Thursday, May 29, 2008

Memorial Day Weekend

For as long as I can remember, I have spent every Memorial Day weekend camping at Whiskeytown Lake. Some years it rained and some years it was so hot we rarely took off our swim suits! When I lived in Utah, I made the long drive back to be there. I have cousins at BYU that still drive all the way out for the weekend. It is a tradition that was started when my mom was about 14 years old. My mom is one of 5 children and they all still come with their children. We've grown into quite a bunch with every one's kids and their kids and so on. Some of my favorite memories in life are from there. It is one of those constants in my life. Well, a few years ago the campground came under new management and they keep changing the date we can make reservations. This was the first year that we missed the deadline and the campsites were all taken for Memorial Day weekend! It was kind of hard to imagine not being there and spending that time with my extended family.

We decided to spend the weekend camping at Dinkey Creek. It had been so hot the week before and we were looking forward to a little relief by being up in the mountains. I heard on the news that the heat wave was ending and we would "be seeing cooler temperatures by the weekend". I didn't think much of it. We picked up the RV from the storage unit early in the week so I wouldn't feel rushed to get it all packed up. (We bought an RV last year and if you ask anyone in my family, that isn't "real" camping. :-) I agree, but nobody complains when I pull a lasagna out of the oven!) I was loading some food into the RV when my mom came by and said she had checked the weather. She said there was a 40% chance of rain on Saturday with a high temp of 74 degrees and a low of 58. Hmm. Well, how bad could it be? It was 90 degrees outside and I was in shorts and a t-shirt. 74 sounded great and rain couldn't be that bad and if it rained, I was sure it would only be for a little bit.

We got in late Friday night and by Saturday morning at 6am we could hear the cousins outside trying to start the fire. Our kids woke up and couldn't wait to go out and play! Jason got up and took them all on a hike near the creek so I could try to get some more sleep. Ashlyn's first tooth broke through on Friday and she woke up a few times during the night.

By 8am, it was raining and COLD! Really cold. The kids came back played with the fire- yes, more "safe" behavior that I had to take pictures of. (If you are not a regular here, check out Brynne's birthday and the boys playing with the barbecue.) This time, I did give in to the worried mom in me but not until after I got a few pictures! :-) I wasn't as worried about them starting a fire or burning each other as I was about them thinking this was a great idea and doing it when we camp in July when everything is dry. Boys, boys, boys...

I went for a run around 11am when the rain slowed to a drizzle. I love to run in the mountains! It just makes me feel alive and it makes me happy. When I was a teenager, I used to run on the trails at Whiskeytown with my dad. Love it! The place we camped was down a dirt road, tucked away next to the creek. (One of my favorite sounds is the water rushing over the rocks. I could sit and listen to that for hours.)
Jason, Jeff and Wes took their motorcycles out to explore the area while I took a shower and the kids tried to stay warm in the RV watching a movie. The rain came and went throughout the day and it was no where near 74 degrees outside! My brother Billy and his wife Jen came up to visit us for the day. She is due in a few weeks and I don't think camping sounded too appealing. Luckily, the campground isn't too far from home, so they could come hang out without feeling like they had to pack up and spend the night.

Stephen and Skyler arrived in the afternoon. We didn't have any cell phone reception at our campground. I was feeling really guilty that they drove all the way here to spend the weekend camping with us and it was SO cold and rainy. I was glad they came though. As we were unloading his car, I tried not to get emotional. There was just an empty feeling when Ronna didn't get out of the car with them. Sometimes it still doesn't feel real that she isn't here. I miss her. She would have been so excited to hear about Ashlyn's new tooth.

We helped set up their tent and unload Sklyer's bike. He can ride a two wheeler now! He is growing up so fast! Stephen is amazing with him.

