Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Life's Moments...

I try to live my life, not for the days, but for the moments. Jason happened to capture this one...

Saturday, September 27, 2008


Each week, Lauren brings home a Character Counts chart for us to sign and send back to school. It keeps us up to date with their classroom behavior. Every day is color coded. Green means they had a great day. Yellow means they had a warning. And Red means they had a bad day or got in trouble for misbehaving.

Yesterday she brought home her behavior chart and had one yellow day. Here is the conversation that followed:

Jason: Honey, that's not good. Why did you get yellow? Were you talking to Kyle? If you keeping talking to Kyle during class time, he's not going to be able to come over and play.

Lauren: No! Jason, I wasn't talking to Kyle! It was some other dude.

Jason: (trying not to laugh) What did you say? Who were you talking to?

Lauren: I said it was some other dude named Spencer.

Jason: (still holding back his laugh) Some other dude huh?

Thursday, September 25, 2008


Okay, so I finally did it! I chopped off my hair! It went from this in June...
To ...

I can get ready in about the half the time! I'm not sure how to get it into a pony tail though...

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Get To Know Me

Danale sent me this Get to Know Your Friends Survey a couple of weeks ago. I always love to read what people wrote because you find out little things you didn't know. I thought it might be fun to post mine. Who knows, maybe you will learn something new about me.

Okay, so when I went to my email I found a few of these surveys. I think it is so funny to read back through them and remember my life at those times! I'm going to post two just for fun!

1. What time did you get up this morning? 6:00am (yes, I'm back to the gym!)

2. Diamonds or pearls? Diamonds

3. What was the last film you saw at the cinema? Batman

4. What is your favorite TV show? There is nothing on right now!! The Hills just started up again and that is entertaining.

5. What do you usually have for breakfast? Slim Fast

6. What is your middle name? Michelle

7. What food do you dislike? I love food! (That is why I have been drinking Slim Fast for breakfast!)

8. What is your favorite CD at the moment? I don't think it is my favorite, but it is in my CD player and I listen to it every time i get in the car...Learn to Speak in a Week- Spanish!

9. What kind of car do you drive? Tahoe

10. Favorite sandwich? Turkey and Cheese

11. What characteristic do you despise in people? hypocrisy

12. Favorite item of clothing? Jason's T-shirts to lounge around the house in.

13. If you could go anywhere in the world on vacation, where would you go? Back to Italy or to France. I really want to go to Paris

14 . What is your favorite way to pass the time of day? Hmmm... I've been so crazy busy lately, but probably doing some video editing or working on a Heritage Book. I'm trying to preserve as many memories as I can. You never know when any one of us will have our time here run out.

15. What was your most memorable birthday? Memorable Birthday?!?!? I barely know how old I am!
16. Morning person or a night person? Night Owl! Mornings hurt and always come way too fast!

17. What is your shoe size? 7 1/2

18. Pets? None

19. Any new and exciting news you'd like to share? Jason got his brokers license and we are starting a new business!

20. What did you want to be when you were little? A mom!

21. How are you today? I'm good. That's for asking!

22. What is your favorite flower? Red Roses

23. What is a day on the calendar you are looking forward to? October 1st- Ashlyn's first birthday

24. What are you listening to right now? Peace and quiet. The kids are at school. Jason is at work and Ashlyn is asleep. Ahhhh....

25. What was the last thing you ate? Slim Fast. Wow- I'm boring huh?

26. Do you wish on stars? I used to... I don't think I could wish for any else in my life right now.

27. If you were a crayon, what color would you be? Purple

28. Last person you spoke to on the phone? Jason on his way to work. I don't know how we don't get sick of each other! :-)

29. What is your favorite soft drink? Diet Coke Plus

30. Favorite restaurant? Hula Grill in Maui. Nice answer Danale! Love that place! If I had to give a different answer, this could take all day. I think it makes Jason crazy because I can never decide. I love food. He'll ask where I want to go and I'll say anywhere that has food or surprise me. Every once in a while I want a good Burger and then I want to go to Red Robin.

31. Hair color? Brown, but I'm toying with a change. Jason has always said he loves my hair the way it is, but he finally agreed I could highlight it. I cut bangs about 6 months ago and I'm over it now. They look awful as I am trying to grow them out. So, why bother changing my hair if I'm not going to love it anyway? I think I might chop it off too! We'll see....

32. What was your favorite toy as a child? My Cabbage Patch Kids. My best friend Lindsay and I would play for hours!

33. When was the last time you cried? Last Wednesday when I had surgery.

34. What did you do last night? Went to Austin's football meeting, got the kids ready for bed, and finished my video journal

35. Are you afraid of Death? No, I'm just not ready to go yet. I would be sad for my kids. They need me and I think it would kill Jason.

36. Salty or sweet? Sweet! Sweet! Sweet! Salt? Sure I'll have some of that too! Any thing else?

37. How many keys on your key ring? 3. My house, the mail key, & the car key.

38. How many years at your current job? 6 1/2

39. Favorite day of the week? Friday

40. Do you make friends easily? Yeah. I love people. We are all so different and the so much the same in so many ways.

41. How many people will you send this to? I don't know. Maybe I will post it on my blog. :-)

42. How many will respond? Who ever thinks it's interesting to read...

43. Do you like finding out all this stuff about your friends? Yes! Love it!

44. Summer or winter? Spring!

45. Chocolate or Vanilla? Both! But Vanilla ice cream on warm brownies is THE BEST!

Okay here is #2. The date is 2/12/07

1. What time is it? 9:45

2. What is your full name? Tara Michelle Rickards

3. What are you most afraid of? One of my kids dying

4. Seen a ghost? yep

5. Where were you born? Sacramento, California

6. Ever been to Alaska? Not yet

7. Ever been toilet papering? More times than I could count.

8. Loved someone so much it made you cry? Of course

9. Been in a car accident ? 3 times but never the driver, always the passenger

10. Croutons or bacon bits: Yummy! Both!

11. Favorite day of the week: Saturday!

12. Favorite Restaurant: Za-za's in Florence, Italy ( this was put in by my dad, but he is absolutely right! It was fabulous!)

13. Favorite Flower: Roses! Different colors depending on my mood and the feelings they bring. They are just so romantic!

14: favorite drink: Sobe No Fear. Wow! That will really get you going! (sugar free)

15. Favorite ice cream: Ben and Jerry's Chubby Hubby

16. Favorite fast food restaurant? Does Arsenios count as fast food? It is a great Mexican restaurant with a 24 hour drive through. Jason and I are regulars!

17. What color is your bedroom carpet? Neutral Beige

18. How many times have you failed your driver's test? Once!!! I made a right hand turn on a yellow light and the crusty lady said it turned red. I think she was just grouchy!

19. Before this one, from whom did you get your last mail? Jen Bohn. She sent me a funny clip about nails salons that Janelle sent her.

20. What do you do most often when you are bored? Bored? What is that? I wish I had time to be bored! That would be great!

21. Bedtime? Hmmm. I try to set a bed time goal but never make it. When I wake up in the morning, I always say I am going to go to bed tonight at 10:30. Never happens. Usually around 12 midnight.

22. Who will respond to this e-mail the quickest? Not sure anyone will.

23. Who is the person you sent this to that is least likely to respond? Jason ;-)

24. Who is the person that you are most curious to see their answers? Everyone or I wouldn't send it! Haha!

25. Best Job you every had? The one I have now.

26. Ford or Chevy? Hmmm. Tough call. Chevy.

27. What are you listening to right now? Lauren playing make believe with her ponies.

29. How many tattoos do you have? None . .

30. How many pets do you have? Jessica has a hamster and we time share a cat with our neighbors. (The best way to have a cat!)

31. Which came first the chicken or the egg? The Chicken.

32. What would you like to accomplish before you die? My brain is still fuzzy before noon. That question requires thought. You'll have to ask me in the evening. Something great though.

33. How many people are you sending this e-mail to? just a couple.

34. What age was your favorite? And Why? Probably 18. Life was a new adventure. Going off to college, meeting new people. It was the only time in my life I didn't really have a plan.

35. What was your happiest time in your life? Right now! I just got home from my honeymoon!!! It was the best! Seriously!

36. What was the worst? About 4 years ago.

37. What was the biggest mistake you made and wish you could change it? Oh common now. Do we really need to broadcast our mistakes?! Haha! Sometimes I think I would change a million things but I am so happy with where I am now. I love the quote "It doesn't matter where you came from, It only matter where you are going." I love where I am going. I'm so excited about my future. I'm with an amazing man and I couldn't be happier about it!

39. Is there one place that makes you feel safe? In Jason's arms. Cheesy but true.

.40. If you could go anywhere in the world ,where would you go, and with who? I would love to travel everywhere! I think the next place I will go will probably be England when Sam gets off his mission. I'm looking forward to that.

That was fun, huh?! Okay, so I want to hear your answers! You can post them in the comments or email me!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Busy Weekend

This weekend was so busy! Travis came to visit the kids before he leaves next week to Iraq. The timing couldn't have been better. Friday morning, the school had their annual fund raiser called Donuts with Dad. An hour before school starts, the kids get to have donuts and juice with their dads and visit with their friends. We bought tickets earlier in the week. The kids were excited to leave when Travis picked them up for school.

I gave him a sheet of paper with the kids' schedule for the weekend. Jessica had her first soccer tournament on Saturday and was playing in two games. I laughed when he asked if she had to be at both games. "Yep!" Welcome to soccer season! At least Lauren's games haven't started yet.

Austin had his first real football game later that afternoon. We were all a little disappointed that he didn't get very much playing time. He really wanted his dad to be able to see him play. It was still fun to watch though. Austin looks so grown up in his uniform and I finally got to see who Kyles' mom is.


Lauren had been dying for her friend, Kyle, to come over and play. I told her I didn't know Kyle's mom, so I wasn't sure she would let him come over. She insisted I knew his mom, but she couldn't remember their last name. This went on for a couple of weeks. She did bring home his phone number one day, but we were too busy to have friends over. Anyway, while we were sitting in the bleachers, Lauren bounced over to us. "Mom! Mom! You can finally see who Kyle's mom is! You have to come over here quick!" I laughed and took her hand while she dragged me over to "see" who she was. Lauren was right. I did know her. Her daughter played on Jessica's soccer team last year. Jason and I chatted with them for a few minutes before we left. Lauren is thrilled that Kyle can come over and play very soon! Oh, my little Lauren...

Saturday morning, Jessica had her first soccer tournament. Jessica
She woke up with a sore throat and wasn't feeling very well. It didn't seem to slow her down very much. After she got over grumbling about the position she was playing, she had a great time!

Jessica and Travis

Jason and I took advantage of having a free Saturday! We went to lunch and then to the driving range to hit some golf balls. We went to an RV show- we are always half hearted, looking for an upgrade. Then, we browsed for a new car, but didn't find anything we were ready to jump into a payment for, so we headed down to the outlets to do a little clothes shopping.

Check out this cute sweater we picked up for Ashlyn!

It was such a nice weekend!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

I'm a Football Mom!

Austin and Tara (Me!)

I'm so excited Austin is playing football this year! He had his first scrimmage on Friday. Jason got off work and met me and Ashlyn at the football field. My mom and Jen were there too. It was so fun to watch him play! DaNae (Grandma), Brynne, and Jen

Austin and his cousin Wes

Austin and Jason

Austin after his scrimmage

He had some great tackles, but my favorite play was when Austin stripped the ball from the other team and started to run! Austin was so excited, he didn't hear the whistle blow, calling the play. Here is a quick clip of the play:

The next morning, he had his first game. They called it a Football Carnival. Each team played 2 games at he huge High school Stadium. He had to be at the school at 7:20am. Austin is not a morning person! Jason went in to wake him up at 6:20am and he was already awake laying in his bed. When he went back in to check on Austin a little bit later, he was just getting the last of his uniform on. This was the first time he got to wear all of it. Before going down to get breakfast, he said, "Hang on. I just want to look in the mirror." He turned and looked at himself all decked out in his football gear. "That looks awesome!"

We didn't get to talk to him until after his game. The stadium is huge! I was so glad we brought binoculars. Jason and I were nervous for him before each game. He must have felt so grown up playing on the High School field with the big stadium and the announcers booming over the speaker!

Monday, September 15, 2008

She Walks!

Ashlyn took her first step about a month ago. Just in the last few days, she will walk without us trying to coax her to come to one of us. I can't believe how fast she is growing up! She will be 1 in just a few weeks!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Morning Moments

Good Morning Bunny,
Walking into your room in the morning when you wake up, is my favorite time of day. You get a huge sleepy smile on your face and reach your arms out to me. When I pick you up, you lay your head back on my shoulder. We snuggle for a minute and then you start to "talk". I pretend to understand and ask you questions about your night. I laugh and kiss your cheeks as we go get breakfast. You have the best behead I have ever seen! You are growing up so fast and I am going to miss these morning moments so much...

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The Colors of Crayola

Saturday morning, we were going about our normal routine. The kids grumbled about doing chores. It's so funny how they complain about doing it, but once they get started, they seem to really enjoy it. On Saturday's the kids work with me for a half an hour. They don't have assigned chores because the same things don't always need to be done.

On school days, they have to do 10 jobs. Depending on how busy they are with sports and homework and how much I get done while they are gone, determines what kind of jobs they get. Sometimes it is as simple as taking the newspaper out to the recycling bin or putting away a pair of shoes. Other days they have jobs like unloading the dishwasher or vacuuming a room. I think it is good for them to learn how to work. We like to turn on music while we work.

Anyway, I had the kids come into the laundry room so I could send each of them up with their clothes. While they were upstairs, I started to pull out the laundry from the dryer. I noticed something strange. Everything seemed to be covered in orange spots. All of the sudden- horror! Honestly, it was awful! I pulled out of my dryer, an orange, empty, Crayola wrapper! Empty because a full size orange crayon had melted into our clothes!!!!

Flashback When I was in 7th grade, my mom thought it was silly to spend more than the minimum on clothes, so I started to buy my own. She also was a fan of teaching her kids the value of work. I did my own laundry. I did an entire load of whites, with a tube of red lipstick in the pocket of my Guess jeans! We bought everything under the sun to try to get out he red. I don't think anything was saved.
Friday I taught a class on Friday and my assistant- I'll have to post about that another time- came over to watch Ashlyn and do some things around the house. She calls laundry a "hobby" of hers, so I usually have her throw in a load or two of the kids clothes when she is here. There wasn't enough kids laundry for a full load, so I gave her some of my laundry.

It was so sad. Austin and Jessica came in and I was just holding a few pieces. I'm sure my jaw was still on the floor. Jason came down to get his next assignment- I love Saturday- and saw the orange spots on some of his favorite shorts. "What happened ?" I handed him the crayon wrapper.
"What's my next job, Mom?" Austin asked. He somehow didn't notice his green shirt could have been a leopard print!

"Honey, could you turn down the music? We'll finish up later, okay?" I managed to get out.

A few minutes later, Lauren came down with her head hung down. "Mom? It was my fault. I put the crayon in my pocket. I accidentally left my class with the crayon in my hand. When I went back to put it back in my class, the door was locked so I just put it in my pocket."

I was a little distracted by the spots I was now trying to remove from one of my favorite shirts. "It's okay, Lou."

She walked out slowly. I tossed Jason a shirt as he set up the ironing board in the hall so we could have more room to work. There was still clean, folded laundry on the counters. "I guess it is a good time to try out my magic cleaner!" Jason had teased me for being a sucker when I bought cleaner from a door to door sales person for some crazy amount of money.
We started working on the spots and I went into the kitchen to find another rag. I saw Lauren sitting on the couch all alone, with her head still hung. I put down my rag and gave her the attention I should have the first time. I put my arms around her and told her my lipstick story. I told her we weren't mad at her at all. We were just worried about our clothes. "Is is going to ruin all of our clothes?"

"I sure hope not," I said.

"Can I help get the spots out?" She asked. Lauren loves her clothes as much, if not more, than any grown woman!

What a sweet girl. I told her she could help and that I was so proud of her for telling the truth and taking responsibility. She was proud of herself for saving a pair of Austin's basketball shorts.

