Monday, August 16, 2010

No time for much of a blog, but I was told that I would put a few pictures up for Alex. Unfortunately, finding any pictures on Mom's computer has proven more challenging than I thought. In the end, it would have been less time consuming to just go get my own computer and work with something familiar. {I should have bought Cari a Mac}.

I will try to post more informative pictures and blog next time.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Sunday, August 1, 2010

It has been some time since I last shared the life of the family with the world, but since I promised Alex that I would try to put something out there before he checks in the morning, I will try to remember everything that has happened over the past several weeks. I'm not sure how much of it is of interest to anyone, but it will be out there for the world to decide.

Father's day came and went, and apparently, I'm still being recognized by my family as the father, as they gave me gifts. Ashlyn, as usual, created something special in the form of a "Candy Bar Poster", and without any coaching from others, she correctly identified me as her "Sugar Daddy" when it came to "Payday". She also worked in a "Mr. Goodbar", "Big Hunk", and "Three Musketeers". It was really quite creative, and she insists that the "Dum Dums" were not intended to be read as commentary, but only as to their shape as exclamation points.

The next event of note would be Girl's Camp, which in spite of no longer being the Young Women's President, Cari found a way to be a part of. Never one to pass up a social event, she went for the whole enchilada, and got to experience Abby's first year with her. Fun was had by all, and according to Cari and Abby, the 100's of hours of preparation and planning were worth it in the end.

As June wound down, and July spun up, Cari and Mary Zollinger (Jeff's Wife) decided it was the perfect opportunity for a family gathering. All of Jeff's kids were in town with their respective families, Mary's kid's were all here as well. Jack and Debbie, Blake and Nicole, Josh and his new wife Meagan, David and Anna were here with their kids, Glenn and Mary Ann, Paul, Cassie, and Thatcher, Mandi, Kempton and Jake put in appearances, Sue Lewis and her son Walter, various guest appearances by friends and extended family members of family, and Grandma Z supervised the whole thing. All told, there were about 60 people milling about in our back yard. Basketball and badminton were main stays, and water balloon volleyball got some attention as well, but the main attraction was the 25 feet high by 50 feet long inflatable water slide. If you haven't ever seen one, it is not something to be taken lightly. Just because it is filled with air doesn't mean it can't be dangerous. There are ways to use it that make the bouncy parts hurt. For instance, if you jump face first down the ramp, and miss the ramp completely, you could, in theory, tear something in your shoulder. Not to mention the humiliation that comes from having small children pointing and laughing when you don't slide, but rather splat. (I'm giving my shoulder a few more weeks before I agree to have it surgically repaired.) Lot's of good food was consumed, and with only one known exception, the water slide was very popular.

The next event was Addison turning 19. Technically, that occurred before the July 4th festivities, but since Cari refuses to merge parties and risk not having as many as possible, somehow Addison was relegated to the day after the big blowout in the back yard. He received items that can be used on his mission, or used immediately without risk of bodily injury. His disappointment was not noticeable, but it might be the first time he got more useful items than frivolous ones. I believe that marks the beginning of adulthood.

For Cari, Mandi, Abby, Ashlyn and Kempton, the summer has consisted of several short excursions to parks, arcades and various entertainment destinations, while Jake has been working as a medical intern and I've been pursuing "Justice for All". Jake and I have found a few opportunities to play golf, several trips to Driggs and Victor to try the golf courses of the rich and famous, but otherwise, just the home course as often as possible.

My most recent golf took place in Pittsburgh, PA last week. I went with a couple of Rexburg Police officers for some training, and convinced them to take golf clubs along. Someone might have warned me that if the temperature is 95+ and the humidity is too, the golf is officially a water sport. I am going to be far less critical of those PGA guys who are sweating so profusely on TV. It's not always about being fat and overweight, sometimes it really is just hot and humid. Otherwise, Pittsburgh is a very interesting city. They have the worst roadway system of any large city I've ever seen, and yet they manage to move people in and out with efficiency. Very courteous compared to Idaho and Utah drivers. The other activity we took in while there, involved a baseball game followed by a Steve Miller Band concert. The concert was good, and was clearly the draw that filled the stadium, as the Pirates are truly no good.

