Sunday, August 14, 2011

LDS Night at Minute Maid Park

Wednesday, June 29, 2011 - Tonight was our annual Latter-day Saint Friends and Family Night at Minute Maid Park to watch the Houston Astros.  It was co-sponsored by the Houston chapters of the BYU Management Society (of which I'm the current president) and the BYU Alumni Association.  This year, we wanted to try something different.  So I obtained permission from the Astros for us to have a Primary children's choir sing the National Anthem (in LDS lingo, it was a "multi-stake" group...meaning that the children came from about a dozen different congregations in the area).  As a result, approximately 90 Primary children (ages 5-12) from the Katy, Richmond and Sugar Land areas of Houston had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity....but I'm certain that no one enjoyed it as much as I - and their parents - did.

Before the night ever happened, we already started talking about next year's event.  It's going to be bigger and better.  But nothing will ever change how special the first go-round was.  Thanks to everyone who participated in the choir.  And thanks to the more than 500 people who purchased tickets with our group.  See you back at Minute Maid Park in 2012!

Pre-game with my two favorite baseball buddies.

On the big screen!

Waving to the crowd after a job well done!  If you look closely, you can see me and the boys cheering the choir on along the right field warning track near the tunnel entrance (far right of the picture).

Our amazing choir director - Taggert Mayfield. A legend in his own time. He worked his tail off to make this thing happen. And, as with everything he does, he went way, way above and beyond - both in time and with his personal financial resources. Most of those kids and families will never know how he impacted that night or how lucky we were to have him. Thanks again, Tagg!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Corpus Retreat, Part One

Wednesday-Thursday, August 11-12, 2010. This post is entirely generated out of the sheer missing of my boys. Because of joint custody and our 50-50 split, Amy and I rotate who gets the boys for Spring Break. I get even years, she gets odd. So they've been enjoying their break from school with her and her parents this past week. They've been having a good time, and I've enjoyed hearing about their adventures each night on the phone. But dang I miss them! I miss them after an HOUR, so I'm pulling my hair out after a WEEK (hey, no bald jokes!).

And since the weather has been beach-worthy lately, I've been spending a lot of time daydreaming about being on the sand with my kiddos. Which brought up the memory of a mini vacation that we took last August down to Corpus Christi (about 3 hours away) that I never blogged about. So here are the pics. It's mostly just a late-night therapy session for me to look through photos and relive a great memory. T-minus 14 hours until I see them again!

Beeju kissing his bed. Yes, kissing. Repeatedly. He loved this place. Loved everything about it. Now THAT's the kind of genuine reaction that lets you know they're enjoying themselves.

Nut opening his gift bag from the hotel. They had a great kids bags at check-in (treats, games, etc), cookies and milk delivered to the room in the evening, etc. It's 7 months later, and the boys still talk excitedly about this hotel.

View from the room. Very relaxing.

Another shot from the room. That's the USS Lexington, which we visited the next day (see below and the part two post).

Nut and his froggie enjoying the hot tub while Beeju swam.

Peanut vs Beeju in ping pong. Mostly just ping, actually. There wasn't much back and forth...too many killer serves.

One of the many games we played back in our room.

Peanut and his entourage of stuffed friends. Out like a light. Didn't even make it through the story we were reading.

Beeju and his entourage of stuffed friends. He was giddy all night. Made me so happy.

Rested and ready for the day!

With a Blue Angel.

Visiting the USS Lexington.

All aboard!

No real reason for a second shot of this. Except that I love their goofiness. And it cracks me up that Noah kept posing like that (one hand on his hip, the other in the air). No idea why. But I love it. Oh, and it kinda looks like Peanut has rabbit ears. Cute little Bunny.

Post continued...

Corpus Retreat, Part Deux

Wednesday-Thursday, August 11-12, 2010. Continuation of our mini vacation to Corpus Christi...

Riding the shuttle to the ship. Sorry...can't take my eyes off that hot beard. It's more Ben Affleck than Brett Keisel, but it'll do.

Dang I love our flag. Always have. Chokes me up every time I see Old Glory. I literally can't pass her by without pausing. What a great country we live in. Perfect? Heck no. But there's no place like it. Where's my Lee Greenwood CD when I need it?

The boys putting on their best "brig faces."

Seeing all the old military garb made me miss both my Grandpas. Great men. Sure wish the boys had known them. Some day.

Beeju and his favorite plane on the deck. Obviously it was the one with the skull and crossbones. Duh.

Nut and his favorite plane on the deck.

Had to wait in a long line to get onto the ferry in Port Aransas because a couple of their boats were out of commission that day. So I had plenty of time to laugh at this sign. I mean, seriously...thank you, Captain Obvious.