We cooked ham and yummy potatoes in the dutch ovens, read the paper, goofed off in the hammock and around camp, and played games in the RV.
Ashlyn kept busy while we were playing a game by trying to get her new tooth into an orange! It was so cute! Jason took a million pictures. (To see more, click the link to the Rickards Family Photos and click on the Memorail Day Weekend folder. )

By Sunday morning, we were ready to go home. It was just too wet and cold to enjoy being outside. On our way home it started to SNOW!!!! Yes, I said snow. It looked like really slushy rain at first but then a bit of snow. Stephen and Skyler came back and spent the night at our house. They went out to the Ranch to ride the quads with Jason and the kids on Monday and then headed home.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

My Momma Bear Moment

In the beginning of the school year Austin was forgetful. He would forget his homework assignments in the car or on his desk. Sometimes he would forget to bring home his math book and would have to call another student to get the information. He just wasn't really concerned about school. His grades always came easy for him. If you asked him what his favorite subject was, he would say "Recess!" His teachers have always loved him. They have always told me how "delightful" he was to have in class.

This year, we have had a different experience. His teacher just always seems so crusty and irritated. At first, it was a little hard for me to understand. I can be an objective parent, but Austin really is a good boy. He's not a trouble maker or the loud obnoxious kid in class. He has a quiet, charming sense of humor and always tries to do what is right. Really, I'm not just saying that because he's my son. He really is a great kid. Anyway, one day when he had forgotten something, she said, "Well that's no surprise now is it Austin?" right in front of the whole class. Austin was really embarrassed and it hurt his feelings. He had never had a teacher be rude to him. As he told me about it, his eyes teared up. "She just doesn't like me, Mom. She is always mean to me." I asked him more about it and he said he didn't want to talk about it. He asked me not to talk to her about it because she said "kids who have parents that complain have it a lot harder. That's what she told us."

It broke my heart to see him sad and honestly, I was really disappointed in his teacher. We worked with Austin to help him remember to put his homework back in his backpack the night before so it wouldn't get left at home. We also tried to improve his relationship with his teacher. We sent Christmas candy to her at Christmas time and sent friendly emails occasionally to check on Austin's progress. She always responded sounding short and less than friendly.

Austin has become so much more responsible and rarely needs to be reminded anymore. I still feel like she is really hard on him though. Any assignment that has a right or wrong answer, he gets excellent grades. If it is discretionary, the grades are not very good.

So, last Friday, I got a call from Austin's teacher. She sounded really upset. She said, " I just wanted you to know that Austin is just falling apart the last few weeks! He is forgetting everything and he isn't finishing his assignments!" Honestly, I was confused at first. "Really? Austin has been diligently doing his homework every night. I'm really surprised to hear that." I felt like he had really hit his stride. He had been so responsible lately. Just the night before he asked if we could buy some paint for a project they were doing in school. The other kids were using crayons and markers but, his teacher said the better it looked, the better the grade. He thought painting it would make it look more like a building. "Is he missing something?" I asked.

"Well, he just isn't finishing his assignments and I know you are just as disappointed in his grades as I am! Would you like to have a word with him?" she went on.

I'm not sure if it was the tone in her voice, or the fact that Austin was still able to pull off all A's and two B's in spite of her, that brought out the Momma Bear in me. I had bit my tongue for too long. "No, I wouldn't, but while I have you on the phone there is something I would like to talk to you about." I told her about the conversation I had had with Austin several months ago and that it brought him to tears thinking that his teacher didn't like him. "As a parent, it concerns me that my child spends most of his day with an adult who is rude and belittling and who makes him feel like he isn't liked. I'm not sure how he learns in an environment like that, but I am actually quite proud of Austin and his accomplishments this year."

She was really quite for a moment and she said she would talk to Austin about that. We hung up the phone, but I was still upset. I sat racking my brain trying to think of what Austin could have forgotten. I called Jason, like I always do when I am upset about something. He said he was glad I finally said something too her. Jason wasn't a fan of Austin's teacher either. I asked him if he had any idea what he could have forgotten. "Yeah, his spelling homework," he said. I told Jason that I saw Austin working on it. "The one where he had to write the coordinates for each letter of every word? I told him he didn't have to finish it. It was lame, busy work and it would have taken him forever." he said. "What!? Really, you did? Honey..."