Plans for the upcoming weeks include getting Addison ready to leave on his mission to Riverside, CA as a Spanish speaker (Mandi thinks he should memorize Preach My Gospel, the standard works, and learn Spanish this month, but Addison wants to work on making arrangements for his prize possessions to be protected while he is away.) We will also be getting Jake sent back to school, with Mandi and Kempton staying on for a few extra weeks to attend Jake's brother's wedding at the end of August.

Alex has started to wonder what life after mission holds in store for him. He is asking me to do things like register him for school, find him a job, and figure out how he can pay for college. The bad news is he doesn't need to register until after he gets home, so he can do it himself. I don't have any idea what type of work he can do while in school, so he will have to work that out after he gets home, and I fear the bad news on how he pays for college is mine, I'll be paying. We're just anxious to have him home. The two months without either Alex or Addison is seeming a little forlorn, but I'm sure we'll get through it. At least their respective going and coming will provide for blog fodder.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

It's either been very busy around the Zollinger home the past several weeks, or life has been so boring that I haven't been able to bring myself to write about it. Whichever the case, the past two weeks have been packed with adventure and association worth writing about.

The big trip to Illinois started by heading to Saint George on May 27th. I know what some of you may be saying, Saint George isn't really on the way to Illinois, and you would be correct. One thing that I've learned after 25+ years of marriage is that neither directional perception nor geography in general are the reasons I married Cari. If you tell her to plan a trip, she will ensure that every detail is addressed, but it may not necessarily seem logical. Just get in the car and go with it.

We had a great time in Southern Utah with David, Anna and the gang, and I was able to get in a few rounds of golf with Evan and Tyler Meyers. Apparently, I have been adopted as an honorary member of the Meyers family. (The reason stems from a little contest that involves 3 putts on the golf course, and the opportunity to pass the "Three Putt Monkey Butt" on to me if I'm a member of the family.) We also managed to get in several rounds of "Hand and Foot" as well as a nice dinner for the grown ups in Las Vegas. We all thought it great to be in warm weather since the Rexburg climate has been unseasonably cool.

Monday, saw us loading up for the first leg of our cross country trek. We drove to Denver and if any of you get the chance, it is one of the most beautiful stretches of Interstate I've ever driven. The Vail, Colorado summit is bracketed by very extreme vistas. Cari had selected a nice hotel for us in the Denver area, but again, it was a little be directionally challenged, as we had to drive about an hour out of our way to get there. On the bright side, I'm not sure we would ever see that portion of Colorado on purpose.

Tuesday moved us through what can only be described as the most boring portion of Interstate. I know it's been said before, but it needs to be said again, what the heck is there between Denver and Kansas City? Well, one answer was found by the Zollinger crew thanks to our unique navigational approach to Southern Illinois. We spent Tuesday night in Manhattan. Although it wouldn't be completely out of the possible for our navigator, the Big Apple would be too far for a single days travel, so we actually stayed in the "Little Apple", Manhattan, Kansas, which is the home of Kansas State University. We got there early enough to get in a round of miniature golf, bowling, swimming and a nice dinner. We also took a drive around the campus, and we were quite impressed with the old campus buildings.

Wednesday was scheduled to get us to Carbondale, home of the Mandi, Jake and Kempton Moss family. Since there were more hours in the day than were needed to travel the distance, I took a detour of my own, and drove to the Liberty Jail and Independence Visitor Centers. Both sites were interesting, and the girls actually admitted that the delay may have been worth it.

Thursday and Friday were spent helping pack up the Moss's and wrapping up last minute matters in Carbondale. For anyone that has not had the chance to spend several hours in a big metal box (the moving truck) in 90+ temperatures and 90%+ humidity, I highly recommend it as a weight loss program. Or in the alternative, you can put your enemy in that position as a form of torture. I believe in World War II prison camps it was a form of punishment known as the box.

Saturday, we headed for Springfield, Illinois, where I discovered that we were in fact driving to no specific destination. Maybe we would be moving into a duplex, maybe a four bedroom house, or maybe a storage unit. Not exactly how I would have planned an arrival in a completely new town, but an adventure none the less. After spending a few hours looking at the cool old house (probably a small fortune to heat and without central air), the duplex that seemed perfect to me, but I'm not the one living there, and the storage unit, the storage unit won out in the interest of time. So, once again, I found myself in the "Box" for another hour, but we eventually got the Moss household offloaded in Springfield.

