Sunday, February 28, 2010

Brazos Bend

I had a fun little day trip yesterday. I went with Nate and his kids to Brazos Bend State Park just south of Houston.
It was a really pretty area and I brought my nice camera so I started taking pictures of the cute kids. Here's cute little Junior.
Here's Lexie!
I loved Jackson's face in this shot. So did he . . .
Junior had such a dirty face from cotton candy, that I couldn't stop taking pictures of him.
Cotton candy and Funions are sort of a disgusting combination.
Gavin's glasses cracked me up, but I love this picture of him.
I also loved this picture of Madison.
We cooked out some hot dogs for lunch before we went for the main attraction.
We stopped in at the visitors center to see some wildlife we could touch. I actually touched a snake after some begging by the kids. It creeped me out. We all touched this baby alligator too.
Don't look, Susannah! They had a tarantula there. I did not touch it, but Gavin and Junior did!
We saw our first big alligator just down from the visitor's center. he was just relaxing in the water and getting some sun.
Gus, Nate's dog, threw up some nasty stuff just as we were leaving the visitor's center.
We drove to another spot over by the lake and that's where we got to see some BIG alligators up close and personal. This was the first one we saw super up close. It was on the grass right next to the walking path.
Gavin didn't see it and almost ran over it's tail with his bike. He was probably a foot away. It scared me to death! All the kids were a little more careful on their bikes after that near tragedy.
Nate tried to pump Junior on Maddie's bike for awhile, but it didn't really work out.
The trail was so pretty - especially in this little section. We saw several alligators along this path. They were in the grass right next to the path!
I loved this swampy side too. It was so pretty and it was a nice day!
I had the kids stop just past this alligator to show how close we were to them! They never moved when we went by, just their eyes, I guess, but they were enjoying the sun too much.
This was probably the biggest one we saw.
These two were just down from the one in the previous picture.
At the end of the really pretty trail there's a tall tower you can climb up and see for a long way. It was pretty cool. I was up at the top and Jack was posing for some pictures down on the ground. It was a great day.

Last weekend I . . .

Last Saturday Megan invited me to go to a "workshop." Usually I'm not too keen on spending any weekend time on anything having to do with work, but this was one I couldn't pass up. I even paid $10 to go!
A few years ago, I saw this movie, "Freedom Writers." It was really good. It's based on a true story.
There's a book out with the real stories of the kids and the teacher who this was based on.
This is a trailer of the movie just to give you an idea about what her presentation was about.
This is Erin Gruwell. She was a great speaker and I loved every minute of her presentation.
The title of her presentation was "Change." Here's a scene from the movie that this was based on.
I forgot to say that we met Katherine there. We went out to the Olive Garden after that. It was a great morning and afternoon.
Very much unrelated was the ping pong tournament we had that evening. No, I still didn't win, but it was a fun time for sure.
Julie brought a special outfit to increase her odds, but sadly, she didn't win either. It was a new guy that we hadn't met yet, John. Dang it!
Part of the fun included people taking my camera and taking pictures of themselves and others.
Here's a nice shot Nate took of his and Wendy's nostrils. Nice.


Several days ago, one of my students' parents' invited me to go horseback riding with them at their ranch.
This is my student Abbey with one of her Grandma's horses. His name is Montana. Abbey is a barrel racer. I've seen pictures of her racing. The plan was to ride for awhile and then I would go out and watch one of her racing lessons.
Here I am with Abbey. The horse I rode was Apache. It was a lot of fun.
Here's their cute little family. The mom is expecting a baby soon - another girl. I went out to the practice, but they were just working on technique and not really racing so I didn't stay too long. My camera battery had died and I was freezing, but other than that, it was a great time!

Sunday, February 14, 2010


I've had a few things lately that fit under the "cute" category that I had to share.
First, on Tuesday, I went in for my routine dental appointment for some cleaning with Dr. Butler and was happy to see his daughter, Jennifer there. Jen is a friend of mine who is married to another of my friends - Brady. I hadn't seen her for a long time, nor had I seen their cute baby, Aspen! She was super good natured and smiley.
Okay, this one is not really in the cute category, but I had to stick in my bowling score from Friday night. Julie made up nicknames for all of us, but I'm "PL," the 3rd one down. I think this is my best score ever!
Saturday I went to a couple of baptisms. One was Nate's daughter Lexie. Nate got to baptize and confirm her. It was a really great baptism.
The second baptism was Nate's nephew, Jacob. Since there were two baptisms in the Buttar's family, the WHOLE Buttars family was in town. Megan and I helped take a bunch of family pictures for them. I had to snap a quick one of Nate and his cute kids. They were all pictured out by this point. Can you tell?
Today, my friend Becca invited me over for dinner. I haven't seen her much since she got married and had kids, but I'm in her ward now, so we get to see each other a lot more. It was fun to hang out with her and her cute kids today! I forgot to take a picture of them so I stole this one from her Facebook photos! :)