When Austin came home from school, I asked him how his day was. "Fine," he said. I asked him if his teacher talked to him. His eyes lit up. "How did you know?" he asked. I told him we had talked on the phone earlier in the day. He gave me a hug and grinned. "Thanks, Mom." He said she apologized for being rude in front of the class and for hurting his feelings. She told him that she was glad he was in her class. I told him I was glad, but he had to finish his spelling homework.

We left to go camping evening, but I couldn't get it off my mind. I felt bad for my Momma Bear moment. I probably could have handled it better. I felt guilty for not being nicer about it. Then I started to worry because Austin's final grades hadn't come out yet. He really wants to play football in the fall and we told him he could only have one B and the rest had to be A's. When we got home, I was going through his backpack and found a note from his teacher. She said she had apologized to Austin and would give him class time to finish his assignment. Wow! I guess she was feeling bad too.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

The Hat Parade

The title of this post is The Hat Parade, but it should probably be called The Mommy Project! Our elementary school doesn't do the traditional Kindergarten Graduation. Instead, they have a Hat Parade. Each student is sent home with a flat, circular piece of poster board to be made into a hat! I think each year they have become more elaborate. It started with stickers, string and markers and has graduated to star wars figures, real footballs, barbies, feather boas and leopard print, and yes, now flowers.

It was so funny to watch the mom's as they dropped off the kids in the classroom to get ready for the big event! "Be careful!", "Don't touch that!", "Oh no! You can see my glue spots!" "Don't take the football off!" "BE CAREFUL!" They were so proud of their little creations. I can't say I was much better! "Lauren, don't jump on the couch with your hat on! Please, don't play with your hat! If it breaks, I don't have time to fix it!"

The kids were adorable! A red carpet was set up on the stage in the school cafeteria. The kids walked the carpet with a partner, stood and smiled, bowed or did a curtsy. We all took pictures of our kids and admired each other's hats. The mom's smiled at their friends as their hat's were revealed. Whispers of "Good job on that one!" and "You are so creative!" were exchanged. After the little red carpet parade, the kids sang a few very cute songs with hand motions. It was one of those moments that makes you so glad to be a mom.

I was glad to share the moment with my mom and my grandparents and of course the rest of my family. Ashlyn loved it! It is crazy that she is so big already! She loved to watch the kids sing. My grandpa was holding her as she kicked her legs and squealed with delight! We kept turning around to look at her because it was so funny! We tried not to let her steal the show!

Pictures From The Hat Parade

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Take Me Out To The Ball Game!

Monday was the last day of baseball! For the last two years, Austin's uncle Jeff coached his baseball team and Jason was one of the assistant coaches. They both decided they were too busy this year to commit that much time. I was a little surprised when Austin said he still wanted to play even though he probably wouldn't get a team with one of his cousins. (They think they can't do anything without each other!)
I missed sitting in the stands with my sister, cheering on our boys, but it was fun to watch Austin grow so much in his abilities this year. He is so much fun to watch when he gets on base! He is so quick and loves to steal. I love his grin as he crosses home plate!
He has a great arm! He never did get to pitch though. (The coach's son did.) He missed 2 Saturday practices in the beginning of the season. If Austin ever asked if he could pitch, the coach told him he would love to have him pitch but he had to be at practice. It was kind of frustrating for me because I felt like it was a game of who do you know and who are your friends with. He was at every other practice. They did put a lot of emphasis on learning and the kids changed positions constantly. Well, except for the pitcher. :-)
This was also our first year of doing Cal Ripken instead of the River Park League. I think next year we will go back to River Park. I love the big stadiums with the lights and the snack bar! (I love those ball park nachos!) Our games were at the same time and on the same nights, which was nice in some ways. BUT the time was terrible. Austin had to be there at 5pm to warm up and the games started at 5:45. We wouldn't get back home until 7:30pm. We ate a lot of sandwiches and take out!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Look Who Is Trying To Crawl!