In keeping with our navigationally challenged travel plans, we then headed to Chicago for the night. About half way there, we got to experience an amazing lightning show, and rain like nothing I've ever driven through. At one point I asked Jake if he thought we should maybe pull off and wait out the storm, but he was confident that it was just a typical storm for the area. However, Sunday morning newscasts informed us that in fact we had driven right through the middle of several tornados. (Houses tipped over, cars turned over, etc.) We Idahoans aren't easily put off by weather. Although, we maybe should have taken time to think better of it when we saw the line of 4 or 5 ambulances in a row headed past us.

Sunday was a travel day, and we made it to Sioux City for the night. Again, a new part of the Country for me, and quite frankly the northern route is much nicer than the Nebraska, Kansas route. Illinois, Minnesota, Wisconsin and South Dakota in one day.

Monday we drove to Rapid City, South Dakota, a short jaunt by our standards, so that we would have time to visit Mount Rushmore, and Crazy Horse Mountain. Jake and Kempton were the only two that hadn't been there before, and they were both appropriately impressed.

Tuesday had us heading home. Not to pass up an opportunity, we allowed ourselves to get sucked in by the electronic navigational systems, and I'm not sure they did any better than Cari in the end. Every device we had took us through Yellowstone park, over another great mountain pass between Sheridan and Cody, Wyoming. Spectacular, but certainly not the fastest or easiest route to Rexburg from Rapid City. We did see bears, buffalo, elk and beautiful views, and made it home in one piece.

All in all, we spent just over 76 hours driving during a 13 day trip, and we are all still speaking to each other, so I suppose it has to be counted among our successful vacations, and we're glad to have Kempton, Mandi and Jake in town for a few months.

I have high hopes that while Mandi is in town, she can undo the Easter banner that she put on this blog back when it was seasonally appropriate. If not, it will be Easter again in 10 months.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

I logged on and was surprised to see that it had been three weeks since I last blogged. As I look back, the only possible excuse is that I just didn't feel like it.

The golf course has been open and playable for about 3 weeks, but I'm sure that isn't it.

With gymnastics in the "new skills training" season, we haven't had any mandatory trips, and so we haven't taken any trips at all. I have been contemplating the fact that gymnastics may not be a real sport. Not because it doesn't take a great deal of strength, commitment and physical agility, but because it doesn't appear to have a season. Aren't real sports supposed to take some sort of a break to recover from wear and tear or injuries?

Speaking of injuries, the real excitement his past week once again was provided by Ashlyn, our apparent weakest link. On Thursday, she suddenly had a sharp pain in her abdomen, and after all of the home remedies failed to cure her pain, and as it seemed to worsen, Cari and Ashlyn headed for the Emergency room for professional consultation. They attempted several times to track me down at my meeting at City Hall, but were unsuccessful (mostly due to the fact that I was in fact at Hospital Board Meeting, just feet from the emergency room). When I finally got word of what was going on, I walked over to the ER in time to hear the blood results, and watch them hook her up to the IV. The doctor was either very intuitive, or stumbled upon a new diagnostic method, since when he gave Ashlyn her three options, she immediately began to feel a little better. Her options were 1: Check into the hospital for observation for the night. 2: Go ahead and remove her Appendix. 3: Have a CT Scan to rule out appendicitis. She chose the 3rd option and after the test, it was determined that she had a Urinary Tract Infection, and she was sent home with a stiff dose of antibiotics. It's not every 10 year old that can boast 2 CT Scans in one year.

Ashlyn was able to make a rapid recover, and by Friday night she was ready for a father-daughter date. Cari and Abby were in Island Park for some girls camp certification outing. I'm not certain of its exact nature, but it must be very important, since Cari chose it over celebrating our anniversary. I'm not sure what the psychological ramifications of my wife choosing young women's over our anniversary are, but I may suffer long term affects.

