Sunday, January 29, 2012

2011 Panoramics

I enjoy having a camera that seems to take semi-decent panoramic pictures (As long as there isn't a big fingerprint smudge on the lens...).  In tandem with the earlier post about our 2011, here are my favorite panoramic pictures from last year's adventures (Click on the pictures to enlarge):

The view from our hotel room in Las Vegas
Bryce Canyon
Bryce Canyon
Bryce Canyon
Bryce Canyon
Bryce Canyon
Bryce Canyon
Bryce Canyon
Bryce Canyon
Bryce Canyon
Bryce Canyon
Capitol Reef
Capitol Reef
Seattle from the harbor
Seattle from the harbor
Seattle from the Space Needle
Seattle from the Space Needle
Seattle from the Space Needle
Seattle from the Space Needle
Safeco Field
Seattle harbor and skyline from Safeco Field
Safeco Field
Salt Creek Recreation Area tide pools
Hurricane Ridge at Olympic National Park
Newport Beach Jetty entrance to Newport Bay
View from the mountains above Park City

Thursday, January 26, 2012

2011 In Review

I don't post much, but when I do...  Following are the highlights from our adventures in 2011 in a mere 38 pictures!

The year started with a BOC (bag of crap, for the uninformed) from  As you can see from the picture above, it was a decent haul. 

Alison had a little bit of Jimmermania coursing through her veins so we took a quick trip to Las Vegas to see the Utes and the Cougars play in their last Mountain West Conference Tournament at the Thomas & Mack Center.  We used priceline to get a great deal on a 5-star room at the all-suite, non-gaming, non-smoking Vdara hotel at the new City Center resort on the strip.  While the Utes didn't win the tournament, we still had a fantastic time.

The next weekend in March, I went to the first and second rounds of the NCAA tournament in Tucson, Arizona.  As always, there was an overload of good food and basketball with my dad, brother, brother-in-laws, uncle and cousins.

In April we took a family trip in our new car (more on that below) to Bryce Canyon National Park, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Kodachrome Basin State Park, Escalante Petrified Forest State Park, Anasazi State Park and Capitol Reef National Park.  We took advantage of an annual State Parks Pass and the free entrance to the National Parks during Earth Week.
Some phallic rock formation at Kodachrome Basin State Park. 
On Easter Sunday, we made a visit to Grosvenor Arch where the Easter Bunny visited the girls.  We had the arch to ourselves when I started putting out the candy as Alison and the girls walked to the arch, but before long there were a few other International visitors who looked at me like I was crazy tossing candy out in the sagebrush.

May brought Ada's first ballet performance with The Bountiful School of Ballet.  She was very excited to be performing for us and did a fantastic job.  It was often a struggle for Alison to get her to go to dance each week, but when she is there, she catches on very quickly.

In the beginning of June we took a trip out to Antelope Island.  We had a picnic of crisp bean burritos and empanadas before we all waded out into the shallow water to a sandbar where the girls could play in the sand.

EDIT: Alison reminded me that we ate tacos and churros for our picnic. Oops.
Alison turned 30 and it was a big deal.  She thought that she was going to the temple with the Primary Presidency, but the Primary President was a big help in delivering Alison to the party instead of to the temple.  I think she was surprised, but if she wasn't, we were all glad for the Mexican food at Lorena's.

Ada and Kate had a Candy Land birthday party where we invited all of their cousins to come and play at Kangaroo Zoo before having pizza and cake at our house.  They were spoiled rotten, the kids loved the bouncy toys and everybody did a good job sneaking our nephew Austin all of the candy that his little stomach could handle.

