Monday, July 28, 2008

A Day At The Beach

-After going to the Aquarium, we spent the night in a hotel in Sea Side.


Jessica: Is this the hotel we are staying at?

Me: Yep. This is it.

Austin: It looks more like a motel to me.

Jessica: What's the difference between a hotel and a motel?
Austin: A motel is like a hotel only smaller.

We got 4 rooms right next to each other. I'm sure every other person in the hotel became very aware when we arrived! There was 12 kids between us. The kids thought it was the greatest thing. Most of them played in Jen and Jeff's room while we visited and tried to make plans for the next day.

Here is Lauren, Jessica and Drew.

I started reading Twilight, which I loved! I couldn't put it down! Ashlyn wanted to lay next to me and read her Baby Einstein book.

The next day we went to Rio Del Mar and had a fantastic time at the beach! Ashlyn was so interested in the sand. She loved to run her hands through it. I kept moving her back on to her beach towel under the umbrella, but she kept crawling back out onto the sand. It was so fun to watch her face as she explored what it felt like to have it run through her fingers.

She loved the ocean too. I walked down to where the tide could come up just over her feet. She squealed with delight when she saw it coming, then wrinkled her nose an grinned when she could feel the cold water touch her legs. It is so fun to watch babies as they experience something new. For some reason, it always reminds me to stop and enjoy the simple things in life too.

Jeff, Jason, and Peter spent some time catching the waves on boogie boards and throwing around the football. They seemed so happy to be together. That threesome is so funny watch! Their personalities go perfectly together and they are such a fun group. Watching them laugh reminded me of our time together in Italy a few years ago. They were hysterical! I think there is a picture on my slide show with a street vendor in Florence. They bought matching sunglasses and got Peter to dance and pretend he was a street performer! He actually had a crowd around him! How cool is it when you would choose your family as friends?

The kids played endlessly in the sand. They built little villages of sand castles and big walls around to protect them from the waves that kept getting closer.

Jessica decided she needed her own space so, Jason and Jessica dug a hole big enough for Jessica to fit inside! It was like her own little fort.

My dad played in the surf with Emily. It was so cute to watch them. They would walk toward the waves saying, "Nah, na, na , na , nah! You can't get me!" and then turn and run away as the waves raced after them.

Later, he took a walk down the beach with Jessica to look for shells. He is such a good Grandpa!

Maddy and Lauren- How cute are they?!

We got a call from Danale and Justin saying they were going to Monterey and wanted to know if we wanted to meet them there for dinner. We told them we were at the beach not far from there! What a fun coincidence! On our way home we met them for dinner. It was so nice to see them! We were really glad it worked out.

Monterey Bay Aquarium

My sister, Janelle, and her family were in town this last week. It was so much fun to have them around! My sweet little Lauren cried her eyes out when it was time for her cousin Maddy to leave.

On Friday, we piled everyone in the car and headed to Monterey. The kids were actually very good in the car!

We stopped and got some lunch and headed into the Monterey Bay Aquarium with my parents and both of my sisters and their families. The kids loved the aquarium! They could have spent all day at the Bat Ray Exhibit! I think most of them were able to touch one.

I was so impressed with my kids. They were so good. It was nice to see them be so sweet to each other. Austin was especially good with Lauren. A few times he asked if he could walk a few feet away to another exhibit. We said okay as long as long as they stayed together and we could see them. Austin would hold Lauren's hand or put his arm around her to make sure they didn't get separated. It was really sweet.

Lauren and Jessica
Lauren, Me, and Ashlyn
Austin Jason and Ashlyn
Being at the Aquarium brings back some really fun memories for me. It was where Jason took me on one of our first dates. I don't remember it being so crowded! I suppose if it was, we wouldn't have noticed anyway! It is a totally different experience being there with kids! There is a different kind of energy. I had such a good time watching the kids with all of their excitement

Monday, July 21, 2008

Sounds In The Night

How much of a chicken am I? I always thought of myself as a strong person, but this next little story was a reminder to me that I am just a big chicken!

First, a little side note. We live in a fairly nice neighborhood. A few months ago, we noticed a guy that just kind of stood out. He was a black man that looked like he was stuck in the 80's. He was always wearing the same thing- 80's style Levi's, a white tank top and white shoes that were probably Reebok or something- and riding around on a 10 speed bike. We started seeing him around our immediate area on his bike and more and more in our neighborhood. We figured out that lives in a very nice two story across the street and a few houses down. Hm. Okay. Sometimes we would see him just standing on his front porch. I would wave or nod hello on my way to the mail box. I never saw any cars or anyone else...

About 2 weeks ago, we noticed another person that stood out. He was a white man, probably in his late 30's or early 40's. He appears to be a little mentally off and walks all the time. It seems like every time I leave the neighborhood, I see him walking around the block. So, I watched him out of my window one day and noticed that he went to the same house where the black man lives. What strange roommates!