Yesterday was again another interesting and full day. Cari and I spent the morning in Idaho Falls, at a Garret Archibald's and Meagan Wright's wedding. It was a gala event, and I ran into Tyler Myers who had a 2:10 tee time, which made the day much better from my perspective. The golf course was slow, which led to my day taking a turn for the worse. The ward was having a talent show by invitation, and the girls had been invited to perform some gymnastics. This isn't as easy as one might think, as all elements of gymnastics require large pieces of equipment. I had loaded everything needed for a balance beam demonstration into the trailer on Friday, and assumed Addison and others could get it into the gym. When I arrived 30 minutes before show time, the beam was sticking out of the doors, and nobody was in sight. I located Addison and his friend AJ Nichols, along with what appeared to be the entire young mens group trying to shove the 9 foot mat through the 6 foot 8 inch door. After I taught them the principle of folding, we sized up the beam and determined it wouldn't fit. At the last possible second, the thought occurred to us that if a casket can fit through the chapel door, it had to be wider than normal, so off we went. The day turned good again when the girls put on a spectacular performance.

Assuming I was right about why it had been 3 weeks since I last blogged, and the golf course has nothing to do with it, I'll blog again soon. If, however, the golf course is a contributing factor, I'll blog when something of interest happens.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Things in Rexburg looked like they were moving rapidly toward a real Spring season. The sun came out and the snow disappeared enough that golf was a reality for a few days. We had our annual Easter picture a week before Easter, since we were going to be dressing down for the actual holiday.

The girls went for a ride on the two seater, and all seemed right with the world. However, nothing is ever as you want it to be in Rexburg, and the next picture shows the current situation in our backyard.

The rapid changes actually seemed to have an adverse impact on Cari, as she experienced some sort of a break with reality. I'm hopeful, for the sake of the children, that it won't happen often. We can only hope.

Since the weather turned on us anyway, we decided to spend the Easter weekend in Island Park with Tom and Kricket Mounts and Andy and Lynn Clark and all of their kids. Kricket's family has a very nice cabin just North of Henry's Lake, and the view is usually great. This weekend, the view was about 25 feet most of the time, but it was still a great weekend. We spent time doing all the finest things in life. Reading, eating, playing ping-pong, pool ad foosball. We also managed to take in General Conference and watch some basketball. I can't figure out why when I try to do all of those things at home, Cari says I'm wasting too much time, but if we do it at a cabin, it's what we aspire to. I'm not complaining, but I am a bit confused.

All things considered, we had a great weekend.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Last for best

This past weekend we took the last gymnastics trip of the 2009-2010 season. I can't say that I'll miss the meets, but the trips have been entertaining for the most part. This one served as a partial family reunion with several of the Wellman clan, as Cari's brother that recently returned from Iraq was passing through Spokane with his family. It was nice to get together with not only Scott and Sarah and their children, but David and Michelle and kids who live just outside of Spokane and Joe and Jessica who live in Spokane Valley and are expecting their first child. (Not counting the huge chocolate lab that has served as their child for the past several years.)
Joe, Jessica Cadet plus two

David, Michelle, Josh, Zach and Jacob

Joe and Scott Quirking

Cari and Jessica Quirking

Sarah Working

Room full of she cousins

The commentary on the adventure is much the same as past meets, except that the pressure of the State wide competition seems to have gotten to the girls. Abby finished 4th on the Floor and 5th on the beam, with a 7th place overall showing, while Ashlyn finished 4th on the beam and 5th on the floor with an 8th place overall showing. They both feel pretty good about their performances given that they are in their first year of performing routines that they selected the elements, and it was against alot of girls that are in their 3rd and 4th years at this level. I guess the obligatory "wait until next year" is appropriate.

As for my part in the competition, for those of you that don't know, it is practically impossible to get to Moscow, Idaho from Rexburg, Idaho. As is demonstrated in our slide show, we went in and out of three states ten times and put 1250 miles on Cari's car before it was over. All in 2 and a half days. My driving was a medal performance if I do say so myself.

As I already stated, it was fun seeing several of Cari's brothers, and catching up with them, but neither the reunion nor the gymnastics meet compare to the highlight of the trip. While looking for the "wholly cows" on the University of Idaho campus, we came upon the birth of a calf. I feared it might be too much for the little girls, but they were mesmerized, and insisted on watching the mother try to help the little guy into the world. Fortunately for the U of I, we didn't get any video footage of the cow rolling the calf down the hill in the dirt, but eventually everyone seems to have figured out the game plan, and the new arrival settled into a comfortable position. Probably not as rare as the cows with clear plexiglass windows sewn into their sides, but pretty impressive to watch.