Last week Ashlyn started getting up on her hands and knees and rocking back and forth! At first, she would just push herself backwards, but now she is really starting to move! It is so exciting and so sad at the same time! I love all the new stages, but I am sad to see her passing through the baby stage so quickly. I LOVE being a mom!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Mother's Day

This Mother's Day was unlike any other. Beside being the first Mother's Day without Mom, Tara and I gave talks in Sacrament meeting. We started the day by making Tara breakfast in bed. I made her favorite: a fried egg inside the hole of piece of bread that I cut out with a cup. She was pretty tired as she had been up until 1 a.m. preparing her talk. We had a week to prepare our talks and I, of course, procrastinated until Sunday morning to start mine. So at 9:30 I sat down at the computer for the first time to start working on my talk (our ward starts at 12:30).

I was asked to speak on how my mother influenced my life and also how I have been influenced by Tara being the mother of our family. I knew the talk and the preparation were going to be very emotional. I just sat at the computer and let it all flow out. Surprisingly, preparing and giving the talk were very therapeutic and somehow very fitting. I felt blessed to have the opportunity to speak about mom and how she impacted my life and to pay respect to her in front of so many people I care about. The bishop later commented that he had no idea that mom had passed away when he asked us to speak. What a neat bit of inspiration.

When we arrived at church, 20 min early, there was literally no where to sit. We wanted to sit on the front row so that as Tara and I took turns speaking, the other could be down tending to the children. We squished in next another family with like 5 kids and it was nutty. Bun was sleeping when we left, so she was still waking up when we sat down. Then she was hungry and the kids wanted to play with her and Lauren wanted to kiss her all over (I mean all over, her legs, her head, her hands, her feet, everywhere.) This made Austin edgy because she was all over him and to top it all off, it was hot. I was doing my best to just concentrate on my talk and not go crazy.

The primary children sang in Sacrament and that was beautiful and calmed me a little bit. Next Tara was up and she gave a great talk from her point of view as a mother. Everyone was touched and she gave a great message. When it was my turn, I didn't feel nervous and I just felt like the words just flowed out. I did get emotional a few times, but I feel like I held it together pretty well considering the circumstances. Below is the outline that I took up with me when I gave my talk. Of course it is not written in complete sentences, but you can get the gist of what I said:

"I affirm my profound belief that God's greatest creation is womanhood. I also believe that there is no greater good in all the world than motherhood. The influence of a mother in the lives of her children is beyond calculation." James E. Faust, April 1993 General Conference

How Tara as a mother has influenced me:

We had Ashlyn on October 1 of last year. I believe there is a chemical change in a man’s heart when he sees the woman he loves go through such a difficult and amazing process. Your heart grows in ways that you cant’s explain and there is a softness and a tenderness that can only come from the Spirit.

She makes it look easy – She juggles so many schedules I don’t know how she keeps up. We recently bought her treo phone. She has learned to tame this technology and become very organized. She keeps everything from Drs appointments to grocery lists in her phone and sometimes when I see her schedule, it makes me thankful that I get to go to work.

A couple of Saturday’s ago, she attended an all-day scrap booking event and asked if I could watch the children while she was gone. I said “sure hon, no problem. I can do this, you go have fun with your pictures and scissors.” She sent me about 15 text messages during the day to see if I had remembered this or forgotten to do that. When she came home, the baby was asleep, and the house reasonably picked up. She asked how it all went and I told her that it was fine. I don’t think that she could tell that I didn’t have time to take a shower that day, that the kids still had lunch on their faces and clothes, and I was only able to switch one load of laundry from the washer to the dryer. I honestly have no idea how she does it.

She has taught me to capture and appreciate the moments. She takes a ton of pictures. She shares pictures with family and friends. She has started a blog.

I see her influence and successes through the children. When I see Austin taking such sweet care of his baby sister and the tenderness that he has for others, I know that came from his relationship and influence of his mother. When Jessica was sad when we caught a rat in the rat trap in our garage because it was one of heavenly father’s creatures, I could just hear the countless previous conversations with her mother regarding animals and Heavenly Father’s love for them. When Lauren runs downstairs at night distraught because we “almost forgot family prayer.” I can see Tara’s commitment to keep the family strong through spiritual bonds.
Tara and I have amazing children and they are who they due to the tremendous amount of attention and love that Tara gives them on a daily basis.