At the end of July and into August, we flew to Seattle for a little family trip.  Alison has been obsessing about the Pacific Northwest ever since she first read the Twilight books so we decided to make it happen.  We purchased the city pass in Seattle which allowed us to visit the Aquarium, take a harbor cruise, visit the Space Needle, visit the Science Museum and go to the Seattle Zoo. 
The view from the top of the Space Needle.  Ada was very sad because she had fallen face first into a fountain at the Science Museum when she wasn't watching where she was going.  Luckily, she wasn't hurt even though the water had been drained from the fountains for maintenance.
Of course we went to a Mariner's game.  It was the 14th different major league stadium for me and the 8th for Alison.
It was the night to honor the Seattle Supersonics who've gone missing in Oklahoma somewhere.  All of the Sonics greats from the past were there including Gary Payton, Shawn Kemp, Detlef Schrempf, George Karl, Tom Chambers and quite a few others.
We stayed the night in Port Angeles.  We drove out to some tide pools where we saw tons of crabs, mussels, anemone and starfish.
From the tide pools we drove to more than a mile above sea level in Olympic National Park in less than an hour (or at least it would have been less than an hour if we didn't have to stop for Ada to throw up and wait for Kate to do her business in a grocery store restroom).  
From the Olympic Peninsula, we drove to Vancouver, Canada for a night.  We went to the beautiful Capilano Suspension Bridge and park in the rain forest north of downtown.
Yo blog, I'm really happy for you, and Imma let you finish, but I just got to say that this picture of Alison with cocoa all over is one of the best ever.
To finish the month of August off, Ada started kindergarten at Foxboro Elementary in the French Immersion program.  It is simply amazing how quickly she and the other kids in the immersion classes can pick things up.

Over Labor Day and for the week following, we were finally able to enjoy our Christmas gift from my parents from 2010. They had rented a beach house at Newport beach for the whole family. We drove down and had a fantastic week. There is nothing like walking out your back porch onto one of the most beautiful beaches in California.
Of course we showed our pride in our team.  We lucked out that the Utes happened to play at USC the Saturday following our week at the beach house.  We stayed down in SoCal for an extra day so that I could go to the game at the Coliseum.
In April we upgraded our car from our little 2000 Chevy Malibu to the 2008 Toyota Highlander Hybrid pictured.  We love the new car, especially how quiet it drives and all the extra space. We're taking the 3-car ferry from Newport Beach to Balboa Island in the picture.
Of course we went to Disneyland and California Adventure Land.  This was both Ada and Kate's third time at Disneyland.  We've climbed up into Tarzan's treehouse for this picture.
When we got home, Kate was finally able to start preschool.

It was a beautiful fall in Utah and we tried to take advantage of getting out into the mountains.
The big news for October was the birth of little Lyla.  Can you believe that she came into the world with all that red hair?

Alison was a complete champ.  She birthed this baby completely drug-free, using hypnobirthing techniques that we learned from books and classes.
Ada and Kate with their new sister.
Lyla was a bunny rabbit for halloween.
Ada was Ariel and Kate was a giraffe.
The new Utah Museum of Natural History was one of the first projects that I worked on when I started my job.  The building is finally complete and we were able to visit before it opened to the general public.  It is an awesome museum.


On a bit of a whim, we decided to drive to Kansas City for Thanksgiving to visit Alison's sister Emily and her family and to be with her sister Angie and her husband who drove up from Houston.  We had a blast visiting the Hallmark Crown Center, the model train museum in the beautiful historic Kansas City train station and being with family.
We love visiting presidential libraries (Alison and I have been to John F. Kennedy's and Lyndon B. Johnson's) and we were able to visit Harry Truman's library in Independance, MO.  We also made sure to visit the local church historic sites.
Of course the highlight of Thanksgiving was the food (including Hyrum's grilled turkey) and 6 pies.  Have you ever seen anybody so proud of their pie?  I didn't think so.
On the drive home we stayed a night in Omaha. We took a quick detour to the Mormon Trail Center at Winter Quarters. Aside from the enormous meltdown that Kate suffered when it was time to take the pioneer clothes off, it was a fun visit.
We stopped for a break at the Cabela's store in Kearney, NE.

Lyla flashed one of her first smiles that we caught on camera.
The girls in their Christmas dresses.
Christmas Eve at my parents in their new Christmas PJs.

2011 was an adventurous year for the Squire family.  Here's to many more adventures in 2012!