Jason and I started talking and began to worry that they were running a half way house or something out of there! It has made me just a little bit more nervous about my girls playing out front or leaving for the weekend. Maybe I am just being silly, but I figure, better safe than sorry.

Ok, so back to my story. Jason went out of town last weekend and I was home alone with the kids. Around 1am I heard a loud noise that sounded like it came from my garage! I jumped out of bed and went to grab the gun and it wasn't in its usual place. (Any time Jason is out of town, I never go investigate without a gun.) I called Jason and he had moved it. He stayed on the phone with me while I went to check out my mystery noise. I made it to the garage in true James Bond form. I flipped on the light and saw the bins I had stacked up on top of a filing cabinet had tipped over. Earlier in the day, I unloaded the RV. It was so hot that I didn't take much time to put things in the right order. I had put one of the heavy, full bins on top and a half empty bin on the bottom.

Relieved, I checked to make sure all the doors were locked and went back upstairs. I checked on the kids like I always do before I get in bed. I pulled the blanket that had been kicked off back over Ashlyn and went to Austin's room to turn off the light that had been turned on. Jessica and Lauren had decided to sleep on one of his beds and he was in the other. This summer, we have been so relaxed about bed time and where everyone sleeps. They were sound asleep. I turned off the light and went back to bed. As I passed the baby gate at the top of the stairs, I decided to lock it. I kind of laughed to myself and thought I was being a little silly thinking a baby gate would make me feel any safer, but I locked it anyway.

When I got back in bed, I chatted with Jason for a few minutes and then tried to go to sleep. My mind started wandering. What would I do if someone came into our house? How could I protect all of the kids? What would I do? Scenarios started playing out like a nightmare! I reminded myself that I live in a very safe neighborhood. But what about those guys that live down the street? I'm sure they are harmless. Did they see Jason leave? All the sudden the thoughts stopped and I sat straight up! It sounded like someone was walking around upstairs! I grabbed the gun and snuck out of my room into the hall. I started walking toward the window in the loft to look outside. I was almost to the girls room when I heard a very loud noise! It was like a thump on the wall! I thought someone must have heard me coming and hid! I peaked in the room but didn't see anyone.

I quickly went to my room and called my dad. He said he would come right over. (It's almost 3am by now)I called Jason and waited. I looked out the window from my closet and saw a car parked a few houses down with someone inside on a cell phone. Of course my mind went crazy! Then, all of the sudden, the car pulled out drove in front of our house and turned around and left the neighborhood!

My dad pulled up and I went downstairs to let him in. We went upstairs together to check out the girls room. We turned on the light and went in to check it out. I couldn't believe what I saw. On the top bunk, rolled over right next to the wall where it is almost impossible for my vertically challenged self to see, was Jessica!

So, yeah, I felt a little silly. Of course I heard noises in the night. My darling 9 year old woke up sharing a twin bed with her little sister and just wanted to get in her own bed. Why didn't I think of that?

Sunday, July 20, 2008

I Sew! (Kind of)

Jason went out of town last weekend with "The Boys" to the Celebrity Golf Tournament in Lake Tahoe. They had a blast and I thought it would be a perfect time to start a new project!

I took my sister and my mom with me to find some fabric. I haven't sewn anything since Lauren was a baby- she's 6 now! I told Jen what I had in mind and told me what I needed to do. She said she could even help me since her husband was also gone on the boys trip!

She brought over her sewing machine and I went out to the garage to get mine. It was nowhere to be found! It has been so long since I used it, I may have possibly donated it in one of my purge modes. (If I haven't used it in a year, how much do I really need it?) So, we took turns cutting and sewing for about a couple of hours, but we had 8 kids running around! Around midnight we called it a night!

I really wanted to have them done by the time Jason got back, but Saturday still has it's usual chores that need to get done. I worked around the house, took a break to post "The Interview", and then decided I had better get to work on my curtains if I wanted to finish! I got out my fabric and was trying to measure where I needed to make my next cut, when Ashlyn decided that fabric was really fun! I couldn't keep her off of it! She wanted to sit on it, grab it and wave it around in the air, taste it, lay down on it and play peek a boo with it! I realized it would have to wait until she went to bed.

I called a babysitter and went out to buy curtain rods. Holy Cow! That costs a small fortune! I needed a double rod just longer than 14 1/2 just for my family room! I bought fabric for my kitchen too! I think I went to 5 different places just to see if there was any other options. My mom called and I told her my woes and she said I should just go to Home Depot and buy some stuff to mount the valance to the wall. By now I was tired and my brain was full of rods- colors, styles, length, prices, double rods, single rods, add a rod, extenders...
Mount it to the wall with L brackets and wood?... My brain was too full. She said she would go with me on Monday. I have been so tired lately, so I called it a day.

