Union Pacific's Great Excursion Adventure

Test for echo…

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Saturday – 31 March 2012
Just a quick hit…

Today, I’m judging a HeroClix event for Dr. Volt’s Comic Connection. So far, it’s gone rather well. But the bigger “news” is that I’m using this event as a field test for replacing my MacBook with my iPad for gaming…

…and it’s been great.

Smaller. Lighter. And, since I installed Numbers and the ‘Clix rules pdfs on here (oh yeah… I’m writing this on the iPad, too), I’ve got pretty much everything that I need.

Color me satisfied.

Tick.. tick… tick…

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Tick.. tick... tick...

Thursday – 29 March 2012
It’s another Thursday in the valley. So far, it’s held up to NBN scrutiny.  Hopefully, that will continue.
(UPDATE: It did.)

Last night, SaraRules! and I watched…

…for our Date Night movie; I’ve seen it before (we own the DVD), but she hadn’t. She liked it, despite a couple of uncanny valley issues.

Stray Toasters

Quote of the Day
This nugget of joy comes by way of my sister-in-law, Chelsea, and my nephew, Caden:

Caden: Mom, what’s that?
Me: It’s a water tower.
Caden: Oh. . .Where’s the othere one’s?
Me: What other one’s?
Caden: The milk tower and the juice tower.

The utter brilliance and genius of the three-year-old mind.


Adventure Babies Action Theatre 5: Bouncing with Bubbles!

everyday glory, kids 9 Comments »
Adventure Babies Action Theatre 5: Bouncing with Bubbles!

Just when you thought it was safe to watch videos on the Interwebs…

…here comes another episode of Adventure Babies Action Theatre!  That’s right: More of Team DiVa, assailing your senses with abundant cuteness!

This video was taken Saturday afternoon, after the girls participated in their second 5k race.

Team DiVa in: Adventure Babies Action Theatre 5 – Bouncing with Bubbles!
Right-click or ctrl-click this link to download

Stay tuned for more adventures with Team DiVa!


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Monday – 26 March 2012
Kicking off the day by neglecting to get your morning travel mug of coffee could be considered “less than auspicious.” I didn’t realize that I was coffee-free until I pulled into the parking structure at work. Fortunately, I had twin cuddles (and wife cuddles) beforehand, so the morning was far from a complete loss.

I drove through at least three weather patterns on the way to work: Dry, rainy, and snowy. That’s pretty impressive, especially when you consider that my commute is less than three miles.

Stray Toasters

That’s good for today.


Weekend..? You mean we just had one?!

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Weekend..? You mean we just had one?!

Sunday – 25 March 2012
This has been a very busy – and productive – weekend. So much so that I could use another weekend to recover from it.

Saturday, SaraRules!, Team DiVa and I did the Running of the Leopards 5k:

(Though you can’t tell through their jackets and blankets, the twins wore leopard print, to commemorate the occasion.) Pre-race, we met up with some of my coworkers and took group shots and general chat. Before the gun, we moved to the rear of the pack — no need to obstruct the faster racers with the stroller, after all.

We finished the race at:

 594    Robert Neal  11756  48:15.9 
 595    Sara Neal    11755  48:16.7

…so, all in all, not bad for a moderate stroll.


Saturday afternoon, we treated ourselves to lunch at Pawit’s Royale Thai. As usual, it was quite good. After getting the girls home and down for naps, SaraRules! took off for some well-deserved kid-free time.

Today, we got up and strolled over to Rich’s Bagels for breakfast. Next came some errand-running and then: fence-building. Okay, more accurately, “gate-building,” but you get the gist. Steve, my father-in-law, came over to help us replace our old (and not really “there”) gate:

Old and busted:

Post-wind damage (looking into the back yard)

View from the back yard, looking towards the front yard

What was left of the gate after I took it down

New hotness:

Steve (with miter saw), getting ready to cut like a D.J.

The new gate!

I had never been really happy with the old gate. It was 8-feet wide and not well supported. And, as I discovered today: It wasn’t really a gate, per se. The previous owners had simply taken a pre-fab 8′ section of fencing, put some hinges on it and let it fly. How do I know this? Because I saw the exact same fencing at Home Depot during a trip there this afternoon.


The new gate has two 4-foot wide doors and is MUCH more stable than its predecessor. I’d like to thank Steve for coming out and helping with the planning and construction. (And for NOT putting a nail through his thumb this time!)

After the gate construction was done, it was time to think about getting dinner ready. We were having SaraRules!’ parents over for dinner this week. At their request, we grilled burgers. (Hey, it’s not like it takes a lot of arm-twisting to get me to fire up the grill…) We also had grilled vegetables and chips to round out the meal. And it was good. Steve and Bonne also helped get the little ladies ready for bed before they headed home for the evening.

And now, all I want to do is crash on the couch and veg for a couple of hours.

In fact, I think I’m going to do that… right… now.


End of the week quick hit

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End of the week quick hit

Friday – 23 March 2012
It’s my working Friday. ‘Nuff said.