Trying to ride the ferry, stare into the sun and take a reverse, one-handed pic of the three of us. Face skills are legit.

It wouldn't be a trip to Corpus without a couple of hours playing on the beach. Only got a couple of quick shots here, because the photog was too busy playing the whole time.

Dude, check out those guns. My boy has been working out.

This pic doesn't do justice to the cool playground I found online for us to visit just before the long drive home.


Mr. Noah - always the monkey.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Come On Baby, Light My

Friday, September 10, 2010. One major benefit of the Houston Astros not being good recently is that the team occasionally runs some killer promos to sell tickets. On one particular homestand last September, they had an especially good deal. I got field box tickets 6 rows up from 1st base for $9. AND it was bobblehead night. AND it was dollar dog night. AND it was a Friday fireworks night. Jackpot. So of course I got tickets for me and the boys.

The game ended up going into extra innings (a two-run HR by the Dodgers won it in the 11th), but the boys were determined to stay and see the fireworks. So we didn't get home until almost 1:00a, but it was worth every minute. And what a way for Peanut to see his first game!

Brothers walking and talking on the way to Minute Maid Park. I'm sorry, but is that cute or what? Ridiculously cute. Seriously, I can't stop staring at it.

Saw Mickey on the way in to our seats. Peanut probably could've seen this and gone home and been happy. But little did he know the fun that was yet in store.

If you look closely, I'm pretty sure his shoes are on fire. Smokin' fast!

Curious George does NOT fool around when he runs. And yet, he still manages to smile the entire way. You just cannot possibly take the adorable out of that boy.

This shows you how close we were. For $9! (Those seats are normally $39.) And our section was only sparsely filled. In fact, we just about had our entire row to ourselves. Which allowed for my munchkins to wander up and down the row periodically to stretch their legs - a key benefit in any baseball game, but especially an extra inning affair.

Q: What's the only thing better for a young fan than cotton candy at a baseball game?

A: Having your own, so you don't have to share.

Talk about focused. He looks like Clubber Lang waiting for Rocky in Rocky III ("Dead meat."). This was a game where a shot of water would come out of that hole in the middle of the plate, and you had to try to hit it.

Look at that bat speed! He missed the water, but he's putting together a nice golf swing.

The first 10,000 fans got free harmonicas. I know, I had the same quizzical reaction at first. See below for why they handed them out.

So after the game finally ended, and while we waited for the retractable roof to open for the fireworks show, they attempted to set a new Guinness world record for "largest harmonica ensemble." Uh, ok. Whatever. So here we are doing our part to make history. It was an honor, really. And by that, I mean it helped to pass the time while we waited for the fireworks.

Pure enjoyment. And I'm just talking about me watching Sam watching fireworks.

Admiring the fireworks. First of all, I LOVE the joy on Noah's face - and the way he was nuzzling me and holding my arm. Second, check out those mad photo skills. Ladies and germs...the one-handed no looker!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Green Acres Is The Place To Be

Saturday, October 23, 2010. This was our annual autumn visit to Dewberry Farm in Brookshire, TX - just a stone's throw from home (assuming you could throw a stone 20 miles). Great place to take the kids and spend an afternoon. We couldn't get enough and ended up shutting the place down at night this time. Lots of fun things to do. Plus, they sell food on sticks which is just a bonus.

It just wouldn't be a true Texan blog without a good farm post every now and again.

Brief pause in the action. I love this shot because of Sammy's facial expression. You have to click on it and blow it up for the full effect. Such a Nut.

A determined Nut at the duck races. You have to prime the pump so that the water comes out and creates a current for the rubber duckies to race down the row.

Moments before getting bounced to the moon.

Sno-cone break.

Getting ready for the pig races. I tried to get shots of the race itself, but those little squealers were FAST. Gave me nightmarish flashbacks to the javelinas that chased me on a Scout campout at Aransas Pass back in the day as a scrawny 12-year-old when my leader dropped me off near the entrance to hike in to camp by myself so I could pass off a requirement. I've never been the same since. Come up behind me and squeal and see how fast I run. it...I want to hear you squeal. Come on, chicken.

Noah's obviously thrilled to be taking this pic. But he still humored me. I love that about him.

Somehow, Nut always seems 3-4 inches too short for these things no matter where we go or how big or small the sign. But you gotta love the effort from Shorty.

Hot on the trail in the corn maze.

Riding in these things for an adult is mega-uncomfortable. It has the leg room of a dishwasher (even for a 6-year-old, as you can see). But riding around with these angels, do you really think I cared even the slightest? No. The answer is no.