I finished up my sewing for my living room curtains, but not without a few phone calls. "Tell me again how to wind the bobbin?"
My mom went with me to buy the materials to mount my valance and I bought a rod for my panels. Jason helped me get the curtains up that night. I wasn't sure if I like them at first. I couldn't put my finger on what I wasn't sure about. Maybe it was just after midnight again and my brain seems to go to mush. But, the next morning when I came downstairs I really liked the way they warmed up the room and made it look more finished.
Now for the kitchen...

Saturday, July 12, 2008


I saw this cute little interview on my little sister's blog and though it was so cute! My kids are a bit older, but it made me curious what they thought, so I decided to do it. I emailed Jessica the questions. She answered them and sent it back. I was checking my email just outside of Austin's room and decided to just ask him the questions while he was playing. He had his cousins sleep over last night and my nephew Garret thought some of the questions were pretty funny. He would get the cutest grin on his face and start jumping around, "I know! I know! Can I answer?" I went ahead and included his comments, cause it was kind of cute.

Jen, if you are reading this, you have to do this with your kids! Drew came and sat down by me and wanted me to ask him all the questions after he heard me asking Lauren. We have to get our chores done before it is too hot outside, so I don't have time right now. (I still haven't finished unloading the RV and I'm sure my neighbors don't love me right now.) I told them I will ask them after we do chores and if I have a minute before I run get more fabric for the curtains. I thought about just interviewing them for you, but I'm really curious what they think of me!! Besides, it will give you a fun start for your blog!

Here it is:

1. What is something mom always says to you?
Austin- I love you
Jessica- I love you
Lauren- I love you

2. What makes mom happy?
Austin- Massages
Jessica- When we obey
Lauren- Making sure Bun is okay when you are busy
Me- Lots of things! When I can spend time with my family.

3. What makes mom sad?
Austin- I don't know...
Garret - I know! I know!
Austin- What?
Garrett- When the house is all messy!
Austin- Oh yeah, when the house is messy.
Jessica- When we disobey
Lauren- When I am being bad
Me- When my kids argue. I'm also really sensitive to any violence or even seeing someone get hurt on the news. It makes me so sad and makes me sick in my stomach.

4. How does mom make you laugh?
Austin- When you ask funny questions
Jessica- When she makes funny noises
Lauren- Be funny

5. What was mom like as a child?
Austin- I think you were friendly
Jessica- She always fought with her older sister
Lauren- A nice person that has a lot of friends
Me- I did not always fight with my older sister! I hated to wear anything that had to be ironed. My regular outfit of choice was jeans and a t-shirt. My sister always tried to help me look cute! I lived out in the country for most of my childhood. I rode horses, caught crawdads in the ditch and rode 3 wheelers, but my nails were always painted!

6. How old is your mom?
Austin- 30
Jessica- 32
Lauren- 30
Me- I am 30

7. How tall is your mom?
Austin- 5' 6"
Jessica- 4’9”
Lauren- 48 inches
Me- 5' 3"

8. What is her favorite thing to do?
Austin- Rest in bed
Garrett, "Play with your family and spend time"
Jessica- Shop
Lauren- scrapbooking
Me- Travel to someplace new

9. What does your mom do when you're not around?
Austin- Clean the house
Jessica- Clean the house until it is spotless
Lauren- Go to the store and buy stuff
Me- Clean, shop, go to the gym, hang out with my friends

10. If your mom becomes famous, what will it be for?
Austin- Scrapbooking
Jessica- World’s Best With Babies
Lauren- Being a good mom

11. What is your mom really good at?
Austin- Being a mom
Jessica- Cooking… actually caring
Lauren- Taking care of Bun

12. What is your mom not very good at?
Austin- That's a hard one...
Garrett- " I know! I know! Not finding us when we are snooping around in the kitchen!"
Austin- (laughs) Yeah, umm.. sports, well, contact sports.
Jessica- um.. probably football
Lauren- Being a clown
Me- I can't believe sports came up twice! I guess I will have to show them! :-)

13. What does your mom do for her job?
Austin- CPR Instructor
Jessica- Teaches people how to save lives
Lauren- Teaching people how to save lives
Me- I do teach Basic Life Support to Healthcare Providers

14. What is your mom's favorite food?
Austin- Lasagna
Jessica- Jimmy Johns
Lauren- Lasagna
Me- Warm brownies with vanilla ice cream

15. What makes you proud of your mom?
Austin- That you are awesome!
Jessica- How considerate she is for her children
Lauren- Being a good mom- being the BEST mom!

