Friday, December 28, 2007

Why bother?

Not even four days after Christmas, and I already have a New Year's resolution. Are you proud of me?

I resolve... to never, ever shovel snow AGAIN.

Why?

Well, on Christmas Day, I shoveled the driveway, sidewalk and front porch.

That night, after we came back from our parents' house, there was over a foot of snow.

So the next day I shoveled it.

By that night, there was even more snow.

This morning, Jessi shoveled some of the walk.

But for goodness sakes, it's SNOWING again.

And on the way home from work, the weatherman on the radio said that a blizzard is coming into Idaho Falls on Saturday night! Up to 60 mph wind gusts!

So I've decided to wait until it stops snowing, and let the SUN take care of it. IF, it stops.

I'm tired of being stepped on by mother nature. Global warming my foot!

Maybe I'll be a Taebaekian.

When I was in Taebaek, South Korea in the winter of 1997, the city had let the snow pile up on the streets so high that it had turned into a four-foot slab of thick ice everywhere you walked. The road was literally four feet higher, simply because of the ICE that formed due to the city's reticence at plowing the roads.

You had to take a giant step DOWN and duck your head in order to get inside the shops on either side of the street. It's a wonder why cars even drove on the road.

And the funniest thing was that the city had brought in giant drills and dump trucks so they could drill through the ice and haul the ice chunks away. Why plow snow, when you can drill through ice?

Oh, drat! So much for my New Year's resolution!

Christmas

At long last, the Christmas blog. Blogging sure does take second chair when you are moving into your first house. So does Christmas in your first house, by the way.

Which is one reason why we still enjoy Christmas with our parents. The tradition has been to have Christmas Eve with my family (the night owls) and the bulk of Christmas morning with Jessi's (the early-to-risers). It's worked well for, let's see--eight years now. We were able to visit with my family (dad, mom, Nanny, Melissa, Logan, dogs), and Jessi's (mom, dad, Angela, Chandler, chickens). We really missed Matt and Rachel, Eric, Jared and Alli, and of course their younger extensions.

We only had a few disasters this year. Jaydn passed out from opening too many presents.


And my dad, confused from wrapping too many presents, put a bow on his head.

But, other than that, things went just fine.

And check out this beautiful wreath that Jaydn made for his mom and dad at school:

I sure like those kinds of Christmas gifts.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Christmas Eve Eve Dinner

The whole family got together for Christmas Eve Eve Dinner. Hey, you should never pass up a good opportunity to have dinner with family. Even if it's Christmas Eve Eve Eve Eve... well, you get the picture.

From L to R: Jessi, Nanny (behind Jessi), Jaydn, Angela, Les, Cindy, Chandler, Jeff, Launa.

Three Days Before Christmas is Never a Good Time to Move

Well, we're all moved in. And let me tell you, I wouldn't wish a December move on anybody. But we love our new house, and the picture I took doesn't do it justice. It was a dreary day.

For movers, I recommend you do not accept offers to speak in Church the day after your move in. Just a bad idea all around. It worked out for us, but we're just freaks.

Our house is a 4 bedroom, 2 bath beauty. It's just right for our family. And you are all welcome at any time!

You know what's the best? NO MORE SCRAPING CAR WINDOWS IN THE MORNING BEFORE WORK IN 10 DEGREE WEATHER!!! YIPPEE! This garage thing is great!

Drum roll please.... After 8 1/2 years of marriage, WE'RE HOMEOWNERS!

More Recital Fun

Watch these fingers go! Here's Jessi and her mom doing a piano duet.

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Watch Me Play

Here's the multi-talented Jaydn at his Grandma Grigg's piano recital.

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"We Fish You a Hairy Goose Moose and a Hippo New Year"

Merry Christmas from Jaydn and his classmates!

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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Changes...

What if you woke up one day and got ready for work, got in your car and pulled out on the street, only to get in a head-on collision on pulling out of your driveway? Drunk driver? No. Crazy teenager? Wrong again. When you went to bed the night before, you hadn't read the article in the newspaper that said the government was going to switch the side of the road on which you drive. Oh, and they also switched the steering wheel to the right side of the dashboard. You thought something seemed strange when you got in your car, but you couldn't put your finger on it. And now, you're dead.

