A whole bunch about us you may have never wanted to know.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween

Just had to post pics of my CUTE kids on Halloween.

We got off easy this year as far as costumes go. Tyler got a great hand-me-down from his cousin Cris -- a Batman costume that has a light-up bat on the chest:



Zachary wanted to be Superman with the cape I made him for his birthday. He agreed to this after I told him we could tie socks on his arms to look like muscles:


Becca is our only "difficult" one. She can't be talked into much of anything and therefore picks her own costumes. However, we did convince her to stick with the wig, even though she thought it looked silly. She got all her stuff out of our Halloween stash, and said she was the recycling queen. (I'm thinking the city should have sponsored her since they're trying to get enough households signed up to start recycling here!)


My favorite costumes this year were Shayla's and Paul's. I made Shayla's costume for about $3 since she already had the shorts. I was pretty impressed with my efforts, don't you agree?


Of course, none of my kids know who Pebbles Flintstone is. I heard one of the boys telling someone, "She's a girl from a show we've never seen." Oh, poor Flintstones ...

Anyway, Paul's costume was our "splurge" one this year at $14.99:


Tyler and Zachary, who have never seen the TV show Chuck, LOVED that their dad was going to be Chuck. (Tyler asked if we should curl Paul's hair so he looked more like the real Chuck. Paul didn't go for that. :) Chuck himself wasn't our intent, but close enough -- just a fellow member of the Nerd Herd.

This year is also the first year I remember my parents dressing up. Oh, except for one year my dad used a stuffed animal banana on his back to be the Hunchback of Notre Dame, which was a great costume. Remember that, Dad? :)

Needless to say, for people who usually don't dress up, I was impressed. Shayla wouldn't go near my mom for quite a while until she was convinced it was REALLY her:



The highlight of my night (in addition to hearing all over how cute my little Pebbles is) was when we were trick-or-treating and passed a ghost. I asked Shayla what ghosts say, and she said, "Peek-a-boo!" What a little cutie.

Hope you all had a great Halloween. :)

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Pushy Salespeople

Last night Paul and I had the "pleasure" of sitting through a sales presentation/push by Worldmark by Wyndham. We did this before and got a free night at Anniversary Inn (a place I've always wanted to go but never wanted to spend the moola) and $25 to a nearby restaurant. It was wonderful! Enough so that we agreed to another 90-minute presentation to get two-night hotel stay (we pick from 8 locations) and $100 to Olive Garden.

We were snagged almost immediately by a salesperson who said he'd give us a tour of the place. Wonderful -- I would have NEVER guessed this was a cover to try to BRT with us ... sigh ...

So, we sat down with him and he informed us that the only thing between us and a great vacation plan was a 5'10" redhead. When we looked confused, he clarified that he meant himself. Okay, didn't really think your hair was red, but if you think it makes your sales pitch funny, move along ...

He asked why we were there, and we said it was for the free stuff. He said that was why everyone came in, but that we need to keep an open mind. He emphasized this by asking how many wise decisions we have made while being uninformed. He also said how he doesn't have slicked-back hair, a nice suit or a bunch of cars to sell us. He assured us he wouldn't be pushy. (That's the moment we knew not to trust him ... :)

Anyway, during this little pre-salespitch, he said he couldn't hear us well. We pointed out that it was because the music was so stinkin' loud. We asked if they could turn that down. He said no, because people are discussing personal financial information, and the blaring music was to serve as white noise to provide privacy. Hmmm ... privacy doesn't work well when you're shouting to be heard. Nonetheless, maybe I should inform my bank! I've never heard blaring music there! Good thing we never go in banks to discuss financial info, huh?

Then he asked if he was bugging us and if we needed a different sales person. Really, would a different sales person bug us any less? However, we did find it funny, because we weren't even bugged at this point -- that came later ...

So we went into the group presentation and had the pleasure of having our salesperson sit right next to us. I think he and the other "babysitters" were the only ones laughing when the guy told joke after terrible joke. Maybe the rest of us couldn't hear the jokes, because we could still hear the loud music, even though we were in an enclosed room with the doors shut.

