Sunday, December 30, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

Santa did indeed find us...albeit a tad early. We celebrated with Jenny, Travis and the boys on Sunday, Dec. 23rd. Fortunately at that age the boys didn't question the calendar - especially after finding presents with their names on them under the tree!  Jax is getting an overview before he starts handing out the presents (or he's trying to figure out how much he  might have to move in order to get close enough to the tree to push all the buttons on Grandma's ornaments!)

Since he's not terribly verbal just yet (being only one after all), it's hard to tell if Shay is helping his brother distribute gifts or attempting to make a run for it with the closest two he could get his hands on!  (Quick - he's got his back turned!)  He's a really speedy little guy!

"Here, let me help you little brother" (which is often code for "I might want to check this one out for myself...first")

Christmas Day we spent with Gerry's sister, her family, and a couple of friends.  Dinner was even on the table - on time (for once!  Actually for twice because I think we hit it one other time.)  Unfortunately we don't have any photos of that event but you should check out this recipe:  Christmas Finger Jello.  I made it for Christmas - it was SO EASY and very "presentacious".  (Don't limit yourself to Christmas - there are all kinds of colors of jello that would make this fun!)

Hope you all had a very Merry Christmas with your family and friends!

~later, tw

PS - New Year's Resolution #1: try to be better about updating the blog in 2013!  (I mean now that we all know there is going to be a 2013 - I figured I had to wait until 12/21 to do any serious updating! :)

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!


In honor of the day, a stroll down memory lane of some of the many family costumes thru the years:

Lt. Marah
Princess Adra

Devilish Reed, Flapper Marah, Princess Adra, Merry Philip and Mickey Nick

Mattias with friend
Mattias with Grandpa Gerry at work
Her Royal Highness does tea

Jax with Granpa Gerry at work
That's CAP'N Gerry Sparrow, if you please!



Woody aka Jax at Disney World
Buzz "Mattias" Lightyear at DisneyWorld

Friends Sue and John show up in style for last year's Halloween party!

 Don't eat too much candy - Christmas is soon upon us!

~later, tw


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Summer Fun & More Mariners (of course!)

More random summer photos (I am determined to clear out the Inbox!!)


The Lynches came up for another summer weekend mid-July.  First there were chores to do.

Then a little time to try out bike riding.  (Safety first!)

Then off to the ballpark for another afternoon with the Mariners:

Dippin' Dots and the M's - doesn't get any better!


Brotherly love!

Debating that "righty-lefty" thing!
 ~later, tw

Monday, October 29, 2012

Mariner game June 17, 2012

I have quite a number of photo albums that Gerry has put together of summer events.  The notice of each is sitting in my Inbox so I'm going to try to get some of them posted here (in totally random order and fashion as usual!)

We went to the Mariner game on June 17th with Jenny and family.  It was Jax's first try at "Dippin' Dots" (which only got a so-so review).  The big hit of the day though was visiting the outfield playground.


~later, tw

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Mariner All*Star Suite

All season long we've been trading in some of our Mariners tickets.  Sometimes it's because we can't go, sometimes it's because no one else can go, sometimes we got tickets for games we thought someone could go with us.  The ticket office and all their employees have been absolutely fabulous about this.  At their suggestion, they would help us find random seats for the final game of the season so that we didn't lose any $$ on our season ticket package.

We decided this year to give ourselves a little treat (since the team clearly wasn't up to providing anything to cheer about at the end of this "yet-another-rebuilding-effort") and we gathered up all the little "onesies and twosies" tickets and traded them in for a pair of tickets in the All*Star Suite.

I think this is something new this year and there are even people who purchase entire half-season or full-season tickets for this place (though Gerry and I agree that would be really overdoing it!).  The Mariners have taken 3 (or possibly even 4) of their existing suites (that probably would have remained unsold most of the season) and redesigned them into a wonderful venue to watch the game.  The package includes more food/beverage than you could ever hope to consume (you can purchase beer/wine/liquor right there at the bar in the suite).

Chef Michael develops his own menu for each game and it's truly something special - probably the best food I've had not only in the park (we have dined on everything from Mariner dogs to Hit It Here Cafe to the Diamond Club buffet) but better than most restaurants.  Last night's menu included three AMAZING SALADS (a Greek one, a "regular" - not that there was anything remotely "regular" about it! - one with raspberries and pears and a wonderful raspberry viniagrette, and a beautiful Caesar salad with freshly shaved parm...that one lost a couple of points because the dressing was on the side.  I realize that not all people groove on Caesar salad but it is really one salad that needs to be dressed before serving since it is difficult to really get it all tossed together by dolloping the dressing on top.)

The entrees were: Beef Loin (aka Prime Rib) with a mushroom medley and Chicken Parmesan (incredibly moist and, as everything there, wonderfully delicious).

The dinner is served from 2 hours before game time until ~ 1 hour into the game but not to worry, you won't be going hungry for long.  On the back wall near the carvery, there is a full assortment of "baseball grub" - Mariner dogs, brats, popcorn, peanuts (oddly no cracker jacks).  On the opposite side of the bar you find the desserts.  Again these were amazing FRESHLY made cakes, pies, cookies with a soft serve ice cream machine, waffle cones, cups and an assortment of "toppings."

Best of all - the bar served the BEST ICE TEA I'VE EVER HAD AT SAFECO (which I know doesn't sound like much since Safeco's ice tea is HORRIBLE but this was really good tea!)

Oh yeah - there was a game being played by two teams who have absolutely nothing to play for.  We thought maybe we would see one last great game by Felix but not so much.  Here's to yet another rebuilding year in 2013 (though I'm thinking we will still finish in 4th place in the AL West at least it won't be LAST place since Houston is joining the division).

We still have one more game to enjoy - the final game on Wednesday afternoon - before the season is officially over (for us anyway - I'm going to cheer on the Nats who are going to their first playoff!)

~later, tw

Friday, September 21, 2012

Taking a break from vacation photos, some "news" items I just couldn't resist:

  • Proving yet again they "are nothing special in the air", American Airlines (the company perpetually teetering on the edge of bankruptcy) Flight 3823 had to return to the gate when two female flight attendants began to argue.  The argument was so heated the cockpit crew was alerted.  Credit cards of passengers in first/coach class on the commuter flight were charged an additional $10 each for the "floor show."

  • Despite years of working with chemicals involved in carpet-cleaning, a Denver man won $7.2 million dollars after he apparently developed "popcorn lung" from inhaling the butter-flavoring from his microwave popcorn.  His argument was companies failed to warn consumers that inhaling the buttey aroma could put them at risk.  Makes you wonder what his house smells like to have inhaled that much artifical buttery aroma!

  • Dancing With The Stars resident "bad boy" Maksim Chmerkovsky has announced that he will not return to the show after his current contract expires (which still leaves us 3 seasons of tantrums).  He tells the New York Post that "I loved doing it.  But to be honest with you, at 32, I am at what-about-me-time."  I'm sorry - isn't that what he's always been about?

  • And my favorite newsbit this week, the humble emoticon is 30 years old!  For three decades now, this sideways smile has bounced around the internet, spreading joy and frustration many times the world over (sometimes it's just like reading braille - I'll admit I can't always figure them out).  Happy Birthday Smiley!
~later, tw

Friday, September 14, 2012

Alaska Cruise 2012 - Day 1

...and maybe 2... (Gerry took some really fabulous photos and it really would be unfair to just share a few in a single entry).
Unfortunately he didn't get any photos of the very beginning of this adventure.  We were waiting to be picked up by the limo/town car to take us to the Quick Coach stop in downtown Seattle where we would get our bus to the Canada Place pier in Vancouver.  Since Farsi is one of the few languages I haven't studied, I was apparently unclear in my directions TO PICK US UP AT OUR HOUSE!  and instead the limo showed up in Carol's driveway (~15 or 20 minutes away...even for Gerry).  Once this mistake was discovered, we only waited a few more minutes for our driver to show up.  He looked decidedly uncomfortable when I asked if he had his passport on him (he was going to be driving us to Canada if we missed that bus) because I'm not even sure he had a green card!
The facts that we were ~40 minutes from the bus stop AND it was already 6:40 am AND we needed to be there by 7 am, the laws of physics fortunately did NOT apply that morning.  We actually arrived at 7:00 AM just as the bus was pulling up.  I couldn't see the speedometer from my vantage point in the vehicle but Gerry said that the driver held it pretty steady at 85 mph (with an occasional burst to 90 mph when on the freeway!)
With only one more small delay (when we arrived downtown Vancouver this bus driver figured he was too late on his route to actually drop us at the pier so he had the company bring a tiny little bus to take the ten cruise passengers and all of the Helmer/Weiler luggage - we were literally "shipping" quilts, fabric and school supplies with us to Anchorage! - to the cruise terminal).  Once in the terminal we were whisked thru screening, customs and embarkation (due to Roger in a WC) and we were having our lunch within minutes!  The cruise had officially begun!!!
Unlike the Costa cruise line (oddly enough also owned by the same parent company as our favorite), Princess insists on safely first and a mandatory lifeboat drill is held on board shortly BEFORE we set sail for the first time (Costa requires it within ~24 hours, depending on how close to shore the captain wants to cruise).

