Sunday, October 7, 2012

How To Train Your Dragon

So by now everybody knows that I won VIP tickets to How To Train Your Dragon.  Being caller number 9 has never been so easy before and we scored a sweet prize! We had so much fun at the show and thought the whole thing was super cool!  See for yourself.....

Alexis & Julee were super excited!

Julee & Alexis were super excited!

The Isle of Berk looked strangely like the Times Union Center but we were willing to go along with it.

We first went to get our pictures taken - these 3 make scary vikings!

The green screen behind us actually looks better than the background they super-imposed for our souvenir picture. 

Special laminate passes always make you feel official and kind of cool.

Julee & Alexis trying to steal the limelight.

But after some crazy chanting and stomping, Astrid and Hiccup made their appearance.

 Of course you cannot see a show without snacks!

 The set was pretty cool - half projected, half real.

They cut the arena in half and put up this huge "screen" that had 4 projectors on it at once.  In all the holes cut into the screen, there are people standing in the windows and doorways of their houses.

Fighting Gronkle at Dragon Training.

Next the dragon trainees went up against the Deadly Nadder.

Finally, Monstrous Nightmare was in the training schedule.

 Bravest of all, Toothless and Hiccup fight the Red Death.

Relieved that Hiccup is alive, the dragons throw the party of the century.

Of course, there is always a happy ending and dragons and humans become friends.
(I think this is our favorite picture of all)

This is a great picture where you can see Toothless flying by as the actors take their bows.

This picture gives you a good idea of all the special effects that went into the show.  If you look closely, you can see Toothless flying by.

After the show, we got to stick around and hang out with our friend Barry the Bold. He told us all the secrets behind the show, the characters, and the DRAGONS!

 Toothless hung around for awhile after the show too!

 We also got some great shots of the Deadly Nadder and the Red Death.

Unfortunately, all of these pictures don't begin to do it all justice.  So if How To Train Your Dragon rolls through your town, GO SEE IT!

(And just for the record, when I called into the radio station in an attempt to be caller #9, I was NOT at work.  I may have been driving and dialing, but I was NOT at work)

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Julee's Surgery (in July)

Most of you know that Julee had yet another surgery in July.  Her strength and calmness when these situations roll around will never cease to amaze me.  This time I was very worried.  It was to be the biggest surgery to date - bone removal from her hip for a bone graft, 6-8 weeks out of commission, lots of pain, an overnighter in the hospital, totally freaked out parents, etc...  But Julee was ready to go.  She decided to have it in the summer so she wouldn't have to miss school or the volleyball season.  She wasn't nervous about spending the night in the hospital as long as one of us stayed with her. And every time you asked her if she was nervous, she would just shrug her shoulders and smile as if to say "it is what it is".  I would just shrug my shoulders and smile as if to say "if I say anything I will burst into anxious tears right here on the spot".  All in all, it couldn't have gotten any better than it did.  Surgery was "picture perfect", no overnight stay required, minimal pain (she managed mostly on regular Tylenol and Ibuprofen), and calmer parents than she had had in weeks.  

Ready to go but a little drowsy because it was like 445am.

When they suggested she have a little pain meds before inserting her IV, Julee just hugged her Eyeore and told them she could take it.  Tough girl didn't even flinch when they stuck her arm 3 times because they couldn't keep a vein.

When Julee was in Recovery, she kept getting the shivers so the nurse wrapped her up like a mummy.  The nurse was so funny.  She kept telling us how she always volunteers for the "kids" because when they are waking up after surgery they whine and moan way less than the adults.  True to form, Julee was the quietest one in the Recovery Room.

 Cheers!  Dr Noonan said a trip to the bathroom and Julee gets to go home.  Drink up!

This is the first time Julee has ever had surgery and didn't have a bloody nose for a month.  She was already starting to swell by the time we got home from the hospital that day.

Day 3 was the worst swelling day of them all.  Poor baby is actually smiling for this picture but you can't tell because she is so swollen.

Here is a hip shot.  The incision was longer than we thought and right where the waistband of her pants sit.  Ouch!  Every once in awhile she will still complain about her pants bothering her scar.

