Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Discovery - Reno's Children Museum

Something totally awesome is about to adorn the downtown streets of Reno this fall and I am stoked.  On September 10, Reno will be opening a large, luscious children's museum.  I was fortunate enough to get a sneak peek with my husband. We went with Kevin and his wife Kelli, on an invitation from one of Kevin's clients, Mr. Lee. Kevin works with Rinar and Kelli is my good friend up here.  Mr. Lee is an integral part of getting this visionary building opened and he is very excited about it.  Now I can see why.  The place is going to be amazing.

I have become a big fan of children's museums.  Ever since we spent some quality time at the children's museum in Boston, I love going to them in cities we visit around the country.  I have a feeling that Reno's "The Discovery" is going to be high up on my list...and the best part is that it will be in my backyard.

I took some pictures and I thought I would share them with everyone.

This is the main hallway entryway that leads to the top floor of the museum.

Rinar, Kevin, Mr. Lee and Kelli

When you enter the main hall, there is a large atrium.  This used to be Reno's city hall, and the atrium was a lot of wasted space. Not anymore. It is absolutely perfect for a large play structure and other fun things.

Here is a plane that kind of overhangs into the atrium below. Kids will be able to play in the plane and "fly" it.  If you notice behind the plane is the super-play structure. It has to be about 40 feet high, at least. There is a similar one in Boston, but this one is much bigger.

This is one of the galleries. There are a lot of galleries. But this one is going to have a really cool feature.  It is the DaVinci gallery where it combines art, science, and engineering. There will be lots of gadgets the kids can use. This window will actually be a place where kids can paint!  Cool, huh?  When they are done, they can wash it off.  I have never seen that before at a children's museum. Sweet!

This is a picture from the ground floor. You can see the wing from the airplane overhead, but notice the large cloud play structure in the background.  You see? It is huge!!!

Underneath it is a waterway that is modeled after the Truckee River.  Kids will be able to play in the water.  I wonder if they will provide aprons so they don't get too wet. Hmmm....

This gallery is meant for younger kids. There will be lots of things to play with in here as well.  In the background is a mining operation set-up where they can load ore onto a conveyor belt above them. I am sure we will spend many hours in this room.

The Nevada gallery has all things peculiar to our state. You see the mining cart?  They are building a mining shaft behind it for exploration. There is also an indian dwelling, train station, and other pioneer/mining type stuff. We are the Silver State after all.

I am really looking forward to enjoying this new gem of Reno. The best part is you can get a family membership for only $85.  That is such a bargain.  It was a treat to be able to see the construction of this facility.  I hope it has much success.  The people who have imagined this thing from the ground up have put their hearts into this place. It is really a gift of love and I am so grateful.  It will be such a blessing for our community.

Monday, June 27, 2011

When You Want To Change the World

Sometimes I feel like I want to conquer the world. Don't worry, the feeling is usually fleeting, but today was one of those days when I felt like superwoman.

About a week ago, I met some girlfriends at a place called "The Chocolate Bar". Hello! Perfect name, right? We were talking and my new friend Julie was sharing with us how she is going to do surrogacy. I was completely amazed and a bit bewildered.  I was also wondering if the girl is a bit crazy. Since I have already done IVF twice, I could feel the pain she was going to experience already.  Julie then told us how she had wanted to join the military a few years ago. Her husband talked her out of it. But she just has this strong desire to change the world and do big things.  As crazy as it was, I love her enthusiasm!

I may not manifest it in the same way as she does, but I think I often feel the same as her.  In the past, this usually meant I was at Home Depot buying paint or at HomeFabrics picking up some funky fabric to do a new, overly-ambitious project.

Now, I don't really feel like painting anything, but I do feel a strong desire to take on a new, big project that will better my life, push me beyond my limits, and make the world a better place. I find that those two things usually go together quite nicely.  Whenever I challenge my own capabilities, it benefits those around me.

I have come up with something grand and ambitious and I am really ready to jump in with both feet and just go for it.

I plan on starting a children's choir here in Reno.  I think we need one.  I want the musical fulfillment for my own soul, and heaven knows this place needs some musical nurturing. It is pretty pathetic. So why not nurture it from infancy, right?

Just ordered the music tonight and can't wait to get my little paws on it.

Watch out I come.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Power of the Wave

My husband has this habit I want to share with all of you. 

He loves to wave at people.

Whenever we are driving anywhere, his hand is very busy, because he waves at everyone.

For the first 10 years of our marriage it kind of got on  my nerves because I always felt embarrassed by it.  He would wave at the strangest people. It didn't matter who it was, he was going to wave at them.  Can someone really be this friendly?