OK, maybe a slight overstatement. But what kind of stupid law would that be? What in the world would you do in turning lanes, or on the highway when you have to take an exit? Not to mention the stoplights and stop signs don't seem to apply to you anymore (since they're in the other lane) and you can't see what road you're coming up on because all the street signs are turned around backwards!

Whose bright idea was it to suddenly become British?

And then, what if I told you that Samoa is planning on doing just that in 2009? They need the extra time so they can ship in all the extra cars with right-handed steering wheels and hold driver's ed courses for EVERYONE.

http://samoanews.com/tuesday.12182007/story1.html

I couldn't help but wonder, "WHAT IF THIS HAPPENED IN THE U.S.???"

Monday, December 17, 2007

What did I tell you???

This pic comes from www.samoanews.com. Merry Christmas, from the Methodist Church in Fagaima, American Samoa!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Ward Choir

Those musicians out there will understand this blog entry. Well, I guess the LDS musicians will. Have you ever sang in ward choir? I don't know what it is for me, but most of the time I'm either not really enjoying the choir piece we're doing (some Beebe rendition of a Christmas hymn or something) or I'm not enjoying the sound of the choir (or both). Nothing against ward choirs, because I love singing in them. It's just... well... you know!

Tonight we're singing a piece by Dan Forrest in the Stake Christmas program. I first heard this number last Sunday, and my very first impression was, "oh boy, here comes another yawner." I was, however, very, very wrong about this piece.

After the end of the first practice, I thought, "I bet this was sung by the BYU University Singers." So I Googled it and guess what! It was, for the Christmas Concert 2007.

I like this song--a lot. It makes me feel like I'm in choir at BYU or Ricks again. But... there is still the sound of the ward choir thing, just a little bit. Anyway, click on this link to hear it. I bet you'll like it as well.

http://www.danforrest.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/04/18-carol-of-joy.mp3

By the way, that WAS NOT my ward choir singing. But I wish it was!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Here's a blog entry I meant to do...

While I was in Samoa, I forgot to blog the crazy Christmas decorations that people put up. Imagine this... you go to church on Sunday, walk up the steps to the front door, then look up and see Santa scaling the outside wall with his reindeer dancing on the roof of the church. Big flashing lights read "Manuia Kerisimasi" across the front of the church. The whole front of the church looks like Chevy Chase's home in the movie "Christmas Vacation." You could be dreaming, or else you're probably in American Samoa.

Courtesy of the Brown Family's blog, I bring you some Christmas decor--island style.
This statue is in memoriam of the first Christian missionaries in American Samoa. I do not believe they were greeted by penguins and mice (well, maybe mice). You also have to love how the snowmen and penguins were paying their respects at the manger.


Last year Santa WAS scaling the wall of this church. I guess they thought they could one-up last year with at least 37 Santas and untold other Christmas creatures. Now THIS is a festive church!

And I'm not sure who this Samoan guy is with the real Santa beard and hat, but if he's the pastor, well then, that's totally cool.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Learn to Give

Now it's time for the opposite side of my previous blog entry.

How many kids do you know who still have almost all of their Halloween candy?

Well, Jaydn does.

Today he did something interesting.

Jaydn came to me and said, "Dad, I need your help in making presents. We're going to put a candy and a toy in each present to give to people in the family."

As he got out the toys, I questioned whether he really wanted to give his huge dinosaur toys to other adult family members as gifts. He thought about it, and then decided that maybe that wasn't a good idea.

Then he had another idea.

He got out all of the stockings, laid them out in order, and then gave me one piece of candy at a time out of his Halloween candy bucket. I placed each candy in each of the stockings--until there was no more Halloween candy.

I gave him a puzzled look. I know he likes candy (a given), so why is he giving it all away?

Without a word from me, Jaydn told me, "Dad, isn't this nice?"

I couldn't help but smile inside.

Later, he came up to Jessi and said, "Mom, I really feel good inside."

After hearing that, I wondered whether I was wrong for stopping Jaydn from giving his toys as well.

I didn't understand his desire to give. But HE did. He knew why he wanted to give his candy and toys away.

