Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Christmas 2010

We have had a wonderful Christmas break so far. All the kids were home except for Isaac. Bailey and Chad flew in on Dec. 16th. and Paige, Brent and Leslie got here on Dec. 21. We have had a lot of fun playing games, visiting, and eating (too much!).

Paige, Brent, Leslie and Abby waiting for the annual EPR family Christmas Eve Program. Earlier in the evening Abby was helping Paige with her hairdoo. That explains why Paige is sporting such a fine looking hair style.
Miranda and Remi
Bailey reading her annual Christmas poem.
Eric and Abby playing the chimes. Angels We Have Heard on High.
The night ends with everyone including Blue listening to Eric read the Christmas story from Luke 2.

 Family photo with us letting our "Lights shine." This year our special guest was Isaac from Brazil. He wrote a Christmas letter that I shared during the program and the yearly ornament that was given out was a candle stick to remind us to let our lights shine.
Christmas morning...Leslie's first Christmas.

 Opening gifts! I think Eric is surprised.
 Abby got a Cell phone! and Yes, she is wearing frog pajamas.
Chad and Bailey manning the garbage sacks. We accumulated a bunch of trash!
Everyone gathered around the speaker phone talking to Isaac in Brazil. We had two pages of questions to ask him. It sure was good to hear his voice.  

Monday, November 15, 2010

End of an Era

Tonight we ended an era at the Robertson home. We attended our final Skyline Cross Country banquet. We have had kids (Paige, Isaac, Miranda and Abby) involved in cross country since 2003. Paige ran her sophmore year. Isaac started running with the high school team when he was in 7th grade. Since there was not a Jr. High XC team he ran with the high school everyday and would enter races unattached. He lettered all four years when he was in High School. Miranda played volleyball in Jr. high, but decided to switch to XC her sophomore year. She has been on the team ever since.  Abby tried XC her freshman year and found that she really didn't like it. (I still hold a glimmer of hope that she changes her mind!) We are now done with high school sports since Abby doesn't like to compete. I have appreciated  Coach Schmidt and the time he has spent encouraging my kids. He paid Miranda a very nice tribute tonight.

For the next few years instead of cheering on the sidelines we will be attending plays as Miranda and Abby have become involved with drama. Miranda has been in 2 district musicals, Grease and Little Women and also participated with the sounds choir in the production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat. She is also taking Drama as an elective. Abby participated in Joseph also. Plus she was in Oklahoma last summer. I think that both girls plan on trying out for the district musical again this year which will be Guys and Dolls.

Miranda lettered in Cross Country. She is also wearing a T-Shirt given to her by the coach. He always gives out "Stinky T-Shirt" awards to all the seniors. It is a very fun tradition. She got the crayon shirt because everyone is happy when they have a box a crayons and Miranda always is happy and makes everyone around her happy. She also got an award for being an athlete with a great GPA (4.0).

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Happy Birthday Eric!

We celebrated Eric's birthday on Wednesday, October 27. He turned 49. I gave him new socks (that is what he asked for) and a new duffle bag to carry his running stuff. Abby and Miranda got him a new red tie and made him a birthday cake that looked like a bee hive. It was very cute. It was supposed to be cupcakes, but we decided that a cake would be easier. We had a family dinner of hamburgers and french fries, Eric's choice. He wanted to try the out the pickles we made this year.

This is a close-up view of the beehive.  The hexagon thingies are supposed to be the cells bees will use to store their honey.

Eric just blew out his candle.  I think he is just glad that there weren't more to blow out!

This is a photo of Miranda's cake she made for a friend.  It may look like french fries and ketchup, but those are really pound cake pieces and red frosting.  Looks good, don't it?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Wake up Call

This morning I was awakened at 5:10  by the phone. It was the sherrifs office doing a reverse 911 call. The message said that there was an arsonist in the area. The arsonist had started 6 haystack fires. I was instructed to check my property and report any suspicious activity to the sherrif's office. I did get up and check things out by peeking out the windows. After a quick prayer, I was not as worried because we don't have a haystack. Why do abnormal things always happen when Eric is out of town? It was not a good way to start the day...and an hour before my alarm was set to go off.

Other people in the community have been getting reverse 911 calls because there has been a mountain lion roaming around some neighborhoods. I did hear on the news today that a mountain lion was hit be a car between Firth and Blackfoot. I haven't hear if it is the same one that has been on an adventure in town.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Bee Action

  Eric looked out the window late this afternoon and spotted some peculiar behavior going on with our Daisy hive. We might have expected to see the bees out enjoying the evening if the weather would have been warmer, but it was kind of chilly.  When we looked closer, we found that the bees seemed to be locked in mortal combat with each other.
Maybe if you look closely you can see some groups of bees fighting.  We watched for a while to be sure we knew what was going on.  We finally decided with Eric's brother's consultation that Daisy was under attack from some other bees trying to rob the hive of its honey!!  Yikes!

