, sang "Take Me Out to the Ball Game," and signed several autographs to boot, including the one in the above picture. Biz didn't have much else for him to sign other than the napkin with which he had just finished wiping his mouth. She mentioned to him that Groundhog Day is one of our family's favorite movies and that we have a party each February 2 to watch the film together and to celebrate all things groundhog, and he smiled.
It is a situation that very much parallels an episode of "The Big Bang Theory" in which Penny gives Sheldon a napkin both used and signed by Leonard Nimoy. Sheldon goes ballistic with happiness, claiming that he possesses Nimoy's DNA and can now clone him.
Will that ever happen now that Biz possesses Bill Murray's DNA? I suppose that she alone knows the answer to that.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Day 209: "Interrogation"

One of my favorite moments from last night's Improvables performance was the game of "Interrogation," in which Ryan and John (aka Willis) grilled Keenan about the untimely murder of Justin Bieber.

Incidentally, the victim was cut down by the same iceberg that sank the Titanic, and the body was presumably cremated and hidden inside Indiana Jones's fedora hat.

Yes, really.

Day 208: Goooooal!

Earlier tonight, I finally made it out to Rio Tinto Stadium for my first Real Salt Lake soccer game of the 2012 season, thanks to an invitation from Robyn to attend It was a warm, not hot, summer evening and really pretty good soccer-watching weather. Sitting five rows back in the northwest corner, we enjoyed watching the home team cruise to a 2-1 victory over Vancouver.
RSL's first goal, putting them up 1-0 in the first half, was scored by Alvaro Saborio on a penalty kick when a Vancouver player purposely deflected the ball with his hand to stop what was sure to be a goal. I captured the moment from our vantage point in the stands.
He lines up to shoot . . .
. . . and scores! It was a great game.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Day 207: Demonic Toy

When I arrived home last night, I could hear someone giggling and making other strange noises in the darkness. At that moment, I was a bit freaked out and was anxiously curious about who or what was making these sounds. I then turned on the light, which revealed that this toy of Kira's was making all of the noise:

It was at this point that I was reminded of scary movies from my childhood, such as Poltergeist, in which children's toys become possessed and try to murder the people - adults and kids alike - living in the house.

Fortunately, there was an off switch that set this toy back to the "good" position from the "evil" setting.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Day 206: Smooth Criminal

Always the snappy dresser, McKenna arrived at Sunday's family dinner wearing this new hat.

She ended up leaving it here, and, in the meantime, Jenna has claimed it as her own.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Day 205: Sticky Fingers

Last week wasn't a good week for fingers in our family. I've already posted about Jackson's escapade with the plumber nut and his trip to the Primary Children's emergency room. It turns out that, on the very same day, Jeff was playing football with some friends and broke his pinky finger while making a catch. At Sunday's family dinner, he showed up wearing this splint and cast:

Even so, he was a good sport about it and consented to have his picture taken for Project 366.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Day 204: Everyone Likes Ice Cream

. . . yes, indeed, they do.
On a hot summer day, as was the case today, few things are better than an ice cream cone, as Kira demonstrates here:

Day 203: Trumpy Strikes Back!

Trumpy made a triumphant return to the Improvables stage tonight. He (she?) was elegantly dressed for the occasion.

Good times were had by all.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Day 202: Europe Bound

The entire family is somewhat jealous of Ben and Adi, who are on a flight to London as I type this post. For the next two weeks, they will be traveling all over the United Kingdom, including Ireland, Scotland, and Wales, as well as Denmark, the land of our Plowman ancestors. They will get to visit many of our British relatives, and they will also get to attend a couple of events at the Olympic Summer Games in London, to boot.
Not that I am bitter that I'm not going.
At any rate, while they're gone and are having the time of their lives, Mike and Jana and their clan will be watching over Saru, seen here playing with Kylee and Kenna at the latest family dinner:

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Day 201: Summer Reading

That Luke sure is a voracious reader. The other day, he invited me to take some time out of my schedule and read with him - which meant we each read our respective books in the same room but silently.