On the home front, Addison was left behind to care for his grandma (my mom) and the dog. When we called to check in with him, he reported dog was a menace and that grandma had fallen and put her head through the oven door (no serious injuries). He stated that we should get rid of her and save ourselves a lot of hassle. I'm reasonably certain he was talking about the dog, but I will be following up.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Montana for a Day

This weeks only entertaining event was another trip to a gymnastics meet. This time we forced Addison to come along for the support so we made it a quick one day adventure. The girls rode up to Missoula, Montana with their coach and her husband very early Saturday morning, and Cari, Addison and I followed at a more humane hour. The girls joined us for lunch before the meet, and Ashlyn now has a new favorite place to eat - Fuddruckers.

Addison assures us that the Level 7 meets are no more tolerable than the Level 4, 5 or 6 meets were. It's probably good that he is leaving for two years on a mission, maybe he will better appreciate the girls gymnastics skills when they are two years better, or he is two years removed.

The girls both did quite well, Abby is in the Junior B division, and took 1st on the floor, 3rd on the Beam, 3rd on the vault and 3rd overall. Ashlyn, in the Junior A division, took 2nd on the floor, 4th on the uneven bars and 4th overall. As a team, they took 3rd overall for the meet. The team finish was made more impressive by the fact that the girls team consisted of just 4 competitors, and the other teams all had 10 to 15 competitors.

The rest of the quick trip was spent enjoying the water park attached to our hotel, and visiting the historic prison in Deer Lodge, Montana. The trip was quick, and there was plenty of driving involved, but it was still a fun adventure.

On a side note, the long drive reminded me again of what terrible co-travelers my wife and children are. Alex has traditionally been the only one that helps me stay awake, and he isn't available. Cari insists on telling me how important it is that I not wear my headphones so we can visit, but 30 minutes in she is inevitably sound asleep and I'm either stuck listening to whatever movie the girls and Addison are watching, or digging for the headphones that I have stashed under the seat. The lesson is that 30 minutes is not much to give.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

It seems that every time I sit down to edit the blog, the same thing has happened again in a new location. Namely, more time spent in a gymnasium far away from home watching the girls shake, rattle and roll. It's nice spending time with Cari and the girls, but we have yet to find a gym with comfortable seating. I may have to become a competitor so I can lay down occasionally on the soft mats.

Last weekends meet was in Park City, Utah. We found out too late, that Johnny and his team were there practicing between Olympic events, but we got to hear about Jack Harris' exploits with the Johnny's medal. I can only assume Johnny was willing to let Jack hand his medal to a total stranger in hopes of furthering Jack's social agenda. (However, I'm pretty sure it's the medal winner the girls are swooning for, not his sidekick.) Both girls performed well in at least one event. Abby tied for first on the floor, but apparently sticking 3 separate landings during your beam routine is not impressive to anyone but your father. Ashlyn finished 4th overall for her age group, just missing the podium, but feeling good about herself. Gymnastics meets amidst the 2 weeks of Winter Gymnastics helped me to appreciate the agony of the competition for some, and the joy of victory for others. Congratulations to Abby, Ashlyn, Johnny and team USA Nordic Combined. (Not necessarily in that order.)

Mandi seems to have settled back into her life in Carbondale. She and Kempton are missed here in Rexburg by all. Addison misses his homework mentor. (She derives way too much joy from studying other peoples homework.) The girls are suffering withdrawals from the daily activities she coordinated. Cari misses the live in TV gossip partner among other things, and I miss watching someone with apparent bottomless patience deal with Kempton, Addison and me. (It seems the less fair the gender, the less responsible the individual.)

Alex continues to thrive in the mission field. He is fairly certain that he will be leaving LaPlace this week, and is excited to start a new adventure in another area. He is also starting to contemplate the "after life" and has requested specific information about getting into BYU-Idaho starting next January. I'm impressed that I have a son that is thinking more than a few days into the future.

Addison continues to be happy with his very simple life. School, cartoon network, video games and the occasional snowboarding adventure. He seems to be doing fine in school, knows every show on the CN and conquers the new games he buys in 48 hours. (Straight through if it happens to be the weekend.) He is a little down about the fact that all of his friends have been getting their mission calls, and he is still months away, but then since there is nothing he can do but wait, he watches another episode of Family Guy and moves on. What a great life and attitude.