Every once in a while a ball of bees would fall off the porch and end up in the grass.  There were a bunch of dead bees in the grass in front of Daisy.  We hope these dead bees were the robbers and not Daisy's defenders/warriors.
We set a water sprinkler near Daisy's entrance for a while and everything calmed down rather quickly.  Then we put an entrance reducer on the hive so Daisy could defend herself better.  We'll have to keep an eye on things to see if normalcy returns.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

St. George 2010

Well St. George was a lot different this time compared to two years ago.  Then, the weather was FREEZING and WET.  This time it was record breaking heat.  How would just normal be??

Anyway, I (Eric) ran the marathon on Saturday, 2 October 2010.  I was hoping for a finishing time that would qualify me for entrance into the Boston Marathon.  My goal was 3:35:59, but missed it by a lot.  I finished at 3:57:47 (just 22 minutes off, give me a break!!).  I can give a bunch of excuses for the poor finishing time, but I won't.  But in case you're interested, a few of them are 1) foot surgery earlier this spring, 2) carrying around too much weight, 3) a week in Italy a week before the marathon, 4) record breaking heat during the race.  Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't trade the week in Italy with Marie for anything.  That was a blast.  But I wouldn't suggest it as a training aid.

Marie and I took Mindy, Abby, and Paige and Leslie with us to St. George.  I had fun, and I think the others did too.  We really didn't do much except marathon stuff.  Mayby next time I can convince those who go to maybe go to Zion or see some of the other sites.  St. George is a neat place.

Here are some pictures:

This is my (Eric's) foot in a sock/shoe made be Vibram.  It is the new craze in running.  People actually wear these to run in.

Here I am coming down the stretch, trying hard to beat this nice lady.

Crossing the line (finally!!!)

After the race, I shouldn't have sat down because at this point I didn't think I could get back up.  Will someone please help that poor man??

Here is a picture of Abby, carrying Leslie, and me at the condo.  I wish we would have taken a shot of the whole group, but . . .

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Italy Trip

On Saturday September 18, 2010 Eric and I set out on an adventure to visit Italy. Well, I was visiting. He was going there to present a paper at the Annual SPE Convention. We traveled all day and night Saturday and finally arrived in Rome Italy at 7:00 a.m. Sunday morning. It was at this point we learned very quickly about public transportation. We had to take a train from the Rome Airport to the train terminal in order to catch a train to Florence. Once in Florence, we took our lives into our own hands and got into a taxi. Let me just add here...Italians are great drivers...they have to be because there is no rhyme nor reason to the traffic patterns in Italy. Do not get in the way of a taxi or a bus driver. They obey the traffic lights well, but as far as we could tell the other traffic signs were suggestions they didn't really care to heed. Our next lesson came when we checked into our hotel and we couldn't figure out how to turn on the lights. We were flipping all the switches but nothing would happen. We finally asked the front desk what the trick was and they said we had to put our room key in a reader that was by the door. If the key was in the reader then the light switches worked. The next lesson we learned was that the city buses were a much better way to get from our hotel to downtown than walking. We did walk from our hotel. It took us an hour. We had sore feet! Also the place to buy bus tickets closes at 7:00 pm. Buy your tickets before then. That is why we had to also walk back to our hotel. We got smart and bought tickets from the hotel front desk from then on. Eric had SPE obligations on Monday. I was booked on a City walking tour. I met a nice lady from Colorado whose husband was also at the SPE convention. We ended up spending they day together exploring and shopping the open markets. On Tueday, I was booked on a tour to see the Medici chuch and palace. Very interesting. Eric skipped out of the conference on Tuesday afternoon so I took him on the walking tour that I had been on the day before. This was good. I got to spend more time looking at things I didn't get to see the previous day. We spent a lot of time looking at the sculptures at the plazzio Vecchio (1299) and the Loggia dei Lanzi. On Wednesday morning Eric went to the conference again and I went to the Galleria dell' Accademia. This is the museum where the original David is located. There were also 6 other unfinished sculpures by Michelangelo. The David is amazing. The details that Michelangelo put into the statue are unbelievable. The stories of how it was protected during the war were interesting. There are replicas all over the city, but none compare to the real thing. Wednesday afternoon after the conference wrapped up, we took the train back to Rome. We were staying at a Hilton near the airport and boy was there a difference in hotels! The hilton was much better thant the Golden Tulip. We bought our train tickets for Thursday for our tours. Thurday we took a walking tour of the Colosseo (Coliseum) and the Roman Palatino. Then in the afternoon we were booked on an open air bus tour. This is the way to tour a city! We got on at the Colosseo and rode around until we saw something we wanted to get off and explore. We got off at Vatican City and the Trevi Fountain. Then we stayed on the bus for another loop around just to make sure we didn't miss anything. Thursday touring ended with a train ride back to the airport to our hotel. We watched people running to catch trains and decided that we are glad we can drive to our destinations. One poor fellow in an Armani suit and Italian shoes was running full speed to catch a train, but he missed it by 10 seconds. We wonder what people do when there are no more trains for the evening. My favorite part of the trip was getting to experience the culture and see the sites. My least favorite part of Europe was everyone smokes! One could never escape the cigarette smoke. Below are some pictures of some of the sites we saw.