Rinar served his LDS mission in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He told me that one time he and his companion were walking down an alley and a mysterious car started to drive by him, tinted windows, the whole thing. Sure enough, Rinar turned around a waved his hearty wave.  The guy in the passenger seat glowered back at him while holding an M-16. No joke.

When we moved to Atlanta, we were driving around and we got a little bit lost. We ended up in a very bad part of town.  It was late at night and it was not the place to be if you didn't want a hooker or a few rocks of cocaine.  I grew up in a working-class town, so it takes quite a bit to get me nervous, but I was.  I remember distinctly castigating him, imploring him not to wave at anyone!  I was afraid that if he did, someone would shoot at us.  Luckily, he wisely took my advice in that instance.

Then we moved to Las Vegas. Sure enough, without fail my husband waved at every single neighbor, passing car, kid on the street in our little neighborhood. It didn't matter who. For the first while, people just stared back at him, bewildered.  But he was undaunted.  Nothing can stop the Rinar wave. It cannot be fettered by dirty looks or indifference. 

I was still embarrassed by it.  

But then something began to happen. The wave instigated a major thaw in our community.  People started waving back. They made eye contact. They would even smile.  After a while, a wave would come back our way first.  His wave was changing our little world. I became more diligent at waving at people myself.  They would wave back.  We truly became a neighborhood.

Love thy neighbor as thyself.  Truly amazing.

We get so busy in our own lives that we fail to see what is around us.  Then, because of that self-absorption, we come across looking arrogant, stuck-up, rude. But really, we are just not seeing what is around us.  When you take the time to wave at someone, you are saying, "Hello. I see you. I recognize that you exist. I am glad you are here and a part of my little world."  It is so incredibly easy to have an open heart, a Christ-like heart by doing something as simple as waving.  

It is a powerful gesture.

Now we live in Reno and we are starting all over. We both wave a lot and we get the strange stares and bewildered looks.  But I am undaunted as well.

I have the most amazing husband. He is not embarrassing. I am proud of him and the unfailing example he has set for me. It has changed my life in such a profound way, just by the persistence he shows in EVERYONE.  

So, look up and pay attention when you drive. Wave to everyone. Change your community. Change the world. That is what I plan on doing here in Reno, one wave at a time.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Destiny of Serendipity

It was destiny, a serendipitous fulfillment of fate. When I was about 3 years old, I have a distinct childhood memory of many women coming to our little apartment in Provo, Utah. They were working on some kind of pink blanket. There was talking, and laughing, and just a subtle busyness I could sense, even at 3. How was I to know that it was all for me and my older sister Christi?

My mom made matching quilts for us. The bottom was a solid pink that she used as tablecloths at her wedding. Then she had this adorable flower print that was perfect for two little girls that she put on the other side.  They tied it with yarn. The women used pink for me and white for Christi so that you could tell them apart.

Then those two vibrant quilts went on a journey. First it was from apartment to apartment in Utah and then carried all the way to the eastern shores to North Carolina. They were taken on camping trips and sleepovers. They were used as tents and fortresses, cuddlers and comforters in times of distress. They went to track meets and basketball tournaments and long, icy journeys to Western Kentucky. Those two blankets went everywhere and they were loved. To. Death.


Last week I went on a thrift store shopping excursion with Angie and Brooke, my two super-cool sister-in-laws.  Angie is a thorough shopper, where I would have called it quits much sooner than she.  But because I lingered, there it was...winking at me from across the aisle. I couldn't believe me eyes. I dashed across the Goodwill store, and lovingly embraced a fitted sheet that had to be at least 32 years old.  My sheet. The pattern of my life. My childhood.

And not only was there a fitted sheet, there was a flat sheet as well. I think I could have cried. I quickly gathered my treasure and put it in my cart. I took a picture of it and texted a picture of it to Christi and Heather. Christi texted me back and I could feel the tears oozing through my phone. 

"I WANT IT!!!", she yelled at me.

Too bad.  They are mine! All mine!!!!

So, if you are ever in a thrift store and you see this particular sheet set, I know a lady who lives in Arizona that would pay you big bucks for it.  

But mine are not for sale!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Our Family Reunion - Part III (The End)

This is the last bit of pictures from the reunion. We took some individual family photographs from our backyard. That's right people. This is my back yard.  It is quite a bit different from the cinder block monolith I was greeted with every morning for the last 7 years in Vegas. Now my "fence" is the Sierra Nevadas.

Lyf's family

My family

Lani's family

The Grandparents

Nordel's family
 Aislinn's family was the only missing component to our family reunion. Well, her and Lani's son Jazon.