As previously stated, the girls still spend any spare time at the gym. Ashlyn did manage to celebrate her 10th birthday over the course of the last two weeks. The actual day was February 19, so we had cupcakes with David and Anna and their family after the Park City meet. Then we celebrated with immediate family, and finished it all off with a "friends" party at the inflated bouncing room at the arcade. I am suspicious that the multiple party plan was an effort to maximize her return on getting older, but she has a way of manipulating her mother and me. Both girls are doing well in school and at least for now, the department of family services hasn't questioned us about all the scrapes and bruises they show up with at school.

Life is generally good in the Zollinger home, and the past few weeks have been made better by our friends and family.

Unlike Mandi, we still have a camera and memory card, I'm just too lazy to run back to the car and get it most of the time. There will be pictures next time.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

This week has been eventful in many ways. Most of the week was devoted to getting Mandi and Kempton ready for their migration back to Illinois. It never ceases to amaze me how much stuff Mandi can accumulate in a short period of time. Why would anyone living in Illinois buy a food processor in Idaho.

Mandi had several items on her to do list that she felt still had to be done, so many of the photos are last minute activities. I'm not sure how likely the girls snowboard lessons are to take, but Mandi did take them to the hill for a night of fun. Larry and Janelle Wellman went along for the adventure and according to all, the night was a success.

Snowboarding wasn't the only winter wonder that Mandi felt everyone should experience. She orchestrated a trip to the sledding hill up near the BYU-I. Kempton never seems to enjoy her outings as much as she thinks he will. As you can see from the photos, he is more like his Gramps, and thinks the snow is for shoveling, not playing.

On Thursday, Cari, Abby and Ashlyn were dropped off at the Idaho Falls, Airport for their trip to Las Vegas. Somehow, it seems a lot more logical when I head for Vegas with 100 of my closest golf buddies than watching them leave for a gym meet with 20 of their closest pals.

They had rented a house near where the meet was and apparently had a great weekend living it up and just relaxing in the sun. The girls did pretty good in their meet, Abby's best finish was a 3rd on floor and 5th overall, and Ashlyn had a 2nd on floor but 8th overall. Their team took 4th and they were thrilled with the experience.

Friday night Addison and I were tasked with trying to put everything Mandi had collected into 4 suitcases. It wasn't much of a challenge size wise, but when most of what she is taking is books, weight rapidly became an issue. (On a side note, since I was using Addison as the holder of the luggage to weigh it, I discovered that if I could cut him in half, I could almost take him on the plane in two pieces.) Saturday, I loaded Mandi, Kempton and four 50 pound suitcases into the car and headed for SLC. Everyone made it home intact, and Kempton remembered to call Jake, daddy instead of "my Jake", so all is right in Illinois.

Sunday found me playing the part of limo service again, as Cari and the girls came home. We all gathered around the television and watched Johnny win his silver medal, and then watched it again several times. I wouldn't have thought it could be so exciting, but we are all very proud of Johnny. Congratulations Johnny.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

A week worth blogging about. I knew one would eventually happen, and my patience has been rewarded. We all did something of note last week.

Addison only warrants brief mention. He relapsed and spent the time we were out of town forgetting to behave like an adult. He stayed up all hours of the night playing video games, and forgot to get up for school then next morning. He then did the same thing again last night and forgot to get up for church. Hopefully, he has learned his lesson, and will do better if we ever leave him without adult supervision again.

Alex continues to do well on his mission, and will be staying in LaPlace for at least another 6 weeks. He seems to have this particular area pretty well figured out, and must have a reason for staying there.

Cari, Mandi, Abby, Ashlyn and Kempton headed for Salt Lake City last Friday for the first meet of the season. The girls managed to get medals in individual events, but were not able to put together enough points as a team to place. It is the first year for all five of the level 7 girls, and they are finally doing their own routines. It has proven to be a bit more complicated than they knew. Ashlyn was informed by the judges after the meet that she was missing an element in her floor routine, and would have done much better if she had included it. They then travelled to Boise this weekend for meet number two. The entire team improved upon their scores from Utah, and again each of the girls were able to place individually, and the team finished 5th. Again, Ashlyn was informed this week that she was missing an element in her Beam routine, and would have done much better if she had included it. Apparently, if she ever figures out what elements she needs to have, she might be a contender. Abby simply puts it all together for the event, and finishes better each meet. They get a week off, and then travel to Las Vegas for a meet on February 12. Let's hope they get it all worked out by then.