Last night, after Team DiVa went to bed – and after dinner – I headed to the mall to do a little shopping. I went with four (4) objectives:

  1. Get a screen shield for my iPad
  2. Have the battery in one of my watches replaced
  3. Pick up a new pair of jeans
  4. Get shaving cream, if the new Lush store was open.

I was able to accomplish the first three. The Lush at this location hadn’t opened yet, which I found a little odd as they opened the store at City Creek Center yesterday. I would have figured that they’d do the whole “Two birds, one stone” thing. Apparently not. Feh.

Speaking of Team DiVa, here’s a picture of them from a few days ago:

Vanessa (l) and Diana

Since this picture was taken, they’ve been making a lot of improvement in their sitting. Some assistance is still needed, but they are getting better at sitting up on their own. (Although it doesn’t show in this picture, Vanessa is actually quite adept at sitting up. But sometimes, you just gotta get your lean on, I guess…) Diana, I should note, still sees sitting up as a necessary evil on the way to standing and will make an attempt to stand – usually by just straightening her legs – almost every time you get her into a seated position. It makes for a lot of “make sure you have a good grip on her” moments.

Stray Toasters

Tonight: Possibly coffee… and maybe some MW3 or DCUO.
Tomorrow: The Running of the Leopards 5k!


“Its time to play the music, Its time to light the lights…”

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"Its time to play the music, Its time to light the lights..."

Thursday – 22 March 2012
Today has been a good day. Any day that kicks off with wife and kid cuddles can’t be bad. And, of course, it’s another No Bad News Thursday, so that didn’t hurt, either.

…and it’s William Shatner’s birthday.

Last night, SaraRules! and I watched The Muppets for our date night movie. It was a lot of fun. It was reminiscent of both The Muppet Show and The Muppet Movie… and with a dash of Muppets Tonight. I give it a big ol’ thumbs-up with an okay.

Stray Toasters


Another Wednesday in the valley…

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Another Wednesday in the valley...

Wednesday – 21 March 12
Midweek is upon us once again. Today is apparently supposed to return warm(er) weather to the Land Behind the Zion Curtain. This would be a “good” thing, in my book… even if we are only two days into Spring.

Team DiVa are doing well. We’ve been working on their independent sitting; they are progressing well. We have also tried introducing them to Gerber Graduates Puffs. Vanessa seems okay with them, but Diana is not a fan. At least, not yet. But, she makes the most adorable “What is THIS?!” face while chewing and just before she spits it out.

Stray Toasters



It’s Monday again.

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It's Monday again.

Monday – 19 March 2012
Another work week begins and this one has brought snow flurries with it.

The past few days have been good. And a bit busy. Highlights included:

  • Taking Adventure Babies: Team DiVa to Sugar House Park for a walk on Friday. We parked near the duck pond, so they watched the birds before we started our walk.
    Diana (rear) and Vanessa, watching the ducks and pigeons
  • Green Lantern/St. Patrick’s Day
  • Judging a HeroClix tournament for Dr. Volt’s Comic Connection.
  • FINALLY watching the first episode of Green Lantern: The Animated Series
  • Attending Utah Opera’s The Elixir of Love with SaraRules!
  • Corned beef and cabbage!
  • The season finale of The Walking Dead.

Stray Toasters



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Wednesday – 14 March 2012
Midweek…? Check.
New Comics Day…? Check.
Pasta and Movie Date Night…? Raincheck.  (We’re having company for dinner this evening; PMDN will be tomorrow.)

And, on top of all that, it’s Pi Day. (See also: The Pi-Search Page)

Last night was relatively quiet. Team DiVa didn’t go for a stroll, but there was some pre-bedtime playtime. After the girls were down and dinner was eaten, I got around to herding a bunch of free-range ‘Clix. I’d been negligent about sorting them for longer than I’d care to admit. After that, I made my way onto CoD: MW3 with a coworker. I had some horrible rounds. Seriously bad. I thought about changing my gamertag to “BulletMagnet” at a couple of points.

Stray Toasters


Seems like a Tuesday to me.

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Seems like a Tuesday to me.

Tuesday – 13 March 2012
I went outside this morning to find that the gate to our side and back yard was… mostly gone.


We had some strong winds overnight and the gate finally gave way. I’ve never been a big fan of that gate, so aside from the annoyance factor this just means that I get to/have to replace it sooner than I had expected. Yay.

After work last night, we took Team DiVa for a walk around the neighborhood. Just as we were getting ready to leave, Natalie (one of our Pin-up Girl baristas) and her boyfriend, Nick, stopped by.  We spent a few minutes chatting before setting off.  The girls handled the stroll well, watching the houses, cars and people as we strolled past. Another Adventure Babies outing successfully completed.

As an added bonus to the evening, SaraRules! also baked a few RubySnap Scarlett cookies. Win.