Day Two:  A relaxing day at sea (well deserved after the "Lucy and Ethel" antics just to get on the ship and of course our first trivia victory.  It was formal night aboard the ship and though we thought we were dressed pretty spiffy, the maitre 'd at the restaurant wasn't as sure.  It took a little convincing that not everyone owns a tux (and with the rates charged by the airlines, the "steamer trunk" of evening attire is no longer an option).  Eventually, he not only seated us in the restaurant (but not after we noticed that there were more than a few other gentlemen already enjoying their dinner who were also not wearing suits/ties/tuxes), he also reserved the window table for us for the rest of the cruise!

After dinner, we wandered out to the piazza (formerly the atrium) to watch the champagne waterfall (pretty much a waste of champagne - even if it is only Chateau LastWeek!)  We didn't sense any real "movement" of the boat, but we did notice that the Maitre 'd Hotel wouldn't let anyone NEAR the actual champagne bottle (lest they bounce it into the tower of champagne glasses).  I realize that this is just another opportunity for Princess to make a little $$ selling people pictures of themselves "pouring" the champagne but a photo of me grabbing this guy's arm was not on my "bucket list."

 To be continued...

~later, tw

Friday, September 7, 2012

Things Could Have Been Worse...

Jenny always gives me grief for the fact that I, like my mother before me, chose to forego those with actual skill and talent with regard to haircutting and elected to do the job myself. She claims her haircut most closely resembled a "mullet" (and unfortunately there is a fair amount of photographic evidence to support her theory!).

I maintain that I did a fair enough job...and now I, too, have photographic evidence that it could have been worse:

These six-year-old quads were given "special" haircuts to allow teachers to tell them apart.  (At the very least Jenny is now grateful that she was a single birth!)

~later, tw

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Ay Chihuahua!

Apparently Texas doesn't have quite the corner on the crazy market that I had previously thought.  Case in point:  Police in Longmont, Colo., have arrested a womanon suspicion of animal cruelty, after she allegedly stuffed a Chihuahua puppydown her pants during a domestic dispute.

You really can't make this stuff up!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Texas Coincidence AGAIN?

You just can make this stuff up:

Mayor William "Bill" Bohlke (he who survived military service in Vietnam and was a decorated B-52 pilot) was taken down by his own donkey while tending his prize cow-herd.  (Why don't Republicans own elephants instead?)
~later, tw

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

I'm Not Sure...

I believe in this kind of coincidence:

Fortunately for all concerned, both the wife's and the husband's story matched that of the skunk's (who showed up during police investigation to corroborate the story).

Only in Texas...

~later, tw

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

KC Picnic (or "catching up with photos")

This June Jenny and the boys were able to join us for the annual Knights of Columbus picnic.  It wasn't the warmest day but it was a change of venue with a new park to explore. 

The KC do a BBQ lunch with plenty of hotdogs and hamburgers to go around.  Michael was on BBQ duty.'

Of course, everyone wanted to meet our adorable little guys!

After lunch, grandpa & Jax were off to set up and try their hands at bocchi:

There was also a small playground where Shay could swing and Jax could slide and climb.

Jax made some new friends and even though they were a bit older, the girls were very patient with Jax and showed him how to ride their scooter.

She tried to show him how to ride by himself, but Jax liked it a lot better when riding together.

Girls are fine to play with but now Jax is looking forward to playing with his cousins, Mattias and Magnus, who arrive from Sweden this week!

~later, tw