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Monster Jam

This post is mostly about the monster jam, but is also about the awesome ping pong tournament we had at my house this weekend! I didn't even have to organize it. Julie took care of business again.
We had a really good turn out and a lot of fun. Probably besides the ping pong, we all enjoyed hitting each other with those "snaps" or "pops" that you get from the firework stands. My dad had given me some for Christmas and we used them all on Friday night.
Sadly, I did not win. Jason took the championship this time. There's always next time, though! I had to include the brackets in this post because the doodling on it totally cracked me up.
On Saturday evening Collette, Megan, and I went to the Monster Jam down at the Reliant Stadium. We even dressed up for it. Here are Megan and Collette in their white trash (but still cute) outfits.
I thought this Turtle truck was pretty cool looking. His poor shell got cracked by the end of the night, though!
Here are Collette and I enjoying the festivities. Notice she was the smart one who brought earplugs. Next time!
Grave Digger is the most popular truck that was there. He wrecked in the first round of racing which really bummed us out because he's the most daring in the free style round, but not worries, he got all fixed up in between races.
He was even in the racing finals with Ironman. He had to settle for second, though. We had to watch the replay, but it was Ironman by a bumper!
Here's that car up close. I thought it looked really cool. It's headlights were a brilliant white like Ironman's in the movie.
The freestyle round was so much fun to watch. Here's the Ninja Turtle jumping over some of the dirt. He caught some serious air.
Here's some crazy air from Ironman too. This big jump was amazing to watch people go off of.
This video shows some truck, I can't remember who, going off the big jump. It was pretty amazing. I never got a good video of it, but this one guy jumped it from the other side and cleared the whole thing. It was awesome. It popped one of the guy's front tires, though!
Here's one of his jumps. He doesn't slow down on his jumps like most of them do. He jumped this whole thing, when most of the trucks did it in two smaller jumps.
This last video was of a couple of his jumps. He jumps from the other side of the big one like I was talking about earlier (the one who popped his tire), but he didn't clear it all the way. I wish I had that other guy on video.
Here's Grave Digger posing after his freestyle round. He is quite a show off, but was definitely the best and most daring.
We wanted to get some pictures of us in front of the arena after the event. Grave Digger is between mine and Megan's heads.
Here are the 3 of us. Deaf, but happy!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Maui Pineapple Company

This is a sad news post, along with a little walk down memory lane.
First of all, for those of you who don't know, I spent many summers in Hawaii growing up, while my dad worked for a group called Youth Developmental Enterprises (YDE).
YDE would bring boys from the US mainland over to pick pineapples in Hawaii, on Lanai and Molokai at first, and then on to Maui. Initially, YDE worked with Dole, but later began working with Maui Pineapple Company, now known as Maui Land & Pineapple.
My mom heard a rumor that Maui Pineapple Company was shutting down at the beginning of 2010! Just an FYI - YDE stopped working with them several years ago.
That made me so sad. I checked on the Internet and found an article about it, and also confirmed it with my friend Megan who is from Maui. She said that they've shut down the pineapple area, but are still alive as a company in their other endeavors, whatever they are.
Apparently they've already laid off hundreds of workers! Sad news!
I've found all these pictures on the Internet just at random sites. I just kept finding them so, sorry, there are tons of pictures on this one.
For more information about the closing, click HERE to see an article about it.
So, I couldn't resist. I went on Facebook to the YDE group and found a bunch of pictures that some of the boys had uploaded. It was fun for me to look through the more than 600 pictures. This one was from the plantation that I lived at most of the summers we were there - Haliimaile.
One of the boys got this awesome shot of a pineapple field on Maui.
This photo was taken at Haliimaile in 1990. That was my last summer there with my dad working for YDE. We weren't on this plantation that summer. We were at a house just up Baldwin Ave. with the boys who were working at the cannery instead of in the fields picking pineapple.
I can't believe that I'm actually posting this picture, but I just had to. It was an obvious ugly stage, but it's hilarious. It's not so bad of Kara, but . . . dang!
This one is much cuter! I was a cute baby for sure!
One of the boys had this picture of Lavern Teves. She was the cook at Haliimaile for many of my summers over there.
Another favorite over there was the McDonnell family. He (Skip) was a coordinator with my dad, and he and his family later moved over there. Stacy (on the right) was the closest to my age.
I liked this shot one of the boys got of another pineapple field.
Yet another cool picture.
I got a good laugh at all the these. Those boys used to look so old to me and now they look so young! I must be getting old!
Farewell, Maui Pineapple Company! I will miss you!