Anyway, the guy in the group meeting annoyed me. He kept saying, "Well, I'm from Utah, and that's how we do things in Utah." He used this as a derogatory statement about how we have large families and say we're going on vacation when we're actually only going to visit family. What do you care how large my family is, and what's wrong with visiting family? After about the third put-down on visiting family, I said, "Sounds like you need a new family!" My only regret is that I didn't say it loud enough for the presenter to hear me. (Oh, and on the "Utah" topic, never get me going on the whole "Utah Mormon" subject unless you want me to realize how closed-minded and ridiculous you are ...)

The topper to the presentation? His ending. He said that if we didn't buy this program, then it was only because their sales people didn't get across to us what a wonderful program this is, and he apologized for his sales people if that was the case. Hello!

So the sales guy starts his presentation by talking about two kinds of people -- those who take vacations and have great memories, and those who stuff money under their mattresses and die with a bunch of money left under their mattresses and no great memories. I asked him if he REALLY knew anyone who was like that. He stumbled at my directness, but quickly answered that he knew a couple of people like that. Sure.

Anyway, he kept asking manipulative questions about vacationing: When you get older, do you think you'll regret not working more? Do you feel like spending time with your family is important? Don't you think vacations are an important? etc.

Then he wanted us to make a decision. We said that he had asked us to make an informed decision, so he should educate us. (I even pointed at the page where they have to write down the prices and such. We get a kick out of that sales tactic.) Anyway, he didn't want to jump right into money, so he asked a few more manipulative questions before the money aspect.

Well, he figured out a good plan for us would be 16,000 credits, which would only cost $32,000. With their lending program at 17.9 percent, that would only be $400-something per month with only $3,000 down. We informed him that we weren't interested at this time. He asked why. Paul said he didn't like being locked into that amount and this plan, and I mentioned that it just wasn't fiscally responsible to do right now.

Then he starts into more manipulation, which curiously didn't work on us. What if I were to give it to you, then would you want it? Sure. Then it's about the money. Hmmm ... I guess my hint with the word "fiscal" didn't make that clear. We said that we have other priorities with our money right now. He assured us he'd never want us to not contribute to our savings or 401(k), but that we also have to consider how much this would save us in the long run. (Obviously we have different ideas of fiscal responsibility. Also doesn't help that this guy was young 20s with no kids and no clue ...)

Needless to say, we got to the point where I said, "You said you weren't going to be pushy." He assured me this wasn't pushy. If that's the case, I'd hate to see pushy! I let him know that I was sorry for him, but that we weren't buying. He said it didn't matter to him since he had to be there working one way or the other.

Again, he asked how many credits we would want. We assured him we weren't buying. He kept asking, so we finally said, "We'd like zero credits in our plan, please."

Then he asked us to come with him over to a computer. He figured that if we spend $500/year on hotels for the next 40 years + inflation costs, it would end up costing us $109,000 in hotels. He assured us that this program was the best deal out there. We said that we're fine spending the $109,000 if we have it to spend, and that we're still not interested in his program.

At this point he just didn't know what to say. He said, "You guys aren't making sense. You say you like our program and that vacationing isn't important, but you don't want to buy the program." Can you imagine how in debt we'd be if I bought everything I wanted?!? I assured him that even if someone offered me a Lamborghini for $40,000, which is a steal of a deal, I still wouldn't buy it. He asked me how much I would pay. I said none -- I don't want or need a Lamborghini. He said that if I don't want one, then that's not a valid comparison. Sigh.

As he continued on, he asked about something being over. I said, "Do you mean when do we want the sales pitch to be over?" He said no, that the sales pitch was over and that he understood clearly that we weren't buying. (Oh, so this attempt at the computer wasn't trying to sell us anything, just to show us how dumb we are. Got it.) Then he asked another manipulative question. I said, "What is it you want us to say? What can we say to be done?

So, he went to get the next person who was going to "sign us out." When he sat down, I said, "So, you're the closer, huh?" He said, no, that the previous guy was the closer, and he's the ultimate closer. Sigh. This place reeks of bad jokes. He asked if the first guy was nice to us. Paul said, "Sure." He asked if we like the program. I said, "Sure, it's good." He said we didn't sound convinced. Please don't try to convince us, really!

He gave us an alternative to try the program. We said we'd think about it. (It really may be a good idea/deal.) He asked how long we wanted, and if we'd like to just sit there all night to think about it. I said we'd like to go home, if possible. He said it was just a joke. Really, do they make sure they have a bad sense of humor before they hire them or what?

