Wednesday, May 27, 2009


French bread, marinara and cheese, grilled red onions, pattypan squash, scallopini and zucchini.
Sound devine?
Here's what it sounded like at my house:
Lex: "Mom. Hint. Think about what the KIDS like."
Eden: "When are you going to stop cooking gross stuff?"
Lily: "Is that french bread?... (yes)...And you made it into a total disaster?"

Monday, May 25, 2009

San Fran

A couple of weeks ago, Chad and I went on a company trip. Eagle View's long time office manager, Barbara, was retiring, and they wanted to say "THANK YOU". So, we planned a really fun weekend, flew to San Francisco, and did lots of fun things. They included; staying at the W, going to see Wicked, hiking in Muir Woods, and going to an aquarium on Fisherman's Warf. My Mother-in-law, Dianne, pointed out that we were haveing a "W" weekend. W hadn't been the goal, just Wonderful. I hope it was. Here are some pictures, and if you want more, Raegan, Barbara's daughter, posted a great entry about the weekend on her blog. Here it is: see her Monday, May 11th post. She's a lot more punctual than I am. :) And, she knows how to upload collages, so she has TONS of pictures. Here are a few of mine:

We traveled across the Golden Gate Brigde, and up to Muir Woods to see the Redwoods. It was beautiful and peaceful and smelled delicious there.

We were almost halfway through our planned hike, and I realized we hadn't seen any banana slugs yet. Chad offered $100 to the first person to spot one. Then he went and found the first one. After that, we saw them regularly. Racqual amazed us by picking up one of the last little guys. Chad's dad tickeled her ear with a piece of grass while she was looking at it, and I think she would have dropped it if it hadn't been holding on. She told us, "It's sucking my thumb!"

Chad took a nap while the girls (and Paul) visited the four-story fabric store, Britex. (Barbara loves to quilt, although this store went WAY beyond quilting.) He needed to be able to stay up long enough past his bedtime to catch all of "Wicked". Although, I don't think he would have had a problem. Even Paul said he liked it, and he STILL whines that we took him to the movie "Phantom of the Opera." And Paul did sleep through quite a bit of that.

The sea lions at Pier 39. They were quite entertaining.

Smile! We found some shade!

At the aquarium at Pier 39.
I am terrified of jelly fish, but they sure are beautiful. Just keep a big wall of glass between me and the gorgousness, and I'll be just fine.

They had a touch pool, and we could pet, with one finger, baby bat rays, baby skates, and baby leopard sharks. The rays were so playful, and so adorable! Who knew! They would poke their baby-cute noses above the water wanting attention, and flap their "wings" against the sides to splash people. Maybe this was on accident, and maybe they just love hearing the squeels.
I don't know.
Mom showed me "mermaid purses" on the beaches in Venice, Florida when I was a kid, and told me they were sting ray egg cases. Hard to imaging something that shape being an egg, especially as the ones in Florida have spiney black curls on the corners, ( I just wouldn't want to be the creature that laid such and egg.)but here they are, in the actual process of incubating a bunch of tiny rays! At least you get more than one baby per egg!

We had such a nice weekend. There were so many fun things to do, and such great people to do them with. I'm sad that that is the last trip Bob and Barbara will share with us! I sure enjoy them. What a blessing it has been to get to know them these last few years. I'm glad they're just "moving on", and not "moving away," and will still be around to share vegetables and laughs.

Saturday, May 23, 2009


We had a belated Mother's Day celebration with the Branch tonight. The activities committee chairgirl, Elia, had asked me to dance some folklore dances with some other women forever ago, and we've been practicing ever since. A couple of weeks ago, she also asked Lily and Samuel if they would like to dance. Then, last week, she asked Lexi if she and two other girls would like to perform their dance-try-outs routine. So, many of us got to get up on that stage tonight and perform. I am still in want of a fully functional camera, so my pictures will not be that great. Really. Some of them are adorable anyway. I wish I'd gotten pictures of my "Chapanecas "(sp?) costume, but my camera had totally died by then. Here is what I did get:

Lily and her beautiful costume
Lily's close up

Lily dancing.

Lily and Samuel dancing
Samuel's costume. We had to borrow the Mexican shirt, and it was a leeetle bit small. It was the only option, so I said, "Can you still breathe?" He assured me he could, and that was that. His partner is the tiny girl in brown, to Samuel's right. I think she is four. They were SO CUTE!
See! The dance had something to do with bull fighting, and for part of it, the girl would hold out her skirt to the side like a fighter's cape, and the boys would point their fingers up from their heads like horns and charge through. Adorable.
Here's my costume (for the Michoacan dance)

And my close up. I haven't worn that much make up or hair spray since that Mary Kay sales lady makeover, and Sarah's wedding, respectively. I'm sure the people in the back row could see my smile, and even though we had multiple hair piece changes , I think my hair is STILL in place as I type.

And here is Lexi's costume. She said, "Mom! Wait till I smile!" So I took another picture of her smiling in the splits, but my camera put a big white circle in front of her face, and it looks like she's blowing a very successful bubble. So here she is, not-ready expression and all.
What a fun night. Now I need to go see if all this make-up will come off with just soap and water, because that's all I have.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Sister's Weekend

More on the weekend I got to spend in Indiana! Every couple of years, my sisters and I have a little getaway weekend. This year we had two additions to our pool of sisters; Andrew's wife, Sarah, and Jesse's wife, Katrina. Because of work issues, Katrina couldn't make it, and we missed her! And, because of baby-keeps-trying-to-come issues, Andrew's Sarah couldn't join us either. She only lives in Kokomo though, (Katrina lives in UT) so Marie and I drove up before the other sisters had arrived and went out for lunch and then had pedicures.

I had to see how her early-birthday-present apron looked in action. It even looked good in a parking lot! Probably due to Sarah's adorable belly.

The next morning was aerobics. Marie was the teacher, and 7 months pregnant and all, she still worked us into the ground.

We went out for Thai food, (it's becoming a sister's weekend tradition) and then rested our weary muscles at a nail salon. Sarah and Kara had pedicures...

...and Marie and I had manicures, since our toes still looked good from the day before.

Then we drove to quaint Madison, IN, and Clifty Falls State Park. This was the view of the Ohio from our hotel.

What a nice State Park! Pleanty of photo ops.

See what I mean?
This was... a joke? Art? An Eagle Scout Project?
The map didn't say.

The tulip poplars (Indiana's state tree)were in full bloom.

Clifty Falls themselves. We hiked to every falls in the park. Then we got back in the car, and I slammed my camera in the car door and shattered the viewing screen. It doesn't have a view finder, so my pictures for the rest of the weekend were all guesses. I was glad I wasn't the only one with a camera!

All dressed up and ready to go see Treasure Island for Mom's birthday.

You already know about the rest of the weekend. It was all just lovely and relaxing, and I'm so excited for Kara's turn to host! Hopefully everyone will be able to come next time!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Birthdays Galore!

The best part about all the birthdays this past week was that I got to be with each person as they celebrated their special days. We picked up my sister Sarah from the airport in Indy at 8 pm on May 14th, the day she was born. (Sister-in-law Marie had gathered me from the same airport the previous afternoon.) We headed back to Jared and Marie's for a chocolate fondue party with brother Jared and sister Kara, and one little Taylor. Many laughs, more calories, and a few presents later, we decided it was time to snuggle into our air mattresses and go to sleep. Well, we snuggled in, at least. Sarah and I shared a room and an Aero bed, and we talked 'till well after 4 o'clock in the morning. How did we ever get any rest when we used to share a room? That must be why I can sleep so well now-a-days. I'm still repaying that sleep-debt from my growing-up years. What did we talk about? I can't even remember, at least not four hours worth, but I do remember that it was wonderful to have TIME to share. Often our conversations are snagged while one or the other of us cooks dinner, drives somewhere, or folds(me) irons(her) laundry. Now we had no dinner to get on the table, no clothes(or kids) needing attention, no arriving anywhere and needing to go. No appointments at all except for 10:30 am slave driver aerobics, and even that was optional. We talked until our eyelids absolutely couldn't stay open any longer. Ah, sisters.

Mom's birthday came a few days later. She and Dad and brother Ben came down the evening before, so we could give Mom her first birthday present; dinner and "Treasure Island" at Beef and Boards. The next day was Sunday. Taylor cooked our breakfast, amazingly single-handedly. He's six. He made scrambled eggs with bell peppers, and limeade. I think he let Grandma slice some oranges and make toast. Oh, and he set the table. All while his mother was sleeping. I think his father's childhood nickname was "Jared-boy-yolky-egg," because he displayed similar talents, although his taste in egg style differed slightly. I bet Grandma was having flashbacks. Later that day, we had birthday ice cream cake, better that ANY you could get at ANY store, truely. YUM! We had it in Marie's back yard, in the sunshine, around Noon, and we LIKED it! Imaging that. I nearly froze the whole time I was in Indiana, and everyone just looked at me like I was crazy, but it was 105, I think, here today, and noone in their right mind would sit outside, in full sun, mid day, and try to eat icecream with anything other than a straw. I would brag that in Indiana we used FORKS, but I don't think we did... but we COULD HAVE. Anyway, back to Mom's day. We looked at pictures, had blogging lessons, opened presents, (a couple of travel books on Peru and Machu Pichu for their trip this Fall, and a couple hours of cleaning service to help her get ready for Ben's graduation here in a couple of weeks,) went to church, fried and ate morels that Mom and Dad had frozen and sent especially for us out-of-towners to enjoy this weekend, and walked around the beautiful retention pond. Toxic it may be, but lovely it is, also. My mother. Though it was her birthday, and though it hurts her to do so, she was frying morels, buttering toast, and cleaning up with the rest of us, probably more than the rest of us. She had taken two of Marie's little boys for the bulk of the weekend so that we could enjoy our "Sister's Retreat". She loves us and makes us feel like we are capable of anything, and capable of doing it with a smile, for if she can, surely we can too. It was wonderful to get to spend the day with her. Love you, Mom.

All too soon, Marie had to take me to the airport. On my flight home, I burned through an entire National Geographic, and amused my seat-mates with my head-bobbing as sleep and I did a funny dance. My handsome husband picked my up at the other end in his new, hot Old Navy jeans. (He hasn't worn anything but the Costco brand and cut since he graduated from high-school, so believe me, it IS worth mentioning.) Home again, to children who were excited to see me, but STILL didn't want to come home from Grandma's. (Though Lexi did say, "Mom, Dad's good, but not as good as you.") I jumped right in recreating Marie's ice-cream-cake creation, for today was Samuel's birthday! While it froze, we had Samuel's Choice for dinner. Clam chowder, and pizza. And squash. Mom's choice. Samuel loves it, he just hadn't thought of it yet. And, we opened presents. Samuel had asked for a "Spark Scooter." It's a Razor scooter that shoots sparks out the back when you step on the brakes. Samuel tried it out and called for his dad to come fix it because it was not working! Chad took a turn, and demonstrated the sparking action, which worked just fine. "Oh," said Samuel. "I thought it shot sparks out the back to make you go faster." Cake time! Samuel requested the opportunity to place the candles himself. He wanted to put them all together, so they would make one big flame! That they certainly did. What an idea! We finished the evening with his stay-up night. He and his dad and I ripped the packaging off of the rest of his presents. We played Transformers until his hour was up, and it was midnight Indiana time, and I could play no longer.
That boy keeps me thinking with his ingenious questions. He keeps me smiling with his happy personality, and he keeps me feeling blessed with his sweet nature and loving ways. He defended me from monsters when he was three. He swept up FIVE cockroaches for me today. What a lucky mom I am.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

A Week of Dance!

Our "Dance Week" started off a week ago Thursday, when Lexi made it onto the middle school dance team. 20 girls made it out of 48-ish. Parents were not allowed to watch try-outs, but this is the happy girl post-announcement.

Then on Tuesday, after my own Mexican Folklorico dance practice, I sent Lily and Samuel off to THEIR Folklorico practice, and took the little kids to watch Lexi's Ballroom floorshow at the elementary school. Three days a week, she goes to school about an hour early and practices for the ballroom team. The school has a music teacher that volunteers his mornings, and teaches whoever will commit and come. I love what he's taught these kids. They did Fox Trot, Waltz, Rhumba, Cha Cha, and East Coast Swing. Lexi knows more than I learned in Social Dance 180, I swear, and I took it twice. The week before, they had gone "On Tour," and had performed at three different elementary schools in the area. This night was just for the home crowd.

At the end of the performance, the students got to pick someone to introduce to the Swing. Gary couldn't be tied down, and Eden prefered to be the photographer. I have done the Swing before, but Lexi is now many tripple-steps ahead of me, and had much to teach.

This Thursday was the Elementary School's May Day Dance Festival. Each year, every teacher chooses a song, comes up with simple costumes, choreographs and teaches his or her class a dance. The teachers are amazingly creative, and the students show off talent you would never see on any report card. Here Samuel is doing a "Promenade" with the neighbor girl.

Samuel had this dance down pat. It recalled memories of him getting out in the aisle at Lex and Lil's clogging recitals when he was three, and just goin' to town.

Lily, Stayin' Alive. I loved this dance. And I loved her scarf. That's a look that girl can definately pull off! She told me, "Mom, we're supposed to dress disco, you know, colorful and sparkley, because that's how they dressed in the olden days." Wow. That's the first time it's been brought to my attention that I was born in the "Olden Days."

Lexi did a very graceful waltz to "Moon River", and then the graduating 5th graders got to thread the May Pole. I already speant her bytes on the Swing video, but rest assured, she braided that May Pole flawlessly.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Ready... or not?

This morning, Sunday, I made sure all the kids had showers or baths, put Sage down for a nap, then spent some time going over my Sunday School lesson again. The kids had been very quiet, and I'd gotten a lot done. It was time to check on them. This is what I found.

1:00 church has it's good points and its bad points. I have pleanty of time to get everyone ready, but sometimes, I have to do it twice.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Birthday Boy

Chad's Birthday today consisted of taking care of Branch business in the morning, and then spending the entire rest of his day tending all of the children while I helped the Branch with the Youth fundraiser, making tamales. Maybe he will see my new cooking skills as an even trade for a day spent parenting alone on his birthday. Maybe. I think it was one of those seven-mile-run things. You do it because you want to, and you have a great attitude about it, but man, you're sure tired at the end. I made it home in time to give him his presents, wrapped in the bags I bought them in. He played for a minute with the kids and his new "Sky Ball", and then we sent everyone off to bed. I got to enjoy an hour or so of the company of the man I love so much. Do you know, last night, on our way home from our date, Chad said to me, "I love everything about you."
I laughed and said, "It's not all loveable!"
He looked into my soul and said, "It is to me."
I am so lucky. Happy birthday, Babe.