It wasn't because HIS stocking happened to end up with the best-picked candy inside.

It was because it made him feel GOOD.

It's no wonder Jesus taught us to become as little children.

Coletti Family Reunion 2008

I know there may be some of you readers who are Colettis. If so, I invite you to visit http://www.colettireunion2008.blogspot.com/. We are planning a family reunion for all descendants of Peter and Josephine Coletti and their families, and particularly all descendants of Joseph and Violet Coletti and their families. Here are the details:

Time: April 26, 2008, 9 am - 9 pm

Place: Utah (exact location yet to be determined)

The website above will act as the information center for this family reunion. So, check it out, and let us know if you plan on coming!

Saturday, December 08, 2007

My Little Reader

I'm so proud of Jaydn and his excellent reading. Tonight he was reading a book to his grandmother when she said, "you should record his reading." And I realized that I had never recorded him reading before. Here he is reading Dr. Seuss to his Grammie:


video

Smart kid!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Fun Stuff

I found this great gameshow video on http://fivebrothers.mittromney.com. Sometimes I wish our American gameshows had the guts to be this ridiculous.

FSA Christmas Party

On Monday we had the Families Supporting Adoption Christmas party at our house. I took a lot of unprepared and unwanted pictures. I'll spare you all of the red, glowing eye demon pictures that I had the privilege of taking.

The only one who didn't have red eyes in my pictures was the white elephant gift Barbie doll--hairy legs and all.
With what Barbie's been up to lately, it was bound to happen.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Learn to Receive

I've come to believe that we are not good receivers. I'm not talking about football, mind you. We don't receive gifts very well. You may think this sounds silly; after all, don't we all love to receive gifts at Christmas? Is it counterintuitive to say that we are worse at receiving than we are at giving?

This was a message I got out of my participation the background choir for "The Forgotten Carols." In the story, a nurse who tends to the needs of an older gentleman has a difficult time "receiving" Christ into her life. Ah, now do you get the picture? Think of this--if someone thinks we are in need and attempts to help us, what is our response? "No, I'm fine. Your help is not necessary." Why do we do that?

Do we do that with spiritual gifts as well? What if we close ourselves to receiving spiritual assistance? Are we "too good" for any assistance?

I remember receiving a gift in American Samoa from a good friend of mine. He was driving home from a scouting activity, and he felt like I needed some financial help. He shrugged it off at first, but the urge came stronger and stronger to him. As he was driving past the bank, he pulled into the parking lot and withdrew $120.00. He thought I needed $120.00. Then he thought, "well, he'll probably need to pay tithing on that amount" so he got out an additional $20.00.

At church, he handed me an envelope. A full envelope. I knew instantly that he was trying to give me money. I hesitated at first, but he said, "someone told me to give this to you." I didn't understand, but I couldn't argue with his explanation. I took the envelope.

Later, I called him and asked him what he meant by the envelope. He then relayed his spiritual promptings to me. I still didn't feel like I needed the money. I felt compelled to buy something for him with the money.

Then I remembered that the week earlier I had received a phone call at work from Jessi. She was concerned about one of our good friends who was not going to be able to pay her rent for the month. Her landlord was threatening to kick her out. Jessi felt like we should pay her $140.00 monthly rent. I hesitated at first to giving that amount, but relented. Jessi was a much better giver than I.

I wasn't sure whether there was a connection with my experience of giving $140.00 and my receipt of $140.00. Of course, doubt entered into my mind, and I wondered if someone had told my friend that we had given that $140.00. Nevertheless, I didn't really need the money.

Then I thought, what am I doing? If I gave this money back somehow, what kind of faith would I be showing? What would it mean to my friend; would he think his experience was all for naught? Most importantly, what was I doing denying the opportunity to myself to receive such a precious gift? It was not the money that mattered; instead, it was the warmth I felt from receiving a gift from my friend. I realized that the act of receiving was important. More than that, it was vital to my growth as a person.

This has become my theme for Christmas 2007. I've got to work harder at receiving. Especially at Christmastime, I've got to do better at receiving the gift of Christ.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Huachuca Threat

OK, it's time to do something about the border--and quick. From July 2000 to December 2000, I was in Army advanced intelligence training at Fort Huachuca, Arizona. Huachuca is the top location for training of military intelligence specialists.