Finally we got our certificate for our free stuff and got out of there. I would definitely say the 90 minutes of torture were worth the free stuff. Also, it gave us good laughter and conversation on the way home. Paul reminded me that last time they also tried to convince us how good the program was by actually taking us through one of their condos. Yes, they're nice, but we're not buying. They just don't think we're getting it if we say no.

Another funny thing was that our sales guy said that even if you happen upon hard times, you can sale your points for a year and still stay with the program. Paul came home and searched and found that you can buy someone's program with something like 16,000 points per year and a bunch more already accumulated for $10,000. So, if any of you are interested in a condo program, look online before buying directly from the company. Ditto to a Gold's Gym membership.

We'll probably attend another sales pitch in a year or two, because we love free stuff that makes us happy. However, any ideas on how to get out of there faster? I did mention recently that I need somewhere to practice my American Sign Language ... ;)

Pumpkin Carving

We carved pumpkins more than a week ago and I've been lazy about posting pictures. We didn't come up with any wonderful creations, but you'd think we did by looking at how seriously we're all working on these pumpkins:






Tyler saw the camera and lightened up:

Each of the kids designed their own jack-o-lanterns. I designed Shayla's, but then she grabbed the pen from me to scribble all over her pumpkin and then cut off a part of one of the eyes. So, I guess you can say even Shayla designed her own. Here the kids are with their final products:
Shayla insisted Dora be in the picture with her. Do you like how she has a nice caramel goatee? And how the apple is still fully intact, but the caramel is gone? Gotta love Halloween time! :)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

'Tis the Season

Zachary was disgusted when we went into the Dollar Store recently and there was already Christmas stuff. He said, "Don't they know? It's HALLOWEEN this year, not Christmas!"

Yes, I started seeing Christmas stuff as early as September. Sigh. I guess commercialism can't start too early.

So, here is my early Christmas question before we get into the season:

1. Does anyone else feel guilty every time you tell your kids the Santa lie?
2. How do you handle it when your kids find out about Santa?

I remember being excited about Santa coming, and I don't remember finding out about him being a traumatic thing. One of my sisters said she remembers the exact time she found out Santa wasn't real, so I know for some kids it is more of a shocker. Maybe that's why I worry about the whole Santa thing -- I don't want my kids to question my integrity and honesty on other issues as well.

I read a story once about a boy who came home after hearing the "truth" about Santa. His grandma asked him who in his school class needed something. When the boy replied that a boy could use a coat, they went and bought him one. They left it on his step and ran and hid to watch him answer the door and find it. After they left, the grandma explained that the look on the classmate's face is proof that the spirit of Santa exists. She that as long as people give, Santa lives. I need a copy of that story!

I have never hyped up the Santa angle, so last year was the first year my kids really got into the whole Santa thing. (This is probably thanks to kids at school.) Although it is very fun to see them get excited, every time they ask me a question about his reindeer and elves and such I feel guilty. Sigh. Am I just nuts?

I know some people believe that Santa detracts from the message of Christ throughout the season. My issues with him are just the honesty thing since I think Santa can emulate all the characteristics of the Savior -- kind, giving, sacrificing, making others happy, happy himself, etc. So, when the kids find out, do you just say that all of Santa's characteristics exist, even if he isn't real, and we can look for those Christlike characteristics in others?

We've not had a child yet find out about Santa since Becca was beyond that when she came to live with us. I'm sure we're safe this year, but who knows when the sky will come crashing in on the whole Santa thing ...

In the meantime I'll continue to answer their questions. As it is I don't use separate wrapping paper or anything, and I don't write who gifts are from, just who they are to. (In other words, I don't say the gifts are from Santa, and the kids have never noticed/cared. As long as the gift has their name on it and is for them, that's all that matters. :)

Okay, sorry to bring up the Santa thing now, but it's MUCH better than talking about the elections, right? :)

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Primary program 2008

Today was our annual primary program. As mentioned about a year ago, I like these for two reasons:

1. They mean I actually get to listen to part of Sacrament Meeting since I'm not having to keep my kids quiet; and
2. I get to see how cute my kids are performing.

Last year I was quite disappointed w/the seating arrangements since Tyler was behind the podium and Zachary was hidden behind 11-year-olds. I was happy to note that today I could see both Tyler and Zachary easily from my seat way in the back.