Incidentally, I am currently reading The Hunger Games, inspired by (1) seeing the movie not too long ago and (2) the fact that pretty much everyone I know has already read the trilogy, and I want to be cool, too.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Day 200: Little Wizards Strike Back!

A few months back, I wrote a post for my Project 366 for Disconcertingly Choppy that featured a photo of Jackson and Kira playing with Harry Potter "wands" (actually drumsticks for my Rock Band setup). Well, I recently had another Harry Potter encounter with the nieces/nephews, this time involving Jenna and Luke.

As your can see from the photo, they each drew a little lightning bolt on their own foreheads. Also, they borrowed my Xbox 360 to play some LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7. In addition, they are each reading a Harry Potter book right now; Jenna is on book 5, The Order of the Phoenix, while Luke is on book 3, The Prisoner of Azkaban.

Keep in mind that Jenna is just nine, while Luke is six - and they're reading Harry Potter. In the summer. For fun.

Day 199: Who Stole the Cookies from the Cookie Jar?

At the latest family dinner, I spotted Jackson swiping three cookies and then leaving the kitchen. I followed him down the hall to the nearest bathroom, where I was able to get this shot just before he closed the door on me:

Sometimes, I guess, you just gotta be alone with your cookies.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Day 198: Family Sing-a-Long

Whenever the family gets together, it's not uncommon for Ben and Mike to have a jam session together on their guitars. At the latest family shindig, I found Kylee joining in with them and singing along. Like her mother, she has a rather pretty singing voice. (And perhaps I'm a little biased here, but that's what I think.)

Anyway, knowing my love of singing karaoke songs, they goaded me into joining in with them, and I found myself having a good time singing a few favorite tunes.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Day 197: Ladderball

I just learned that one of my favorite summertime games, often played at family gatherings in and around July, has a name: Ladderball. It's the one in which you thow two golf balls, attached by rope, around a makeshift ladder (my cousin Scott made one out of PVC pipes) and try to hook them around one of three rungs to score 1, 2, or 3 points at a time, depending on the rung.

I also recently learned that I'm not at good as this game as I thought I was. My 12-year-old nephew Dallin challenged me to a game at our family gathering in Lehi on Independence Day - and beat me. Either my skills aren't that great, or the Force is truly getting strong with this one.

Incidentally, after I took the above picture, Dallin cried foul because of the flash, and I granted him a re-throw; he proceeded to hook a ball on the top rung and scored three points.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Day 196: Geocaching

Through a writing project I completed for my employer, I recently discovered, conducted research on, and wrote about the somehwhat new hobby called geocaching. This involves the use of a GPS device and latitude and longitude coordinates to find small treasure boxes, or "caches," that are hidden around the world (which is where the "geo" part comes in). It turns out that many of these caches are hidden right here in Utah, and several of that number can be found just a short distance away.

At any rate, our latest mid-singles activity, which I helped plan and carry out, was dedicated to geocaching, which was a new experience for all but one in our group (Nick had found 59 previous geocaches, so it's a good thing we had his expertise to help us out). This afternoon, eight of us embarked on a geocache hunt that took us to several local Church historical sites, including the Bountiful tabernacle and the Heber C. Kimball gristmill, to name just two. It was an uncharacteristically cool and rainy summer day - a nice change from the hot, dry weather we experienced just a few days ago. Earlier in the day, Garrett had gone out and had placed small caches for our two groups to find.

At the end of our treasure hunting, we congregated at Founder's Park in Centerville, and while we were there, we searched for and found an actual geocache that had been placed there a few months ago by someone who uploaded the coordinates to geocaching.com. My first real geocache find was easy to miss, as it was so tiny that it could easily have fit in the palm of your hand, but we successfully located it:

Good times were had by all.