Stray Toasters



Adventure Babies Action Theatre 4: Team DiVa

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Adventure Babies Action Theatre 4: Team DiVa

All-new exciting Adventure Babies action!


But wait! Be sure to stay past the credits! That’s right… there’s still more!


Weekend Update

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Weekend Update

Sunday – 11 March 2012
It was a very good weekend. It was busy. It was productive. But, most of all, it was fun.

Saturday, we took Adventure Babies: Team DiVa to their first concert.

Diana (l) and Vanessa

Utah Symphony performed The Carnival of the Animals. SaraRules! got us tickets in the First Tier (stage left), just above the stage, so we had a fantastic view of the symphony and the dancers. The girls were great. Seriously. They sat and watched the musicians and the dancers – until they fell asleep. Vanessa knocked off first, early into the performance, but was up for Carnival; Diana stayed awake through the beginning of Carnival, and couldn’t fight sleep any longer.

Saturday afternoon, Steve (father-in-law), Dave, Jason and Sean came over to help frame the train room. We started a little after 1:00 and by 4:30 were mostly done — we ran out of lumber for the closet wall. But, what we did looks great. (Here are the pictures to prove it!) However, this didn’t come without a price: Steve put a framing nail through his thumb. Fortunately, it was a through-and-through and missed the bone. But it still prompted a visit to the local InstaCare.

Saturday evening, as you might imagine, was quiet and low-key. It involved mostly sitting on the sofa and watching shows from the DVR.

Sunday was clear and warm. The girls slept until 8:30 AM, thanks to the miracle of Daylight Saving Time. (Yes, It’s “Saving,” not “Savings.” Don’t believe me? Look it up.) We had a relatively quiet morning in and, after the twins’ lunchtime feeding, headed to the Salt Lake Tribune Home and Garden Festival. It was actually my idea/desire to go. And, to be honest, I wanted to go for ONE reason: Ahmed Hassan (from DIY Network’s Yard Crashers and Turf War) was one of the featured guests. And, I’m a (big) fan. So, off we went. The show was crowded, which surprised me on a Sunday in the Land Behind the Zion Curtain. The girls handled the crowds and the activity beautifully. We caught about half of Ahmed’s 1:00 PM talk. He was as entertaining – and amusing and informative – in person as he appears on TV. After his session was over, we wandered around the show. There was a LOT of stuff, but nothing that really caught our attention. We made our way back over to where Ahmed was doing a photo and signature meet-and-greet… and waited in line. A few minutes later, I had this to show for it:

…and this…

We chatted, briefly, while taking the pictures and while he checked out Adventure Babies: Team DiVa. All-in-all, nice guy.

On the way home, SaraRules! detoured past Black Water Coffee Company (Pin-up Girl Espresso “2”) for a Sunday coffee. Then it was time to feed the little ones and put them down for a nap. Feeding happened. Naps didn’t. So, we put them in their Johnny Jump-ups to play for a bit. (And, yes, there will be a new Adventure Babies video following soon.) A little later, the ladies were tired enough to knock out for a bit. SaraRules!’ parents came by a little later for dinner. We had chicken tacos with Spanish rice. The grand’rents helped put the girls to bed before leaving.

And now, it’s Monday. But, it’s my short week. Selah.

Stray Toasters


And then, it was Friday once more…

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And then, it was Friday once more...

Friday – 08 March 2012
End of the work week. Amen.

Last night, we modified the Adventure Babies’ sleep schedule once more. For the past month, SaraRules! and I have been waking them up for a feeding and diaper change just before we go to bed. This has greatly facilitated their sleeping through the night. We have gradually stepped down the amount of formula we gave them at this feeding for four weeks… until last night. Last night, we went to bed without waking the girls first. No diaper change. No feeding.

Diana (l) and Vanessa, ready for breakfast

Diana slept until 4:00 this morning. And, there was no whining or crying when she woke, just some cooing. I got up, changed her and put her back in her crib. By this time, Vanessa had awakened; again, there was no crying. SaraRules! got up and changed her. Then we both went back to bed. The girls talked amongst themselves for a few minutes and then went back to sleep until 7:00 AM.  I consider this “a success.” We’ll see how things carry out from this point forward.

Stray Toasters


Halfway There (Part II)

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Halfway There (Part II)

Thursday – 08 March 2012
It’s another NBN Thursday.
It’s also International Women’s Day (1, 2). And…

Vanessa turned 6-months old today!

Last night was fairly low-key around the house. The girls tried – and devoured – a new food: Pears. So, it seems that the only unpopular food (at least so far) is peas — Diana will grudgingly eat them, Vanessa flat-out refuses to. The girls woke up again in the middle of the night. No crying this time, but there was a bit of chatter in their room before they knocked out again.

Today, as usual: Meetings!  YAY!

And tonight, I’m picking up some material for Saturday’s basement framing extravaganza. And maybe (just maybe), I’ll be able to sneak in a little MW3 or DCUO.  We shall see what the evening holds.

Stray Toasters

That’s good for today.