How my mother influenced my life:

Today's Topic is near to my heart. This is a very personal topic yet one that I feel very comfortable speaking on. I truly have one of the most amazing mothers in the world. Every major decision I have ever made was done with input and advice of my mother, so in large part almost I can feel her influence every aspect of my life. My mother passed way from pancreatic cancer on March 13th of this year. It seems that when someone close to you passes, you reflect back on them, their life, and their impact on you.

To my mom, being a mother, was not a position or a title, but an attitude, a way of living and loving so that everyone around her felt her unconditional acceptance and love.

She was the oldest of 5 children….She was the oldest daughter of 5 children. Her mother worked outside the home and so all of the responsibility fell onto her. She had me a very young age and soon thereafter my sister came along. Then Sam 10 years later, just as Sam was preparing to graduate from high school, and then when I was 26 she had my youngest brother Skyler. Sklyer is now 6, the same age as my little Lauren.

She loved being a mother, not just to us, her children, but anyone or anything else that she could. We have pictures of her Maltese dog dressed up as a pumpkin for Halloween, and her cats had no idea that they were not human because they were treated as if they were. All growing up we had friends that felt comfortable coming to her with their problems, their trials, and their joys. When the word of her passing spread, there was such a tremendous outpouring of love that it hard to explain.

At her graveside service, the bishop that was presiding gave anyone a chance to speak that felt the desired to do so. One woman stood up, whom I have never seen before. She said that she had not spoken to my mother in almost 30 years, but that in high school this woman had not been very popular or accepted among the cool crowd. And that my mom went out of her way to talk to her to be her friend and to make her feel included. She said that she never forgot my mom or her actions. My mom would even mother her friends and those that she didn’t even know.

She felt it was her responsibility and duty to teach her children the basics of life so that when the time came to leave home we would not be lost without her.

She taught us how to wash our clothes; separate the whites, lights and darks, bleach only on the whites. If something is red, even if it is a light red, it still goes with the darks.

She taught us how to cook ; not gourmet, and not by microwave, but how to follow a recipe and the basics of nutrition and a healthy lifestyle.

She taught us how to sew; we all learned how to sew on buttons, fix hems and rips.
She taught us strength – physical and spiritual

Physical – she was strong, from working and raising children, she had these biceps that were amazing. She would flex and all of my friends’ jaws would drop. I still remember in the eighth grade none of my friends could beat her in an arm wrestling match.

Spiritual – several times in her life she was faced with extremely difficult decisions that she knew would have an impact on her children for the rest of her life.

She understood and took very seriously the fact that her decisions that she made on a daily basis, to have family prayer, to read her scriptures, to pay her tithing not only affected her but me and my brothers and sister and our future families as well.

She taught us Love

While serving in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Elder Gordon B. Hinckley said: "How fortunate, how blessed is the child who feels the affection of his parents. That warmth, that love will bear sweet fruit in the years that follow"

She was my biggest fan

She told me that I could do anything that I wanted if I would try hard enough. When I was 5 at my kindergarten graduation and the teacher was asking all the children what they wanted to be when they grew up and I said “Rockstar” she smiled and nodded her head. Later as I grew older and my talent for singing (or lack thereof) became apparent, and I decided to go to law school, she nodded and smiled again.

She was a friend

So often in life when I had good news or even bad, she would be the person that I wanted to tell first. I knew that she was rooting for me and was sincerely excited about the things in my life.
After I got married and my wife took on more of that role, she would be the second person I called and often had an interesting insight or idea. I loved and will always cherish those conversations.

Funny Sayings – Golly Sakes Alive, and I’ll be cotton pickin’ – she wasn’t from the south but sometimes I think she forgot that she had lived her whole life in California. She had other sayings that stuck with me throughout my life:

As a small child, I had a tendency to be curious about life, and to wander from my mother’s side when we went to the grocery store and other places.

I remember her saying in that whisper-yell voice that only mother’s can do, “I said STAY CLOSE.”

As I grew into my late elementary school years, and I would leave the house in the morning for a day of playing football, wiffleball, swimming and crawdad catching, my mom would yell out “Stay Close” as the screen door slammed and I rode off on my bmx bike in a blur.

As I grew into a teen-ager and started to gain my independence with a job and a car, she would hug me as I prepared to leave and whisper in my ear “stay close.”

Then as I left for my mission and entered the MTC, when you get that final goodbye where young, wide-eyed, and visibly shaking missionaries, start their new life, through tearful eyes and a joyful heart, she again whispered “stay close.”

Then again as I married my wonderful wife, her advice on how to have a happy marriage, she looked at me and Tara and said, “Stay close.”

As she was diagnosed with terminal cancer and my heart was broken, I sat next her in her hospital bed and asked her how I was supposed to live without her and she said, “don’t worry, I’ll stay close.”

It was a very emotional talk and one that I won't soon forget.

After church, we went to the Hurds' and the men (Jeff, Bill, Billy and I) made dinner for the women. We made them breakfast for dinner. I was in charge of the waffles and through a minor miscalculation (I put in 1/2 the milk that I was supposed to) some of them came out kind of um....heavy. But everyone ate them just the same and it was a great time.

We came home and Tara was a little stressed because the house was a wreck because we left the house in such a whirlwind to get to church on time. She wanted the kids to go to bed so we could have some "us" time, and of course I missed the signs and didn't understand her mood, and I let the kids stay up a late and watch the original Star Wars with me.

So all in all, it wasn't a very Tara oriented Mother's Day and I feel bad about that. There was so much going on and I feel like she didn't really get the recognition that she deserves for being the wonderful mother that she is. She really is amazing and I appreciate all that she does for all of us. Happy Mother's Day Mom and Tara.

Friday, May 9, 2008

I Love My Life

Jason had to be in Bakersfield early yesterday, so I took the day off from setting the alarm to get myself to the gym before the kids are up. (Notice how I said "setting the alarm". I only actually make it about every other time. Mornings come so early!) Ashlyn woke up a few minutes after my alarm would have gone off for the gym. I shuffled into her room. She heard the door open and started smiling and kicking when she saw me. She is so wiggly when she gets excited. It is the cutest thing! I smiled through my yawn, changed her diaper and made a bottle. I figured since Jason was already gone, we would just snuggle back up in my bed. We called Jason on speaker phone, found all her ticklish spots, and just snuggled until it was time to wake up the kids.

I got everyone except Lauren, who has afternoon Kindergarten and was still asleep, in and out of the shower, hair blown dry, breakfast eaten and put away, lunch packed, shoes found, backpacks ready, permission slip filled out, clean dishes unloaded from the dishwasher, a new load of laundry put in and 3 of the 5 beds made. Then, it was time to go to school. I stepped into my flip flops, keys in one hand, baby in the other. Yes, I was still in my pajamas. I asked Lauren to grab my purse, buckled Ashlyn into her car seat and we were off.

As I made a left hand turn, my purse spilled over onto the front seat where Austin had climbed in. (I usually don't let him sit up front, but he thinks he is so big these days. The school is 2 blocks away and I was still too tired to worry about it. Besides, Austin just has a way about him that is really hard to say no too.) "Aw! Mom! Your purse dumped out!" He said with this teasing grin as he started to put everything back in it. "Thanks, Honey. Could you zip that up for me?" I asked. He did. I asked if he got everything. He looked at me and grinned and said, "Yeah... Well, maybe everything but a couple of bucks... Just kidding." I just started to laugh. I knew I didn't have any cash in my purse, but if I did, I would have given him "a couple of bucks" because he is just so cute! I love his sense of humor. He is so playful.

The kids jumped out of the car and yelled "I love you, Mom!" as the doors slammed shut and they ran off to find their friends. I looked in the back seat at Ashlyn, who can't help but smile when anyone looks at her, chewing on her butterfly and Lauren with her blond hair all a mess, in her pajamas with her blanket wrapped around her. My heart was full. I love my life. I love my kids.