Day 195: "Oxygen Deprivation"

Among my favorite Improv games are the Halloween-themed ones, partly because we play them only a handful of times each year: on or near Halloween, of course, and whenever one of our Friday night performances happens to fall on a Friday the 13th.
Such was the case at tonight's show, during which we got to play such seasonal favorites as "Death Pendulum," "Campfire Tale," and, one of my Top 5 all-time favorites, "Oxygen Deprivation," demonstrated here by Ben Lowell:
Incidentally, it was Ben's first show back with us in about two years' time. He was with us during our first year over at Rodgers, and we're lucky to have him back in the troupe.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Day 194: Dinglehopper

Do you remember that scene in The Little Mermaid in which Scuttle, the seagull, shows Ariel a fork and tells her it's a dinglehopper - used by humans for "straightening their hair out"?

Well, that's pretty much what Kira did the other day at our Independence Day get-together, using a fork to comb Summer's hair. Fortunately, Summer was a pretty good sport about it.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Day 193: Ouch!

As a family, we - or, more specifically, Mike and Jana - had a scare last night when four-year-old Jackson managed to get what is termed a plumber's nut lodged onto his index finger while pretending to play Lord of the Rings. The problem was that it not only didn't turn him invisible, but also that they couldn't get it unstuck, and it was beginning to cut off his circulation.
They had to take him to two hospitals before, finally, a surgeon was able to get the plumber's nut removed with the use of metal cutters. Here is the "after" shot:
Fortunately, my little nephew has only bruising and swelling to show for his epic adventure, as well as a lesson in safety he won't soon forget, and he didn't require any stitches, either. His finger, in fact, will be just fine. We're all very grateful today that he is okay.

Day 192: Family Soccer Game

By nature, we're a very competitive family - individually and, when we face off against each other in games or sports, collectively sometimes, too.
In last week's post on our family's Fourth of July activities, I mentioned in passing that we (my siblings, nieces, nephews, cousins, and I) participated in a soccer game together, and I figured it deserved its own post and pictures. We love soccer. My siblings and I grew up playing recreational soccer, and both Kylee and McKenna currently play on competition teams.
As a result, this was one of those times when the competitive side came out in more than one of us. Fortunately, it was all in good fun.
Another fortunate thing: I do not have a photo of the moment when I tore a large hole in my pants.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Day 191: Spider-Kids

Following last Wednesday's parade in Centerville, I swung by Carl's Jr. for breakfast (Steve once recommended their Monster Biscuit to me, and I've been hooked ever since). On my way out, I ran into these three kids, accompanied by their dad:
Why were they dressed up as Spider-Man? you ask? Carl's Jr. ran a promotion on the Fourth, as they are sponsors of the new Spider-Man film, advertising that anyone entering wearing a Spider-Man costume was entitled to a free hamburger.
That's a pretty good deal, really. This is coming from someone who, when he was a toddler, used to dress up as Superman frequently, embarrassing my poor mother on more than one occasion.
Incidentally, I asked the kids' dad for permission before taking the picture. The man certainly has my respect. I definitely want to be the kind of dad who dresses up my kids as superheroes and then takes them out to eat.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Day 190: "Save Me, Paco!"

Following today's family dinner, I found these two boys on the ground, wrestling:

"Save me, Paco!" cried out Jackson. Obviously, he was losing this wrestling match.

First, I took the picture. Completing Project 366 is helping me to be prepared to snap an image at the drop of a hat.

Then, naturally, I saved him.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Day 189: Sky Rockets in Flight

Though the Independence Day holiday was three days ago, I had another chance to see a fireworks show tonight at Spring Mobile ballpark following the Salt Lake Bees' AAA game against the Tacoma Rainiers. It was a pretty good, albeit brief, fireworks show.

We also, as I mentioned, saw a baseball game, thanks to several free tickets that Ben and Adi provided for Steve, Summer, myself, and a number of our mutual friends. It had been about three years since I last attended a Bees game, and even though the home team lost, 13-5, it is always good to sit at a balllpark to enjoy a warm summer evening with family and friends.

Day 188: Improvables - After Dark

We had a rather smallish crowd turn out for tonight's Improvables performance, which was most likely due to the recent holiday, but that doesn't mean that we didn't put on the best show that we could or that our audience didn't enjoy the performance.