Here we go! Idaho Falls airport 6:45 a.m. This is the last time my hair would look decent. Europe has only 120 V and my straightener takes more than that. We did take an adapter, but one with enough power for a curling iron cost to much.

This is the Golden Tulip Hotel where we stayed in Florence. We had to ask the front desk how to turn on the lights. The bed was hard and it was two twins pushed together so there was a nice lump in the middle.

On our first day in Florence we set out to get our bearings. We found that it is a long walk from our hotel to the downtown area. We walked it twice then we got smart and got bus tickets.

These are cyprus trees at the Santa Maria Novella in Florence. They are a symbol of ressurection.

This is the Santa Maria Novella in Florence. It is the church where Michelangelo apprenticed.

The Door of Paradise
Lorenzo Ghiberti
(1425- 1450)
This door is found at the Basilica of San Lorenzo on the entrace of the Baptistry.

The structure on the right is the Baptistery of San Giovanni (1128). Moving to the left is the Cathedral S. Maria de Fiore (1296 -1436) and the dome in the back of the Cathedral is The dome of Brunelleschi. It is the first free standing dome ever engineered. The Cathedral is the 5th largest in the world. The facade is white, green and red marble. There is also a bell tower on this site. It is blocked in this picture by the baptistery. This was an awe inspiring site.

This is the Basilica of San Lorenzo, the Chapel of the Medici. The small dome (Sacristy) was a work of Michelangelo. Inside is a room he did which houses the sculputures Day and Night and Dawn and Dusk. The Sacristy is the home to the Medici tombs.

Statue of Brunelleschi looking up to the dome.

The Cathedral of S. Maria del Fiore in Florence.
Michelangelo (1504)
Actually this is not the original. The original has been moved inside the Galleria dell' Accademia. However, this is the site where David stood for hundreds of years. Let me just add that I did see the real David and it truly is a magnificent work of art. The details which Michelangelo put into the sculpure are amazing. I could see the veins in his arms. Hard to imagine carving such detail into solid marble. This replica stands at Repulic Square. David is a symbol of liberty to the Florentines just as the Statue of Liberty is to Americans.

These are locks placed on a sidewalk railing. The story I was told was that couples would come and place a lock on the rail and they would proclaim their everlasing love to each other then they would throw the key into the Arno.

Real Italian Pizza - Contrary to popular belief we didn't have much food with a tomato sauce base. We ate some really good food.

B. Cellini (1554)
This is an original bronze that stands at the Loggia dei Lanzi in Florence.
Perseo slew Medusa

This is an original marble sculpture. It also stands at the Loggia dei Lanzi.
Rape (better translated as kidnapping) of the Sabine Women

This is the Arno River in Florence. Very beautiful scene. This is how I always imagined Italy to look.

Street artist. There are many people trying to earn a euro any way they can. This is a pastel chalk drawing. You can stop and watch him work and he hopes you will put euros in his bowls.

This is a beggar. I think she must have fallen asleep while in the position of prayer.

This is as close to Cartier Jewelery as I will ever get. Rome

Marie in front of the Colosseo. I wish the picture did it justice.

Not everyday that you see a Roman Soldier buying a cuppiccino and a pastry.

View out of our Hotel window in Rome.

This was taken from a train window. This is what the countryside of Italy looks like between Florence and Rome.

We learned a lot about Gladiators on our tour of the Colosseo. There were many kinds of Gladiators and they were all trained to fight in differenent ways.

This is what remains of the Palatino (Palace) in Rome. The ruins of Rome were very interesting. It surely made the history we were taught in High School come alive.

This is one of the wings/courtyards of the Palatino. As you can tell if you look closely the Romans covered all of the columns, walls and floors with marble (look at the bottom of the columns). This was the emperors palace. To get an idea of how large this Palace was we are guessing that it would  have taken up at least 20 acres.

Basilica St. Pietro (St. Peter's Basilica at Vatican City) According to our Coloseum tour guide the pillars and marble at this Cathedral and many others were stolen from the Roman Palatino. This was a lovely place, but I have to say I did not get the same feelings here that I get when I walk on Temple grounds! The Sistene Chapel is here. We didn't go in because it was a 2 hour wait in a line.

This is one of the only remaining sturctures among the ruins from ancient Rome. It is still in use as a church. There are no stairs going up to the door. This is the back side of the church.

Original marble seats in the colliseum. This is the level where the "middle class" would have sat.

Part of the ruins of the Roman Palatino. There are columns and pieces of marble laying around. There were many archeologist still excavating on the site.

This is the site where Cesar's body was burned. Many people still pay tribute by placing flowers and letters on the site.

This is another view of the Fountain Trevi. It is famous because it has been in many movies. Very beautiful. It is not on the beaten path. If we had not been on a tour, we would have missed it.

This is the Trevi Fountain in Rome. It was beautiful and there were thousands of people crowded around it.

This is the Swiss Guard. We were very far away when we took the picture so we had to zoom in a lot. That is why it looks so grainy. These guards were doing their job at the S. Pietro.

This is the monuement to Vittorio Emmanuele in Rome. He was the person that united Italy and made Rome the capital in 1870. If we had been foreign dignitaries, we could have gone inside to do our business.