Zachary was right in the front. I mean right in the front -- making him in a prime location. Yes, prime for everyone in the congregation to see him leaning over the railing and waving to me (cute). Prime for everyone to see him pick his nose (not cute -- but fortunately a very quick thing, especially compared to another little boy in his class). And prime for when he and one of the quads kept pretending to punch each other (also not cute -- and therefore requiring separation. The quad got moved one way and Zachary got moved the other way -- right behind the podium). Sigh. Now I know why they place 11-year-olds in front of five-year-olds! Apparently our new primary presidency didn't realize. (Ha! ;)

At first Tyler looked like a deer in the headlights. I think eventually he joined a song or two. Neither of my boys are great at singing along, but they seemed to do okay -- for boys. :) This year Tyler didn't spell MOM with his arms. In fact, he didn't even smile or wave at me. Is he too old this soon?!?

I was surprised at how touched I was to watch the primary do a song ("If the Savior Stood Beside Me") in sign language. I had worked with the chorister to teach her how to sign the song, and I got a little chuckle out of watching them teach it to the kids since some of the signs weren't taught correctly. (Isn't that horrible of me?! I'm not USUALLY that mean ...) However, it was really fun to see the kids doing it, and it made me realize what a slacker I have been at teaching my kids ASL! Hello, what good is a second language if I never use it? I'm not sure how best to teach it to them, but I should come up with a plan ... I keep thinking that, but I'll let you know if I finally (PAH!) get to it.

(For those of you wondering, the pah is an ASL thing ...)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Election coverage

So, does anyone out there REALLY trust the media? I can't stand how biased reporters are during elections! It kills me!

Yes, we live in a world where the media as a whole has a VERY liberal bias. I feel like I have room to talk on this topic. As a PR professional, I worked with members of the media nearly every day for years. And I'll let you in on a few secrets -- as a group reporters are a liberal bunch; they often don't have time to dig for facts as they have very short deadlines; and they have to come up with a "wow" factor to sell the story to their editors. I'm sure many members of the media think they're reporting with adequate knowledge and no bias, but it VERY rarely really happens that way. Mind you, that is a generalization, but it proved true with hundreds of reporters I had the pleasure of working with.

I was repeatedly annoyed during the beginnings of the war that a bunch of negative information came out of Iraq. We didn't hear much about how people were no longer being tortured. We didn't hear how women were now receiving educations after years of not being given the chance. We didn't hear how people had electricity on a regular basis, which was not the case during Saddam's reign. I talked to everyone I knew who had served in Afghanistan and Iraq (which, granted, wasn't a huge number), and they always said they were doing great work and the people there loved them and appreciated our sacrifices to give them rights every human deserves.

In any case, these biased views seem to especially dominate during presidential elections. As I mentioned, reporters in general are very liberal. Therefore, I don't feel like they want to give negative coverage to "their" candidates. I don't even trust the polls they tout, because oftentimes THEY are the ones conducting the polls (through independent research groups). You can ask a question in such a way to get the answers you want. (Yes, in PR we also learn how to write non-biased polls, and many I've heard just aren't.)

So, I've heard repeatedly about Sarah Palin being involved w/the controversy to get her ex-brother-in-law fired. However, I have yet to hear ONE member of the media mention that an internal investigation found that he had used his stun gun on a 10-year-old, because the boy wanted to see what it felt like. Uh, hello! No, we don't hear that. We hear that she's involved in a controversy. (Of course, I don't like to listen to the news, so maybe some did say it. However, in the 20+ times I've heard about the controversy, I have yet to hear anyone mention it.)

Did you happen to see the two candidates on the View? The Obamas were there giving "fist bumps" and exchanging pleasantries. When the McCains went on (admittedly later in the campaign), the women POUNDED them. Whoopie Goldberg actually got on McCain for saying he supported the constitution. She said that the constitution writers were slave holders and asked if he thought she should be a slave again. I almost died! Are you serious?!? How can anyone take you serious with comments like that? And yet somehow the "interview" was okay? BTW, I never watch The View, because I can't stand its liberal view. (Obviously they know they only offer one viewpoint, which is why it's called The View instead of Views.) However, I do find fault with McCain's campaign manager for even considering sending him on there. That was dumb ... but it still doesn't justify these women's behavior.