Speaking of Las Vegas, I left for Las Vegas on Friday, the day the girls left for Utah for their meet. I stopped in Saint George and played golf at a fairly new course called Sand Hollow, then went on to Mesquite and played Coyote Springs. The group then went on to Las Vegas where 90 to 100 from Southeast Idaho took over the Red Rock Country Club on Monday, the Sienna Course on Tuesday and the Red Rock Arroyo course on Wednesday. I then flew to Boise for meetings on Thursday and Friday, and ended up driving home with the family, but not before we took time to stop by the newly refurbished Capital building.

The details are thin, but the pictures are all you need.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Two weeks, and despite the best efforts of the Zollinger clan, we haven't done anything that compels me to write about it. However, because we use the blog to communicate with Alex in Louisiana, Cari and the girls decided I had to write something even if it isn't that exciting.

Mandi and Kempton continue to hang out in Rexburg, mostly because Jake has figured out that it is easier to study if he isn't stressing about Mandi trying to make everything perfect for his studying. Mandi hasn't figured out yet that just doing her own thing with Kempton might be the best thing she could do for peace of mind, but I'm pretty sure he understanding will come with time. In the mean time, we are thoroughly enjoying their time here with us, and I'm doing my best to teach Kempton inappropriate behaviors. His mom and aunts are countering my every move.

Addison has been busy learning what university life is all about. Mandi is giving him all of her tips for making the most of the educational experience, and in spite of her tips, he seems to be getting along quite well. He appears to understand the importance balancing studying with playing, if we can figure out how to work socializing into the mix, he may yet become the perfect young man.

Alex is still doing great, and enjoying his opportunities. He knows already when he will be coming home, and is beginning to think about getting into the university life. I think maybe he is a little nervous that Addison is getting a head start in the brains department. Don't worry Alex, you should be able to catch up and pass him at everything but video games.

The girls are making the final push for the competition season that will begin this coming weekend. It's hard to know if they are "cocky" or truly ready, but they believe they are peaking just at the right time. They will be in SLC first, and then to Boise the last weekend of the month, one week off to rest and then to Las Vegas. That's as far as I know right now. Cari and the girls try to break it to me gradually, so I don't freak out at how much of a commitment we are making to this venture.

My adventure for the coming week will be to take the annual winter golf trip. Maybe it will give me something to write about, but in the mean time, because Mandi informed me that blogging without photos is "lame", I sent Cari, Mandi, Abby, Ashlyn and Kempton out into the city to take pictures of anything that they thought was new, and the foregoing slideshow is the result.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Short Update

The New Year is upon our house, and it came with as little fan fare as ever. Cari's sister Barbie rode the shuttle up from Salt Lake City on the 31st and that was the extent of our party attendants. Cari, me, Abby, Ashlyn and Barbie. The lack of guests didn't slow Cari down in her preparations, she never misses a chance for party plans. Addison went to Island Park with buddies. I'm not complaining, I don't mind that Cari is always doing the heavy lifting when it comes to party planning, but I would just as soon not have parties at all. The older I get, the less I enjoy having to get up for anything. By time I turn 55, I may just want to sleep and eat, and the eating according to Cari will be limited to pizza and popcorn.

The week between Christmas and now has been more casual at work than usual. I have traditionally taken this week off to avoid losing vacation days, but this year I worked every day and found that there are very few people that expect government business to be transacted. Even though we were open and available at City Hall, there was very little activity. I plan on working every year from now on, and taking the busy weeks off.

The girls and Addison are headed back to school this coming week, and none of them seem too happy about it. Addison is acting as bored as I've ever seen him. Abby wanted to know if we would consider homeschooling her, and Ashlyn will likely find some sickness to fake in the morning. I'm sure the new year will bring many new and exciting adventures for us as a family, and I'm optimistic that I'll be able to write something meaningful about each and every event. (At least I'll have material if the family has adventures.)

If you came looking for photos, try Mandi's and Jake's blog, as despite carrying the camera with us every day of the week, apparently if you don't take it out of the case, turn it on, point it, and press the button, carrying it serves no purpose. Maybe next week.