We then headed to Virginia City for some serious tourist stuff. Everyone had a lot of fun. I am sorry to say that I did not revisit the librarian.  But we did find candy in other locations along the boardwalk.  Plus, this time I had my wagon. Hello, long, lost friend. It is good to see and use you again.

Since Raef, Zach, and I had already done a mine tour, we waited around while everyone else headed over to check it out.  

They also panned for gold while they waited. I think Bryn actually found a few flakes.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Our Family Reunion - Part II

On Friday, the family excursion was to the auto show collection. It was pretty amazing. There were tons of cars and it was in a really nice display setting.  They even let you take a picture in one of the cars and everything: dress-up clothes included.  Tru and Eli were pretty inseparable the entire reunion.

After the car show, we went to the Little Nugget to get Awful Awful Burgers. They were featured on  Food Wars on the Food Network. The place was really small, so there wasn't really any room for everyone, but we squeezed the best we could.

We had to get a picture in front of the iconic Reno sign.

We did a talent show at night. It was a lot of fun. We didn't help the kids with their talents. They just came up with their own stuff. It was very entertaining. The older kids even made sure the younger kids did a talent as well.  Eli and Tru did this little dance and it was just about the most adorable thing ever. They danced and danced to a little tune the older kids sang a capella.
Mary Jane sang a rousing rendition of  "Twinkle Twinkle". She practiced a lot the days leading up to the big show. I got to hear every practice. She is just so adorable.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Our Family Reunion - Part I

I'm back!!!

It has been a crazy last few weeks. We moved into our house the first week, and have been unpacking non-stop for over a week. Then, once the unpacking was mostly done, we had a family reunion at our house for the following week.  Now everyone is gone and the dust is settling here in Reno. 

I will put some pictures up of the reunion over the next couple of days.


Tru, Harry, Brielle, and Julia on our swing in the backyard.

Tru played so much and we stayed up so late, it took a couple of days, and then he crashed on the couch. He didn't move for about 2 hours. Not one muscle.

The grandparents arrived a day after Nordel and his family, and as soon as they walked through the door, we discovered a stowaway chipmunk in our laundry room. R.J. was assigned the task of chipmunk removal. It took him about an hour, but he got it done.

Grandma dressed and groomed Julia every day. She loved it!  Here is here Farrah Fawcett hairdo. Everyday the hair looked fabulous.

They got some bowling in. It was a lots of fun and Eli had a blast. Apparently, he also got the highest score of all the kids, 103!

We also went to Callahan Park and hung out for a bit. The weather was beautiful.

Uncle Nordel playing with the cute.

A lady at the park said it was warm enough to swim at Lake Tahoe. So, the day after the final families arrived we headed out to the lake, at Sand Harbor.  It is totally awesome. Look at that view...amazing.  The kids had a lot of fun, but the water was still freezing. In one month, it should be fantastic. I can't wait.

The water may have been cold, but the edge was fine enough for sand castle building.

Lindy sure had fun.

Grandma sat with the babies and fed them snacks.  Brielle had fun hanging out with Grandma.
After the beach, we drove to Truckee, California so that everyone could see the beautiful mountains and lake. We also went to Donner State Park and watched a movie at the visitors center.  The statue in the back of this picture commemorates the Donner Party.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Moving In Day

We stayed in our new house last night. It was great. One full day in a house. No more apartment. Hallelujah! It makes me so happy. I can tell that the kids are happy as well. There is lots of room to play and explore.  But whoa, moving in is quite the ordeal.  Since we are renting this house, I do not relish the thought of having to move all of our stuff again. Yikes.

I am going to put that thought out of my mind and just be grateful that we are here and our journey is almost done. By living in this house, we are going to have the Reno experience. It is an incredible house. I am so grateful that we can stay here.  The views are gorgeous. As we sat down to dinner tonight for the first time, I was able to enjoy a mountain view as the sun was setting. The pine trees framed in the mountains and there were quail running around in our driveway. It was very relaxing. There were also some deer out there earlier in the day.

I was able to get my entire kitchen set up.  I then started to tackle some closets and such. Unfortunately, the kids helped unpack the family room so it looks like a toy bomb exploded in there.

I am actually surprised, but our furniture fits really well in this house. I was able to play some piano tonight, and the acoustics in the living room are great. I can't wait to hear my boys play their instruments in there. It should be beautiful.

Tomorrow will be my first day to do my new calling as the Primary Chorister. It should be fun. The ward seems to have a dearth of musical talent, so we will see what can be done about that. I am sure it is there, I am just going to have to do a little bit of digging.

Welcome to Reno, for real!
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