A group of young ladies on the front row, in fact, enjoyed themselves so much that they asked if we could take a group picture with them afterward, and this photo was the result:

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Day 187: Centerville Parade

Generally speaking, I don't care too much for parades - either watching or taking part in them. I could write up a list of about 1,000 other things that I'd rather be doing on a hot, 90-degree-plus summer day.
Nevertheless, the Improvables were asked to provide announcers for yesterday's Fourth of July parade, and sometimes you just gotta "take one for the team" and step up and volunteer to help. Ten members of the troupe were stationed at three announcing booths along the parade route, which began at Chase Lane and traveled south down Main Street to Pages Lane.
Steve, Summer, and I were positioned at the steps of Centerville's City Hall, where Summer kept track of the approaching floats while Steve and I took turns announcing and, on occasion, ad libbing when necessary.
You definitely have to stand up and applaud when the veterans pass by, as was the case with this group that carried our country's flag:
I also liked the superhero float, which featured several members of the Avengers, Batman, and Spider-Man, among others:
We took advantage of this opportunity to promote our troupe, and after the last float has passed by us, we handed out a stack of fliers to the parade goers.
It was a tough job, but someone had to do it.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Day 186: Cul-de-Sac of Fire

This year, it was the Plowmans' turn to travel down to our cousin Scott's house in Lehi for the annual family Independence Day shindig. Joining us were Claudia's parents, who are always good to see, and her cousins from Argentina, who are visiting the States and, thus, gave Mike, Dave, Summer, and me plenty of opportunities to dust off our Spanish-language skills.
The afternoon began with a barbecue, and the hamburgers, hot dogs, bratwursts, and other dishes that were provided were delicious. That was followed by a family soccer game on the field just behind the backyard.
Following the soccer match, we went out into the street for what Scott called "Cul-de-Sac of Fire," in which all of the neighbors participated, as well. This part, of course, was especially fun for the kids.
Happy Fourth of July, everybody.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Day 185: Bacon Sundae

Apparently, Burger King is now marketing this. I know because I was there, and I took this photo:


Monday, July 2, 2012

Day 184: The Bombs Bursting in Air

The Independence Day season is officially upon us - at least, it as far as I'm concerned, as I attended my first fireworks show of the summer at tonight's mid-singles FHE, which was held in the parking lot of the Centerville chapel where we attend Wednesday night classes.

For the third day in a row, I enjoyed good barbecued foods, including hamburgers and hot dogs, as well as the company of both old and new friends. At dusk, Richard almost single-handedly put on the fireworks show, launching off several Roman candles and such into the nighttime sky.

Also included as an activity at this event was the opportunity for people to make their own "rockets" and to shoot them into the air by way of an air pressure pump. (I think.)

I can only surmise that this is about what the North Korean government does with its own missile tests.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Day 183: Losing at "Life"

Today marked a couple of firsts for me. One of these was my first Sunday attending my new ward, the Woods Cross 4th Ward. My brother Dave is a ward clerk, and before it began, he had already arranged for my records to be read in during today's sacrament meeting.

Another first followed when I competed against Dave, Jenna, and Luke in my first match of the the board game Life in . . . oh, I'd have to say it had been at least 20 years since the last one. I didn't win, but it was fun to play, and it was entertaining to see the competitive side come out in the kids.

Incidentally, today's post, #183 of Project 366, marks the halfway point of both the year and of this photo-a-day project. Where has the year 2012 gone?

Day 182: Pyper's Birthday Party

Earlier tonight, I was invited to attend a birthday party/barbecue for my friend and mid-singles Institute colleague Pyper, whose birthday is actually next week (usually lost amidst the hullabaloo on July 4, I would imagine). For this event, several of her family members and friends were present, and we congregated at Barnes Park in Kaysville to enjoy the festivities together on a sunny summer evening.
The food (including barbecued chicken, hot dogs, and pineapple) was delicious, the company was great, and we got to sing karaoke, to boot. What more could you ask for in a party?
Good times were had by all.