People have hammered McCain for saying right before the economic fallout that our economy is fundamentally strong. Uh, people, even with the economic downturns we've had, our economy is fundamentally strong. The fundamentals are still there, and most people I know have not had to change their habits in light of this downturn. It's nothing like the Great Depression or WWII when people had to ration certain food and other items. Our economy, although in a slump, is definitely fundamentally strong.

Oh, and why does the media think we care what Hollywood thinks? Could it be because Hollywood agrees with most of their own views? I mean, just because you can act doesn't mean you know any more about politics than do I, a happy stay-at-home wife and mom.

The latest is that Sarah Palin spent a bunch of money for new clothes. So, how much has Michelle Obama spent on her wardrobe during their campaigning? What about Obama and McCain? What about Hillary Clinton? And is this even an issue that needs to be brought up? There's nothing illegal about buying clothes ... and maybe it will help the economy to put some bucks into it. (And for those who didn't hear, she plans to donate the clothes to charity after the election.)

Oh, and did the media get fired up about Biden this week saying that he didn't feel Obama was ready to handle a national crisis/attack without help? Hmmm ... how was that one missed? Well, now, that sure wouldn't look good for a certain candidate, so why publish/air it, right?

In any case, I'm sick of hearing the liberal slant. In case you're wondering, I don't listen to conservative talk shows, either. They get me fired up to hear what's not being said in mainstream media. (I did see a survey, though, earlier this week that said listeners of Rush Limbaugh and Shawn Hannity were actually better informed on politics than liberal talk-show listeners. Cool stat, but once again, you know my opinion about polls ...)

I just had to include this video to show my exact point about biased media (oh, and I think Newt Gingrich has a valid point besides). Notice how the reporter starts by saying that he's asking this question, just for fairness sake. Please!
video

I'm sure you can tell who I'm voting for from my post, and that's fine. :) However, I yearn for the day (which will never come) that we can actually get unbiased info and make our decision on our own instead of being persuaded (or pushed) into what we are supposed to know and believe.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Jedi training

We found out that Disneyland now has Jedi Training, in which they pick random kids out of the audience to participate. Our hope was that if we went to the first one on Tuesday morning that it would be less crowded and up our chances of being picked. No luck. Dang-o.

So, we planned to go back but never made it back on Tuesday. On Wednesday about midday, we went back to try again. This time we coached the boys on jumping up and down, waving their arms, yelling, "Pick me," and doing just about anything they could to look excited.

So, the Master Jedi came out and the boys got to yelling and jumping. It worked -- he looked in our direction and picked two people on our left, two people on our right, and two more people on our left. I was thinking, "Are you kidding me?!?" Then he went to the other side of the audience to pick people.

At this point I was thinking, "How many times are we going to have to try this to get picked?" I then noticed he was heading back our way, so I encouraged the boys to keep their jumping and yelling. Zachary kept yelling, "Over here!" Sure enough, Zachary was picked. I was so happy. And then Tyler was picked. I was SO GIDDY!!! Seriously, I nearly bawled. (It's a mom thing, as you other moms know.)

This seriously was enough to make my vacation a success. I was hoping for one to be chosen and never dreamed they'd both get to participate. It was like a little miracle, as funny as that sounds. Paul grabbed the camcorder and I took the camera and we got to work snapping pics of our boys training from a Jedi Master. Here's Zachary receiving his training Light Saber. (They couldn't give them real ones, of course, because they were just in training.)


And here's Tyler getting his:


Here they are practicing before they have to deal with anyone from the dark side:


In our first time sitting through the program they only had Darth Vader come out. However, during this show that my boys participated in, they had Darth Vader AND Darth Mal:


Although my boys said they would have liked to have fought Darth Mal, they both were chosen to fight Darth Vader. How cool is that?!? I mean, how many little boys have actually fought Darth Vader? Here's Tyler:


I wish Tyler didn't have his hood on, because I couldn't see his face very well. (Good news is that Paul was at a better angle than I was to get Tyler's face.) Anyway, the Master Jedi, when Tyler was done, said, "Good work. I believe your smile threw him off!" What a happy boy:


I wondered if Zachary would get shy and nervous, but he performed like a true Jedi:




Not only was I happy that my boys got chosen, but I was happy that they got to see Darth Mal, that they got picked together, and that we no longer had to try to be picked. (By the way, for anyone going -- a unique-colored shirt definitely helps!)