According to the Washington Times, Fort Huachuca was recently the target of a terrorist attack plot. The details should make any American's hair stand on end:

http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5h0yCHUqsXgKdEsxXq0J3DZKgNCIA

Spooky, huh?

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Michael McLean Adoption Fireside

A few weeks ago the Families Supporting Adoption board ran into some crazy good luck. Michael McLean, who was coming to Idaho Falls over Thanksgiving weekend to put on "The Forgotten Carols," agreed to do an adoption fireside for the Idaho Falls FSA.

Michael has written some neat songs about adoption which have already touched the lives of many people. He has a new book and CD out specifically dealing with adoption. It is not, however, on his website. http://www.michaelmcleanmusic.com/discography

But you can find the new book "From God's Arms to My Arms to Yours" on Deseretbook.com - http://deseretbook.com/store/search?search=Michael+McLean&x=0&y=0

So, I sent out a few emails. We wanted those in attendance to be almost exclusively those who have been touched by adoption. I figured we'd have a good 50 people at the fireside.

Tonight we ended up with some 250+ attendees at the fireside. Everything went just perfectly. Michael's music and message touched hearts. I'm really grateful I got to be a part of it.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Thanksgiving

Last year we put a whole bunch of hot rocks on top of our Thanksgiving turkey. http://potatoestopapayas.blogspot.com/2006/11/turkey-in-about-hour-and-half.html

This year we had two Thanksgiving dinners--one at Jessi's parents' house and one at my parents' house.

Someday we'll grow up and make our own dinner. On second thought, nevermind.

Here's the entire Grigg clan:

Sans myself. Starting at 12 o'clock and going clockwise: Jessi, Launa, Jaydn, Angela, Angela's date Matthew, Jared, Hannah, Alli, Sam, Willie, Les, and Chandler. Oh, I forgot--Riley is missing--he was taking a nap.

Here's Jaydn with his two puffy-cheek cousins, Willie and Sam.

After dinner at the Griggs, we went to my house. Good thing I have a second-Thanksgiving-dinner extra stomach. After dinner we focused on what is most important at Thanksgiving--video games and movies with Logan and Melissa.

Jessi is, of course, my Guitar Hero. She totally rocked on the Stray Cats song!

video

My apologies for the sideways video. Someday I'll remember to keep my camera right side up.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

What would I get in 60 seconds?

Tonight we went to a drawing at a grand opening of Deseret Book in Ammon. The grand prize was a 60-second shopping spree. Jessi had been preparing for this for at least a week. Jessi and her mom even went to the store early to map out their items.

It was pure Mormon-shoppa-mania. We got there about 5 minutes before the drawing, and people were sprinting to the door so they could scribble their names on entry forms. There was very little elbow room in the cramped store. We were lucky that the fire chief didn't come--or that none of us was an arsonist. It was a madhouse.

And how would six Deseret Book employees control shoplifting when people were pouring in and out of the store? We were all on our honor in the store. It's a good thing that we were all members of the church and had been taught not to steal. Or were we? Or does that even matter?

They gave out several mini-prizes before drawing the grand prize. All books, except for a gift basket. When you don't get the grand prize, a book written by Joseph B. Wirthlin is still not all that bad. It's now #3 on my list of new books that I have to read.

Then the ground rules for the 60-second spree were announced. No $500 artwork. No artwork at all. No huge bags or shopping carts. And you have to bring one item up to the counter at a time. If any items drop off the counter, they don't count.

So, if you move like Dash, you could get, like, 1,000 items, right? Or, if you move like a normal person, probably 30-40. Maybe Jessi can move really fast and get one item a second--ramp it up to 60 items?

I had planned on wearing a REALLY BIG shirt and just piling stuff into my shirt, you know? SUCH a good idea. Oh well.

Well, as you're probably guessing, we can't win this drawing--just can't. And didn't. I think an older guy won. Anyway, we all left that DB store pretty fast. Once people realized they weren't going to get something for free tonight, shopping just wasn't as much fun.

I can just imagine what would happen if space aliens were watching us as we were piling into the store and then acting like nincompoops. "Silly consumer earthlings. Look, 200 people were in that small store, and only 5 people left with something. We must conduct a further examination into their strange behavior."

What a great way to spend our Saturday evening.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The Music Man

Last night we saw "The Music Man" production here in Idaho Falls. The biggest draw was my mom, who played one of the Pickalittle ladies:

Gotta love the wrinkle makeup! She did a wonderful job!

Trip to Utah

We went to Utah over the weekend to visit some old friends. We stayed with Jessi's brother Jared and his family. I messed up and didn't get any pictures, but you can look back on the blog and see pictures of Jared's family.

Saturday night we had a game night. And it really felt like we were in American Samoa again (except it wasn't raining outside). Why? Because look at who was in attendance:

Caroline, Jessi, Jaydn, Pyper, Mark, Me, and Angela. Great friends from AS. Yes, we even invited the General:

See?? It's really true! This isn't AS, it's Utah!

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On Sunday we went to church with and visited our good friends from Connecticut, the Moodies.
Here's Jessi, Vanessa and Jeremy.

The Moodies are from Jamaica. They are some of our best friends. Here's us with the rest of their family:

From left to right: Jessi, Me, Justin, Michael, Jaydn, Nathaniel, Vanessa, Jeremy, Hanna and Brianna.

Michael and Jaydn are crazy!

It's pretty cool to have a neighboring state to where lots of your friends eventually gravitate, don't you think?

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Jaydn's Birthday Party

For his birthday party this year, Jaydn decided he wanted to spend it with his goofy friends. First they fed the chickens.

Then he wanted to have silly time. Each child had a chance to be as silly as they could, or they could show off a goofy trick they knew how to do. MUCH better than Letterman.

Next, we had a pinata. It wasn't "beat Winnie the Pooh to death with a bat" but instead "pull the string to see which one opens the candy hatch." But with only a few girls at the party, Winnie the Pooh didn't stand a chance. He did make a pretty neat "pooh-hat."

After the pinata, it was time to sit about 20 crazy kids down and give them cake and ice cream. Boy, that was fun.

Finally, Jaydn opened presents. And, since my mom attended, we just had to do "Heavy, heavy hangover." Each child konks their gift on Jaydn's head several times and says, "heavy, heavy hangover thy poor head, what do you wish with a bump on your head?" It brought back many painful memories. I used to think it was about someone who was having a "heavy hangover." How appropriate is that for a kid's birthday party? It just hit me (boy, am I slow) that the gift is "hanging" over the kid's head! Duh!

The party turned out just the way Jaydn wanted it--one hour of completely disorganized chaos. Every little boy's dream.

Can you believe we have a SEVEN YEAR-OLD???

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Halloween, Spiderman Style

Happy Halloween! Whoop-dee-do! Halloween doesn't pack the punch it used to for me. I don't eat the candy because I just eat candy all the time anyway, so what's another handful at Halloween? Maybe I just need a really cool costume to wear to work. Yeah, that'd go over well.

Well, Jessi and Angela had waaaaaay too much fun while I was at work. Something about realizing their inner beauty??

And Chandler was the debonair Indiana Jones who looks like he just discovered the lost land of beeooottyful women. How can he keep his serious look with such purty girls around??

What would this movie be called? Maybe "Indiana Jones and the Lost World of Beeuutiful Women??" Something is just not right about these pictures.

But it was what I saw when I got home that scared me the most--Spiderman.

No one knows Spiderman's real identity. He is very secretive. But he's not afraid to reveal the identity of his grandma, at least so he can go trick-or-treating with her.

Not many people know that when Spiderman goes trunk-or-treating, and it gets really cold, he wears a coat. I bet you didn't see that on the movie!

We did trick-or-treat at a few houses as well. Man, this house was super-scary! It had mechanical zombies moving around, screaming, and coming out of graves, and even had a spooky blue ghost floating inside the window! Try to open the picture bigger so you can see the ghost.

Spiderman, save me!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Happy Birthday, Nanny!

Nanny (affectionate nickname for my grandmother) had her 78th birthday today, so we all went out to dinner at Perkins. Jaydn's hiding on the seat next to Jessi. Melissa had waffles for dinner?! I just shared the appetizer sampler with Jessi. Appetizer sampler--now that is really Jessi's style. And, of course, Jaydn got the grilled cheese sandwich. Lemon Meringue (Nanny's favorite) and Chocolate Creme (Jaydn's favorite) pies for dessert. It was Nanny's birthday, but when you bring along a six year-old, you cater to both the birthday girl and the sweet-tooth boy.

I'm grateful to have such a great family. And, of course, a wonderful Nanny.

Monday, October 22, 2007

See what we're missing out on?!

The good thing about having lots of links to other blogs on your blog is you can steal pictures and make them your own. Every time I look at the list of links on the right side of the screen I get this competitive spirit, like there's some race to see who can have the most blogfriends.

So, anyway, thanks to the Brady's for taking this picture of our beloved pineapple. The Brady's moved into our house in American Samoa. Pineapple takes more than a year to grow completely, so while it was fun to plant a pineapple stump in the ground it was utterly worthless because all we got out of it was a sweet picture. Enjoy your pineapple, Brady's! ;)

However, judging by the date on this picture, this pineapple had only aged about two weeks from when we left. This time, thanks to... nobody for watering and growing this plant. No, sorry Brady's, we love you and all, but no one is really to thank for plants in AS growing wild (maybe just God?). After a while, you start wishing you didn't have such unusually good plant growth outside your house. Sometimes it felt as if the plants were going to wrap around the whole house and squeeze us to death.

Someday, we are going to be out in the garden, or the flower bushes, or the bleepin' grass for that matter, and we're gonna be wondering why it doesn't just grow. I mean, after all the watering and care, and you don't do squat!

Then we'll look back on the bananas, the pinapples, the coconuts, the breadfruit, the taro, the wild, twisty weeds, the flowers, the grass in the backyard that grows as high as the house, etc., etc., etc., heck, even the bugs, and we're going to sit down on our brown patch of grass and start contemplating a move back to shloppy green mold-land.

Hmm... brown grass, freezing nostrils, and snow, or mold, weeds, bugs, and sweat?

I'll have to sit on that one for a while.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Adoption

Tomorrow Jessi and I are presenting in an adoption fireside. The fireside is focused on people like us that are trying to adopt. We are going to talk about how we have to have faith that God will provide for us in His time if we are diligent. We're also talking about how your patience in the adoption process has to be coupled with happiness, togetherness, and normalcy. Being together as a family, traveling, etc., has really helped our little family. And I really don't think God ever wants us to be unhappy.

I think it's interesting how there are so many adoptive couple profiles online. What's so interesting about it is that there are maybe just as many orphan children profiles online. What makes it so hard for adoptive couples to make that connection with orphan children?

And I'm just thinking about the United States. Once you start thinking about children in other countries who would do anything for a mother and father, for any sense of family, it makes you want to cry. Every child deserves a mother and a father. One day, I know that one or two of those children will be able to look at Jessi and I and call us mother and father. That'll sure give me joy.

And someday, Jaydn will be able to share his sweetness, maturity and friendship with his own little brother or sister, or both. Won't that be a priceless blessing!

I didn't want this to turn into a sappy blog entry, but as I got to thinking about what I was going to say tomorrow, I realized just how much I wanted to talk about adoption from my heart. And then I couldn't stop putting my feelings onto the screen.

November is National Adoption Month. I didn't realize that fact last November. Wouldn't it be wonderful if this November:

One more child was adopted rather than being aborted,
One more child was adopted rather than being abandoned,
One more child was adopted rather than living in poverty,
One more child was adopted rather than being forced into child servitude,
One more child was adopted rather than living in an orphanage, or
One more child was adopted rather than being moved from foster family to foster family?

Wouldn't it?

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Out Standing in Our Field

Well, it's actually my in-law's field, but, you know. I just wanted to say that.

We decided to have family pictures taken today. No studio. Just my camera, and a friend who's good at taking pictures.












Now THESE photos are us out standing in someone else's field. Eeek! Trespassing!




That's enough cheesy smiles to last a lifetime!