16. If your mom were a cartoon character, who would she be?
Austin- Bugs bunny
Jessica- I’ll have to say Minnie
Lauren- Snow White
Me- Wonder Woman! :-)

17. What do you and your mom do together?
Austin- Swim
Jessica- Hang out and Chat
Lauren- Go shopping

18. How are you and your mom the same?
Austin- We both have a very good sense of humor
Jessica- We both have the same mark
Lauren- We are both girls and we both like to go shopping

19. How are you and your mom different?
Austin- You like scrapbooking
Jessica- My mom likes to shop for clothes, although I like to shop for toys
Lauren- You are older than me. You are a mom and you got married

20. How do you know your mom loves you?
Austin- Because you buy me stuff
Jessica- Because she is so loving and caring for me
Lauren- Because you take me to places that I really like

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Whiskeytown Lake

I love Whiskeytown! I can't say it enough! We just got back from camping there for 5 days. Driving through the mountains, going up and just as the road turns a little, the sight of the lake breaks through and it just feels like I am coming home. I love sitting up at camp, looking down through the trees to the sparkling lake... It is just perfect. It is home. It is family. It is tradition. It is just a part of me now.

This year there were fires near by. The sky wasn't blue very often and the lake didn't really sparkle, but it was still Whiskeytown. Most of my favorite relatives were there with their different personalities that make them so fun. I really like my family. I really do. I'm so glad that we have this tradition. I feel so close to my aunts and uncles and cousins and of course my grandparents. I love it that I would really like these people even if I wasn't related to them! I hope that it is a tradition that I can always maintain and my kids will continue the bond that they have with their relatives.
Grandpa Huntington

This year, Stephen and Skyler were able to meet us up there on Thursday.
Danale and Justin came on the last night with their little baby Colton. It was nice to have Jason's family there with us. I feel a little mushy and I'm sorry if I am cheesy but I really love them too. The more time we spend together the more it grows. It was so fun to see the babies together! Colton is growing so fast!


Jen: We saw a bear by the gate yesterday!
Jason: Really?! How big was it?

Jen: It was like a youth!

Jason: Would you say more like a Deacon or a Priest?

The next day, Jason was walking to the RV and saw the bear walking down the road! He came back and got everyone so we could all see it. For the next half hour, we we watched the bear, took some pictures and then realized that this bear wasn't afraid of us. We tried to scar him off with rocks but he just ran up on the mountain behind our RV. He was really cute but I didn't want to go to the RV by myself at night!

Later that evening, I was walking toward our tent on almost stepped on this little snake! I showed my sister, Jen. I think she took a picture to show my mom, just to make sure it was a safe little thing. My mom always seems to know everything about anything that has to do with the great outdoors! She said it was safe and by the next morning at breakfast, the little snake was back. The kids had a good time taking turns holding it.

Here is Austin putting the snake on Wesley's arm and Chris waiting for his turn.

The kids all seemed so grown up this year! Jessica took out the kayak and was really good at it! Lauren and Sequoia, who are both only 6, took out the canoe! We made them stay close in our little cove.
Danale and Tara taking a turn in the kayak
Ashlyn loved playing in the lake! She just couldn't get enough of it! We finally blew up a little swimming pool for her so we could sit on the shore with her!
Jason and Ashlyn
Skyler was pretty funny too. From the moment he would wake up in the morning, he would start asking if it was time to go swimming. He would stay down by the water until dinner time!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

LA Film Festival

We went to the Film Festival in LA last weekend and had a blast! We went with Jen and Jeff (my sister and brother in law). One of Jeff's best friends from college had a documentary made about him looking for buried treasure hidden by World War 2 veterans right after the war. The documentary made it into the LA Film Festival and actually ended up winning 1st place!

The movie is called "Loot". It hasn't been picked up by a production company, but I am sure it will. When it does, I highly recommend seeing it! It is the best movie I have seen all year! It takes you such a range of emotions and really makes you think. We couldn't stop talking about it all weekend! We went to the Friday night showing, but it had been shown a few times earlier in the week. By Friday, people around town were recognizing Lance, Jeff's friend, and stopping him to ask questions about the film. It was pretty funny.

After the film, we sat outside talking with the director, Darius Marder, and Lance and a few other people for over an hour. It was so cool to be able to get inside the head of the director! Very cool people! I felt like we were in college again when we all piled into the same car to get something to eat! A couple at the restaurant recognized Lance and came over to talk to him. At first I thought they must know him, but then I realized these were just people who saw his movie. They said they were just talking about it when they saw him and they had to come ask him about it. We talked to them for about 45 min! It is just that kind of movie where you want all of your friends to see it because you want to be able to talk to them about it.

We got to our hotel around 3am! I don't remember the last time I was out that late! We slept in the next morning until 10am! How cool is that? We went to Santa Monica and had lunch at The Ivy. It was a great place to people watch, but we didn't see any celebrities. We wandered down the Pier and then headed home. It was a great weekend!