The main thing Julee couldn't do for 6-8 weeks was be active.  The surgeon must have said "minimal activity" a million times.  So we turned the living room into a bedroom so she wouldn't go stir crazy.  We opened LOTS of presents from the Arizona gang (thank you Zoey for making such excellent choices), read lots of Nook books, watched a lot of Netflix, played a TON of Wii Rock Band, and took turns being "patients" on Julee's mattress.

 And before we knew it six weeks had passed, she got the all clear to start volleyball workouts, and most importantly that beautiful smile was back.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Taco Salads

A couple of weeks ago we bought these cool pans that bake tortillas into taco bowls.  They are our new favorite gadget! Rick even made some to take to a work potluck last Friday and they were the hit of the party!  My favorite part is you get the crispy shell without having to fry the tortilla.  And they are so easy to make! 

On this particular occasion we filled them with taco seasoned chicken. Ranch Style Beans (my absolute favorite kind of beans), and all the other fixings. They were so yummy!

 I think next time we might sprinkle with a little cinnamon/sugar mix and use them for hot fudge sundaes!

Sunday, September 30, 2012


As you all know, the beginning of the school year means volleyball, volleyball, and a little more volleyball.  Julee is playing on the JV team again this year and mostly plays the position of lead setter.  She is playing great this year and continues to become a better player at each game.

Julee is the speck at the back foul line of the court.

In this one, she is the closest one on the left side of the net.

Getting ready to serve.

The serve.
She has come so far with her serves and nails almost every one.

 Ready to go.

 Over the net Julee! (she did make it and scored a point)

 A typical day for Julee is up by 530am for seminary and she doesn't get home until after 7pm on game days.   Then there's dinner, homework, chores (though I do take pity on her most days), and whatever other stuff we have going on.  I have to give her tons of credit because life is really kicking her butt right now and she keeps plowing through with a smile.  Go Julee!

P.S. And if all of this doesn't make you tired enough; every time we go to one of Julee's games, Alexis points to the soccer players out on the field and asks, "Mom, what are you going to do next year when I'm out there and Julee's in on the volleyball court?"  Seriously?!?!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Hartford Trip

Better late than never......
Over Labor Day weekend we took a little trip to over to Hartford, CT.  We always try to get away right before school starts - sort of a last hoorah!  The weekend's big adventure began with a trip to the Connecticut Science Museum to see the Dinosaurs Unearthed exhibit.

The triceratops was there,

as well as the pterodactyl,

the sinosauropterus (the dinosaur with feathers),

and the confuciousornis.

 Of course, its not a REAL dinosaur exhibit unless there's a T-Rex!
...Who almost ate Rick!

The girls were AFRAID!

And they pretended to be best pals so he would not eat them.

Once we escaped the scary T-Rex, we found this fun hands-on exhibit where you could see how a tornado works.  Only Rick was brave enough to enter the splash zone that had a "Children ages 8 and under only" sign.

Then we made homemade twirly planes and practiced our flying.  If you look closely you can see Julee's plane towards the top of the blue section by number 09.

Then we saw the hanging instrument display,

hung out on the roof top garden,

 admired the view (our hotel was the short building behind the first tall building)

and met the compost pig.

After the museum, we went out for a yummy dinner (when we are on a trip we never eat at a place we can eat at when at home) and then went back to the hotel to relax.  The next day we decided to go bowling (which I took no pictures of - don't ask me why) and then did some school shopping.  The rest of the time we swam in the hotel pool (again, no pictures) or just hung out in the room and relaxed. 

I sure love this girls' eyes and smile!

Julee's idea of a vacation is a hotel room with cable and NCIS reruns.

Obviously, she found the right channel.

Alexis tried to pretend she didn't know I was taking her picture.

And in true Dunklee family vacation style, a lot of sleeping in and being lazy was on the agenda.
Alexis loves her sleep mask enough that she took it on vacation.

And Julee (like her mother) can't sleep unless she has a foot sticking out from under the covers.

We were sad to have to come home and even more sad that school started 2 days later.  Oh well, there will be more long weekends and more lazy vacations!