As I looked for a break in traffic to head home, one of my friends drove by and waved. She was all done up and ready for the day- make- up, hair, the whole bit. I looked down at my pajamas, smiled and went home.

Some of My Favorite Moments Are Spent Snuggling With My Family.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Tally Ho!

Well here I am but how did it start? Thats where it all begins. I asked my step dad if I could ride Steve Fogg's horse. He said not until I learned how. So we made a deal if I got A's and one B I could learn at Tally Ho Horse Park. So I said sure it's on. A few weeks later... Oh you can figure the rest out but I'll tell you anyway I MADE IT! So I got a horse named Danica. But one tiny problem... DANICA DOESNT LISTEN!!! That darn horse! You tell her to go left she'll go right, you tell her to go right she'll go left, tell her to go faster she'll walk, tell her to walk she'll stop but it's worth it. So here I am. Tally Ho! I LOVE it!

Jessica and Danica

Sunday, May 4, 2008

National Scrapbook Day

Saturday was National Scrapbook Day. I haven't done any scrapbooking in years! They have the cutest store here in town and I found myself wandering in a few weeks ago. They said they were having a class from 9am until 9pm on May 3rd. Hmmmm.... I realized I kind of missed my old hobby. I talked to Jason about it and he encouraged me to go!

If you don't know already, Jason works really hard, and he plays harder. :-) The weekend is used to it's fullest! We go out with our friends. We ride and play at the Ranch. Sometimes we get a babysitter and just bum around town like when we were dating! It is rare that you will find us doing a house project on the weekend. Don't get me wrong, we (I) love house projects, but usually they get done during the week after the kids go to bed or during the day when Jason is at work. The weekend is play time! Jason has always been supportive when I want to do something, but I hadn't ever been gone for that long and left him with all the kids AND the baby on a SATURDAY! Jessica had a birthday party and Austin had baseball. Luckily we were able to reschedule Jessica's horse riding lessons or it would have been really busy!

I started to really look forward to it! All of my pictures are on the computer so I had to go through and print a few I thought I might use. I love pictures! They just put me in a good mood and make me appreciate my life so much. I left Saturday morning feeling a little guilty and a lot grateful that I have such a supportive husband. It took me a while to find my "creative energy". I think I wandered around the store for an hour! Haha! I had so much fun though!

I came home and Jason was hanging out with Jeff and the cousins eating pizza and watching a motorcycle movie. The house was picked up, dishes done and he even switched the laundry! He said everything went great with the kids and he had taken them out shopping for a Mother's Day gift! He is so dreamy....

Here are a few pages that I did.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Happy Birthday Brynne!

Saturday was Brynne's 3rd birthday! I can't believe how fast she has grown up! She was a little camera shy, but I finally got a picture of her with her cupcake!

Playin' at the park... (Austin playing catcher and Garrett at bat and Jason playing catcher and Wes at bat.)

Ashlyn loves to be outside!

Tara and Ashlyn

Lauren in the hot tub

Austin and Jessica playing in the pool.

We had so much fun! After we left the park, we went to my mom's house to swim and barbecue. The kids cracked open a pinata and ate cupcakes, while the adults relaxed by the pool.

After we ate, I looked over and saw the boys playing with the VERY hot barbecue. They wanted to see how fast it could make the ice melt! Somehow, I always find myself telling them to be careful or not to do this or that. So, I resisted the urge and picked up my camera. I was sure they were going to burn one of their little fingers, but I figured this time I would be the one who got the picture of how they got their really cool scar instead of the one who spoiled their fun again. Luckily, no one was hurt and my dad made them stop just after I took this picture.

It made me think though. I think boys are just wired different than girls. Could you imagine this same picture with 4 pigtailed girls in their swim suits? It is so crazy how fast our boys are growing up. (I say ours, but I mean mine and Jen's. They act like they are brothers since Austin is the only boy in our family.) They just seem like little guys. I'm sure they are going to have all sorts of "great" ideas before they are off on their missions and out of the house. I've got to learn to not worry so much!

If you want to see more pictures, click on the link to the Rickards' Family Photos.