Monday, January 30, 2012

I'm Such a History Geek

Over the weekend, my mom let my niece go through several boxes of old family items for a project on WWII.  At the bottom of one box, she (my niece) found a really old leather wallet (as in hand-stitched) with the following note inside:

"This was hand-made by my grandfather, a Methodist circuit rider."

My mother recognized the handwriting as her grandmother's.

Sure enough, someone had written the name of my great-great-great-grandfather and the date April 1830 in some kind of super ink (to have lasted this long) on the inside of the wallet.

The wallet is almost 200 years old!  How cool is that?!?

This ancestor went on to have several children, one of whom moved to California during the gold rush and another that claimed land in Oklahoma during the Land Rush.  The former was unsuccessful in his attempts to become rich, but the latter was my great-great grandfather and our family still owned some of the original land rush land up until a few years ago.

Talk about having some true American history in your family!

I feel like I could compete with some of the celebrities on that show Who Do You Think You Are? for who has the coolest family history, especially since this is the same branch of the family that can trace its roots back to the American Revolution and to a specific county in Ireland before that.

Someday when I have time (so around 2030 when Evan's out of college?  :)  ), I'd like to do more family research, maybe even travel to Ireland and search their local records.  But for now, I'll have to be satisfied with the awesome work my mom has done and bask in my historical geekiness.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Harry Potter Drinking Game

One of the things I promised Sydney before her tonsillectomy was that we'd have a Harry Potter movie marathon.  She didn't forget about that promise, either.  We watched all eight movies over a one week period and while she was in heaven, the rest of us went a bit batty.

I got to thinking about a way to make such a marathon a bit more bearable for adults (not that we'll ever do it again).  I guess kids could play it, too, but with a soda.

So, here goes.

Take a drink every time:

1. Harry Potter's lightning bolt scar hurts him.
2. Hermione Granger answers a question or solves a problem that no one else can.
3. Ron Weasley says, "Bloody hell."
4. Draco Malfoy sneers at somebody.
5. Professor Snape says, "Potter."
6. Professor Dumbledore introduces a new Defense Against the Dark Arts professor.
7. Lucius Malfoy complains about something.
8. Argus Filch tattles on a student.
9. Bellatrix Lestrange laughs maniacally.
10. Someone says the phrase "He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named."
11. Someone says the word "horcrux."

There.  By the end of any (or all) of the movies, you should be completely sauced.  Or, in my case, asleep.  Either way, it will make the marathon more bearable.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Vegas, Baby!

Since we didn't do anything big for our 10th anniversary last year, Ryan and I decided to go on a quick trip to celebrate our 11th anniversary.  What better place to have some childless fun than Vegas?

It's too bad our anniversary falls in December because the pools outside our hotel room looked quite inviting:


We had lots of fun just sight-seeing.  We walked through most of the major hotels and watched the Bellagio fountain shows (during the day and at night) and the Mirage's volcano show.  We marveled at how big everything is, too.  After all, who needs to go to Paris when you can see the Eiffel Tower in Nevada?


And forget the real Venice when you can see the gondolas at the Venetian:



The Christmas decorations were phenomenal, too.  This polar bear at the Bellagio is made entirely of flowers (you can see the worker repairing his paw):


I even got Ryan to pose in front of these super cute penguins:


We took a half day trip to the Hoover Dam.  And, yes, since our dam tour guide encouraged us to take "all the dam pictures you want to", we did:


(The only picture we have of the two of us together!)

The highlight of our trip was the Beatle's LOVE show at the Mirage:


(The entry way to the show)

(I thought the cocktail list was cute.)

Ryan is a huge Beatles fan and I'd always wanted to see a Cirque de Soleil show so this was a perfect fit for us.  He really enjoyed the music and the symbolism involved in the show (which I totally didn't get because I don't know their music as well) while I was just awed by the whole thing in general.  Wow.

As for gambling.....well, we're not big gamblers.  Ryan broke even on the craps game he played and I lost one dollar in a slot machine just to say I gambled while there.  Other than that, we didn't even glance at the tables and slots.  The city of Las Vegas didn't get a whole lot of money out of us.

As always, we learned some lessons while there:
1. Keep your hands in your pockets so no one can hand you fliers while you're walking around.
2. Don't even make eye contact with the guys trying to sell you a time share.  Definitely don't talk to them; otherwise, they'll follow you and won't leave you alone.
3. Once you've walked through all the hotels you care about seeing, use the monorail or bus system to get around.  Save your feet.
4. Despite what the ads may say, don't take your kids to Vegas.  It is NOT a family oriented place.
5. If you do take your kids, don't let them take pictures with the people dressed up like Elmo, Hello Kitty, Disney characters, etc. that stand on the street corners.  We saw a few of them take their costume heads off and well, let's just say they're not the classiest people.
6. Vegas isn't just a tourist destination for Americans.  Don't be surprised if you start to think that there must be no one left in Japan when you're visiting.
7. There's no such thing as a cheap buffet in Vegas anymore.  That is most definitely a thing of the past.
8. Get your inevitable embarrassing moment out of the way as soon as you arrive.  If possible, get the same cab driver we did; he dropped us off at the wrong hotel and since we'd never been before and didn't know where we were, we looked really stupid trying to check into the wrong hotel.

Overall, it was a fun trip.  I don't know that I want to go back any time soon, but it was definitely memorable.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Bye Bye Tonsils

Thanks to her already enlarged tonsils and several bouts of strep over the past year, Sydney was the lucky recipient of a tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy a few days ago.

She and I went shopping for every conceivable soft food product a few days beforehand.  None of them were healthy.  She got to have pizza for her "last meal."  And she had the undivided attention from both me and Ryan since the boys were shipped off to their grandparents' for a good 24 hours.   Now that was a rarity.

She was feeling fairly confident going in:


And she looked really pitiful in recovery:


Both the wheelchair ride and the valeted van were new experiences for her, too.  Is it sad that she had to ask what "valet" meant or does that mean that we're doing a good job of not spoiling her?


Overall, her recovery is going well.  She's still not eating much and we have to force her to drink a lot of liquids.  Luckily, all she really wants to drink is water.  And Ryan saved the day by buying a bag of Sonic ice for her to munch on.  She hasn't been turning down ice cream, either, and seeing as how that's the only source of calories that she can tolerate, I guess I don't mind that she's eating it three times a day.

Hopefully, she'll be ready to go back to school on Thursday.  The boys, especially, are getting a bit stir crazy and they're not particularly happy that she's pretty much had the TV to herself for the past few days, either.  I'm getting a little tired of Harry Potter movies myself.

But, if this works and she doesn't have to fight strep anymore and sleeps a little better without all the tonsil related snoring, then it will be worth it.