May the Force be with you!

Disney fun

Here are some classic pics that just HAVE to be taken at Disneyland. I was thinking Tinkerbell was new here, but then again, "new" for me could be anytime in the last 13 years. However, my sister who went at Christmas didn't remember Tink there, so maybe it really is a new addition:


We had prepped the kids to know that the ONLY souvenir we would buy them is a hat with their name on it. Because of this they didn't ask for any other items, which amazed me. I was very glad! In any case, here are the hats we picked:



This is just a cute pic of Tyler:


We went into the world of discovery or whatever it is called to see Asimo. This is the robot that walks very much like a human. However, we missed the last show by minutes and decided not to try it again. In any case it gave us the chance to get a nice sunset shot in front of the Matterhorn:


And because it was Halloween, they had the big pumpkin Mickey head right inside the gates:


We took this our last night as we said farewell. It really was an awesome trip:


I definitely would visit during Halloween time again -- not only was it fun to see all the decorations, but there wasn't too much of a crowd ... and 90 percent of the crowd was from Utah! :)

Fun rides captured on film ... well, digital card ...

Didn't realize when I just typed my subject that it's totally outdated to say something is caught on film. :)

Okay, we loved our new camera on our trip. Have I mentioned that? ;) Anyway, we got some good pics of us on rides, some of which our old camera could not have done. We were very anxious to use it for Splash Mountain ... but I'm going to leave you in suspense on how those turned out ...

We started out with the Dumbo ride. We had heard that this ride takes forever to load and unload, and therefore we hit it first. Probably a good idea, because we only waited about 10 minutes to get on. Everyone loved it:




The first roller coaster we went on was Space Mountain. Now, for my boys who have never been on a roller coaster, maybe this wasn't the best idea. They didn't like it much, and it scared the snot out of Zachary. As soon as we got back into the light, he started pushing the bar and said, "Let me out! Let me out of here!" I felt bad that it was so scary. I was surprised that I didn't like it as much as I was used to. Probably didn't help that I haven't been on a roller coaster in close to 15 years myself ...

Well, now they take pics of you. We took pics w/our camera of the pictures they took of us. Look at poor Zachary (front right):


I don't think Becca was thrilled to go on it again, but it was her or nobody to go with Paul. She went and survived. :) Paul and Becca are the front here:


I was surprised at how much Shayla loved the rides, even the roller coaster in ToonTown. Here she is loving the teacups:


Here she is being brave and holding up her hands on the golden zephyr (Cali Adventures):


The raft ride was cool, although the drop was so fast I couldn't even tell if I had photographed the right raft. Good thing I did. You may have to click on this to get a better view of Becca (back) trying to avoid the splashing water:


Oh, and this is how wet they got in above picture:


Here I am (brave w/my hands in the air) on my turn:


We ended up not having time for Becca to be able to ride Cali Screamin'. It really was too bad, because I was sure I could get some good pics of them going upside down in Mickey's head shape. Anyway, Paul, Tyler and I went on it and they took this pic of us:


And now for Splash Mountain. This is what we were giddy to try with our new lens. I have to say that as excited as I was, I was so surprised to see a lady next to me taking pictures with a cheap, disposable film camera. Why even waste the film?!?

Anyway, I got nervous I'd miss Paul and the kids, but I got 'em:


And then he got me. I have never been a "put-my-hands-in-the-air" kind of girl, but I figured it would help him see me better. However, the person you need to look at most is Zachary. Even the pic Splash Mountain took didn't have that face! Click on it to see it bigger -- it's so sad to see how scared he looks!


Good news is that Zachary really did love the ride and went on it twice.

Beach fun

While in Cali we decided we would spend some time at the beach. The kids enjoyed playing in the sand and getting knee-deep in the water (it felt too cold for much more). We got to see a lot of surfers taking on the waves. My boys acted brave until a wave came in, and then they ran for it. It was hilarious to watch:



Shayla was at first scared of the waves, but once she realized it was just water she LOVED it. I think she loved it so much she could have been happily swept to sea to drown. She's screaming in this picture, but it's a scream of joy:


And, yes, we did leave our mark on the world. At least for a couple of minutes before a wave washed away our mark: