Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Merry Christmas!

If I had sent out Christmas cards this year, this is the picture I would have put on it. However, this year has been a bit of a roller coaster and we felt it best to cut back in some areas - and the Christmas card didn't make the cut!

The biggest challenge our family has been facing this year was the diagnoses of Brian's mom with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease. Unfortunately, this is a terminal illness. There is no cure for it and her decline has been rapid. The last few months have been consumed with understanding the disease, trying the emotionally process what it means, and taking every opportunity to make memories with Grandma. In October, the whole family surprised her with a day at Disneyland, one of her favorite places. We also were able to spend Thanksgiving, an early weekend in December, and now we will spend Christmas with them at their home.

Needless to say, we've been a bit preoccupied. In addition to not sending out cards, we were not able to find the time to make goodies to send around the neighborhood or take to our friends. I have since learned, that regardless of our financial or emotional state next year, this is not a tradition that we will leave out. It's easy to think that your friends won't miss one more plate of goodies - we get so many this time of year! But this tradition has nothing to do with sweets. Our family has missed out on the spirit of giving that this gift invites. I think when we return after Christmas, we will have to have a baking day and make "New Year's" goody plates!

*This next part of the post is where I whine some more*

I really have been trying to get in the Christmas Spirit lately. However, this last week brought non-stop rain, a bout of stomach flu, a letter from the IRS, and a broken water heater that only partially flooded our garage and left us without hot water for 24 hours.

I know! Whine, Whine, Whine!

But we did have a wonderful visit from my parents and Amanda. She got to take the kids to farmers, which I'm pretty sure they were more excited about than Christmas this year.

Ty announced that he had discovered that his name is in the word "naughty". (no duh, kid. I could have told you that, even if I was illiterate!)

And when Ashlynn kept hounding Brian for an answer to something, Briggs answered in his best wise sage voice, "She seeks the truth, Father."

Despite these nasty things that have been going on, The Lord is still blessing our family with so many things. And even though I obviously have a bad attitude, He still sees fit to remind me of those blessings. It's just up to me to recognize them.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

This is for my mom. She asked the kids to tell me to put Halloween pictures up on the blog.
So here they are!
Briggs was easy this year. All I had to buy was a $2.00 pair of handcuffs to complete his policeman's esemble.
Ashlynn's costume, of course, was a little more involved. She's really into reading the Percy Jackson books, so Greek Mythology was on her mind. So I give you, the Greek Goddess (she wanted me to get her a pomegranate to carry around so that she could say she was Persephone - I told her that was too much). Her costume had to be hand made from scratch - which we managed to do for under $15 dollars. She made the headband all by herself, while I had to rely on a tutorial from V & co. to ombre- dye the bottom of the dress. "Why couldn't the dress just be all white?" you might ask. To which I would reply, "This is Ashlynn we are talking about. Everything must me authentic."
And Ty.

His motivation behind this "Sheriff- gone- bad" costume was the gun. He wanted a costume he could carry a gun with so that he could say, "Happy Hands-up!"

This picture proves he has the squinty-eyed bravado every wild west bandit needs ( and the eyebrows...).

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Family Pictures 2010

I have been meaning to post more of our family pictures, but to be honest, I kept putting it off because I couldn't decide which ones I wanted to share. Our friend Melissa took them and captured so many wonderful images, there was no way I was posting all of my favorites on the blog. So here's a few!

I loved the location site, Avila Beach.

As an added bonus, our friend Tani lent a hand with the styling. I love how bright everything turned out!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

In a Life Boat With a Tiger

Have you ever read " Life of Pi"? It's a story about a boy who gets stuck on a life boat with a tiger named Richard Parker. However, he doesn't know at first the tiger is there. He thinks there is only a hyena on board.

I just read the following passage and immediately related to it. It made me laugh, and laughing is a good thing right now.

Here's what the narrator, Pi, has to say"

"You might think I’d lost all hope at that point. I did. And as a result, I perked up and felt much better.

We see that in sports all the time, don’t we? The tennis challenger starts strong but soon looses confidence in his playing. The champion racks up the games. But in the final set, when the challenger has nothing to lose, he becomes relaxed again, insouciant, daring. Suddenly, he’s playing like the devil, and the champion must work hard to get those last points.

So it was with me. To cope with a hyena seemed remotely possible, but I was so obviously outmatched by Richard Parker, that it wasn’t even worth worrying about. With a tiger aboard, my life was over. That being settled, why not do something about my parched throat."

There are times in our lives when we are stuck on a life boat with a 500 pound Tiger. This is one of those times for me. Do I know how to deal with a Tiger? No. I know nothing about Tigers.

So instead, I'm going to just enjoy the boat ride and let the Tiger do what he wants.

A wise woman recently told me that once you figure out God is in control, and not us, life gets easier.

So here's me, handing over the reigns...

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Some time ago, my sister made these cute critters for my kids. Ashlynn got a pink cat, Briggs got a blue dog (Dodger Dog) and Ty got a camouflage monkey.

Needless to say, my sister knows her neice and nephews well.

Ty latched onto his immediately and dubbed him, "Present".

Due to lots of lovin', Present had to spend some time in my sewing room because of a few busted seems. Today I finally took the time to mend those seems.

When I handed him back to Ty after completion, He gave him a good hug and exclaimed, "Oh! Present! You're all resurrected!"

Thanks Auntie Nessa!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Time For a New Picture

Shopping with Ty Downtown. Ty found something he liked.

Watching fireworks at Angel Stadium on Mormon Night.

At the beach for a friend's baptism

At my new favorite restaurant, Oasis, which serves Moroccan and other Mediterranean dishes.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Vocabulary Revisited

Ashlynn adjusting the cotton in Ty's ears for their jam session.

Let us revisit the quirkiness that is my childrens' vocabulary.

Ty utilized the following phrase in perfect context, in a very calm yet characteristically husky voice:

"Mom. Whoever smelt it - dealt it."

Briggs informed us that, after the record breaking temperatures we have been experiencing lately, the water from the fountain at school felt like "kettle water".

What person, born this side of Y2K, says, "Kettle water" ?

Briggs. That's who.

Ashlynn's teacher was impressed when she used the word "foreclosure". The teacher asked her if she knew what that meant. So Ashlynn proceeded to give a mini lecture about what happens to your home when you don't make payments. When the teacher asked her how she knew that, she proudly replied, "My dad's a banker!"

I was just glad she didn't continue with, "... and he has to foreclose on peoples homes all the time!"

Good times.

p.s. Did you hear the recession is over? I guess it ended in July. Nobody told me.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Only Cool Thing About the Heat Yesterday.

All three of the kids made the local paper yesterday. In an above-the-fold picture, Briggs's tongue and Ashlynn's tushy were featured ( oh and a muscle shot of Ty).

The Central Coast experienced record breaking temperatures yesterday. 108, THANK YOU VERY MUCH!!! So we borrowed this slide from the neighborhood to cool off a little. As we were setting it up, a photographer from the Tribune came by and asked if he could take pictures of the kids playing for the hot weather feature they were running. Of course, I said yes (admittedly before I even checked his credentials!)

The afternoon was not without drama - the kids were pretty excited about the photographer. Ashlynn, always the diva, came running up to me at one point shouting, "Mom! The photographer saved my life!!!".

Of course he did.

Apparently the slide got a little top heavy (which tends to happen when there are 9 kids at the top) and started to fall over. Ash was heading for the sidewalk until the photographer made a running lunge and caught her.

To add to the drama, the heat and the water brought all of the wasps within a 3 mile radius to our front lawn. Combine this with bare-footed children and you have a recipe for disaster. Luckily we only had 2 stings (which are pretty good odds considering the amount of kids that were present.)

I think the excitement of the afternoon made up for the fact that the bedrooms were still 90 degrees when we went to bed. I furnished the kids with little ice packs in their beds to make up for the fact that one or two weeks of extreme heat doesn't justify the need for air conditioning in our home. With fans blaring and icy pillows, I think everyone was able to sleep well enough.

screen shot of my phone and our lovely weather!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Winds of Change

The Winds of Change are blowing strong in our lives right now. For the past 11 years of our marriage, we have grown and learned a lot. This year, it feels like the Lord decided to step it up a notch. I'm not sure why.

Perhaps it's because last year we conquered a big challenge in our lives - my long struggle with postpartum depression. It's refreshing to say I no longer have that monkey on my back. I feel lighter and refreshed because of it. I also feel stronger and more wise. I suppose by having the arrogance to admit that out loud, the Lord has seen fit to bless us with more change!

So onward we go, just placing one foot in front of the other and taking things as they come. I'm sure eventually I will blog about all of these changes, but right now some of them are still sinking in and others are lurking on the horizon.

I take comfort in the thought that all of the changes going on are simply the result of living a mortal existence, and not the result of personal choices we have made. Why is this comforting to me? Because it means I didn't make a bad choice!!! (Have I mentioned I'm indecisive? Maybe I shouldn't tell you that. . . maybe I should. . .)

So how am I dealing?


Pictures of my cute kids.

And Chocolate.

Park City last spring break on a very cold day.

"Look, Mom! We found a baby mermaid!"

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Bowling in Pismo

This year for her birthday, Ashlynn wanted to go bowling.

So we did.

There were purple balls, cute girls and running on the Pismo Pier.

Easy and fun!

Monday, September 13, 2010

On the Last Day of Summer...

...this is what we did.

Searching for bubble gum in whipped cream! I wanted to see how the kids would react when I handed them an entire package of Bubblelicious and a can of whipped cream.

They were skeptical at first, then excited, then five minutes later complained of stomach aches.

"Honestly, Mom! Why would you let us do something like that?"

I really don't know. Even as i sit typing this post, my mind is drawing a blank...

Friday, September 10, 2010

First Day of School, 2010

We must get a picture in front of the Blue Door.

Ty actually started a week later, so here is his picture on the actual day he started. I love this one. It reminds me of John Cusack in "Say Anything". I kept telling him to put his pack down, but he insisted on displaying it this way. All for your viewing pleasure!

After 2 Hours of Quiet. . .

. . .this is what comes downstairs!

Bad, Bad-er, and Bad-est!

Then we were treated to a full concert, complete with refreshments and bed jumping. Brian and I sat through all 10 minutes of metal-bowl-drumming, all because it kept them entertained and cooperating for so long. I didn't even care that Ringo broke half of my kitchen utensils during his drum solo.

Happy kids = Happy mom!

P.S. Please note the cotton balls in Ty's ears.

Sunday, August 15, 2010


I had a friend in college who had a car that didn't drive in reverse at all. She had to find parking spots that she could pull through or else get help in pushing the car out of the spot. We both decided to make this a motto for life. Forward! No turning back. If you want to get somewhere, you have to move forward!


Just got back from a month... I mean a week... at girls camp. I've got a couple birthday parties this week to navigate, back to school prep, a couple of Primary events to work on... more girls camp paperwork to do. When I put it that way it doesn't sound too bad.(I'm being serious. No Bazinga here.)

I'm guess I'm just not ready to let go of summer. I like being free. Once the kids are in school, I'll have some free hours in the morning off to myself, but once they come home in the afternoons, everything kicks into overdrive. Emergency cards in duplicate to fill out, homework to navigate, carpools to configure, and high flying emotions that always accompany the great amount of change that a new school year brings. I'm not sure If I'm ready to tackle it.

I guess I don't really have a choice.


Friday, July 30, 2010

A Little Alone Time

Sometimes, for a kid, it's all about the quiet moments...

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Fourth of July

A visit to Nana and Papa's on the fourth means:

...a trip to the hardware store (Papa about had a heart attack when I staged this shot. He was afraid he would go home with 3 ride-on lawn mowers. How fun would that be, Papa?!)

... a visit to Larry's produce to get all the fresh fixins for the family BBQ.

(was it easier to carry Ty in the wheelbarrow along with 50 watermelons and 90 ears of corn? Maybe yes. Maybe no.)

... UNO with Aunt Lynn.

... and always some kind of craft with the cousins (not to mention one killer water fight started by the dads that didn't quite make it on my camera roll).

Thanks, Mom and Dad for all of the hard work you put into this tradition.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Ty and His Friend

Maybe it's her blond curls that bring out the best in Ty, but these two sure get along well.

Maybe we've hit on the key to taming Ty:

A pretty face!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


This was the year I decided I was going to brave a camping trip with the kids. The idea of camping with a baby or a toddler was one I was not willing to wrap by head around.

So my baby is 4 and I decided it was time to take the plunge.

Well. More like dip my toe in.

So we chose a campground that was 20 minutes away and stayed for only two nights. but the car was still packed to the brim! I've realized that whether you are going for one day or a week, you still need to pack a whole kitchens worth of supplies!

(Duh, Kate...)

So we had a fun time and learned alot.

We learned that, at this particular campground, we were sorely lacking in the Boobs, Beer and Boombox department.

You get what I mean?

Not exactly a lets-get-back-to-nature kind of experience. More like where's-the-next-kegger?

But we decided, all night parties or not, we were going to enjoy ourselves (despite the 2 inches of brown water backing up from the drains in the bathroom that people were still wading through!)

We played UNO, read books, drank hot chocolate, went for a little hike, and even enjoyed an afternoon and the lake.

At night we were gently lulled to sleep by monotonous Mariachi music and awoke to the great smell of bacon cooking in the outdoors.

We had a good time and are looking forward to choosing a more rural campground in the future!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Cupcake Stand

Do your kids beg you about every five minutes to hold a lemonade stand?

Mine do.

One day I finally relented, but decided if we were going to do it, we were going all the way.

That means cupcakes and cute signs.

It took a good portion of the morning, but Ashlynn and I had fun making little things to cutenize the stand. The cupcakes were nothing fancy. Just box mix with pre-made frosting. But it really spruces up the cupcake when you use a pastry tip and top it with a Jelly Belly.

We communicated with walky talkies back and forth from the house to the street...

"Cupcake to Momma Bear. Do you read me, Momma Bear. We are out of chocolate cupcakes. Repeat - we are out of chocolate. Please bring more. Over and out"

It kept them safe and entertained.

By the end of the day, those kids were left with $30 in their pockets and a mild sunburn.

Not a bad day for Making Lemonade...