It was actually really nice to work together and I have to say that my magic cleaner really is magic! One of Jason's Polo shirts and a couple of pairs of shorts survived. My favorite knit shirt made it! Some stuff was just too covered and may not have lasted more than another month when the weather changes. By the time some of the clothes would be in season again, the kids would have grown and needed new ones anyway. I was okay with a few orange spots on my pajamas and work out shorts. I said goodbye to a favorite T-shirt. It would have taken hours!

The funniest part of it all was Jason puling out the camera! "This one's for the blog!"

Nice. So, here I am in all of my Saturday morning, pajamas, no make up and awesome hair, glory! Thanks Babe!

Beautiful Idea

Oh I already miss lazy summer days!!! Getting the kids up and out the door in the mornings can be exhausting! Some mornings I feel grumpy before 8 am! I hate being the nag, but I feel like I am constantly on them to brush their teeth, put on their shoes, etc. You know the routine. I know I am not alone here.

Well, last week we had a meeting (I'm on the Enrichment committee) to plan our Super Saturday. We were looking for a few other ideas and came across a fun idea I borrowed to help my girls get ready in the morning. Jessica and I went over to Michael's and picked out some flowers and a couple of pots. We bought paint, so the girls could decorate the pots how ever they wanted.

They were very creative and I think they came out really cute!

Each flower represents a morning task. Take Shower. Get Dressed. Eat Breakfast. Brush Teeth. Make Bed. Make Lunch. Hair Done. They can do it in whatever order they want, but they can't put their flower in the pot until the task is complete. It helps them remember all the things they have to do and they are so excited to see how pretty it looks when they are ready for school! The first day, when it was time to go, Lauren started running up to her room. "Wait! I have to make my bed!"

Ahhh... yes. Beautiful idea.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Labor Day

On Labor Day we went over to Mike and Angie's to watch the Fresno State football game and barbeque. Well- the boys watched the game anyway.
Ashlyn and Jason Rickards

We watched the kids play out front. Kristi lives right next door to Angie. (They are sisters. How cool huh?)

Kristi and Angie

Between the two of them there was a ton is cards for the kids to drive. I couldn't get over it! I thought it was so funny to see all those kids driving around! The cars were pretty fast too! Mason and Rylee
Maddie and Lauren

Jessica Maddie, Kimberlyn and Lauren

When they were nice and hot, we took them out back to swim. Jessica Austin Lauren

Kristi and Kennedy, Tara and Angie


Jason had to go to Sacramento to look at some property, so we decided to make a trip of it and visit family. Ashlyn asleep on the way there...
We spent Sunday at Justin and Danale's house. It was fun to see how big Colton is getting and see some of his new tricks! He can stand for a few seconds, sit up, roll over, melt your heart when he smiles and make you laugh out loud when he giggles at his daddy being silly! Danale and Colton

It was such a nice day! The weather was so much cooler, but Austin had a good time in the pool. Jason and Justin took turns throwing the football to him and running plays into the water!

Jason and Justin's tough guy pose!

Danale lovin' on Ashlyn

It was so nice to hang out and relax. I love having family that you would choose to be friends with!

Later Jason's dad and Teresa came over to visit with us. It was fun to have both of the grand babies there at the same time! Teresa (holding Ashlyn) and Danny

Swimming at Grandma's

It has been so hot here lately! We tried to stay cool Saturday night by swimming at my mom's house. The McCauley's came over the have pizza and swim with us. Margaret and Kimberlyn

Here is Jason trying to coax Ashlyn into jumping into the pool! I'm not sure who was having more fun!

I think I have been a little camera happy lately! I have totally been into preserving memories. When you look through a lens, everyday life sometime looks a little different. Last year, in one of Jessica's journals for school, she listed swimming at her grandma's with her family as one of her favorite things to do.

Notice Austin's new hair cut? He really wanted to keep it long, but after much persuasion, he agreed it was better to have it short for football season.

Lauren's awesome dive off the rocks!

My dad hanging out in the hot tub with the kids.

Ashlyn is such a Grandma's girl!