Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Christmas Card

This is a semi long story, so move on to the next blog now if you don't want to hear why you didn't receive a hard copy of our Christmas card in your mail box and why the picture on this post is teeny-tiny.

Back in November, Brandon's family arranged for family pictures as a gift for his grandpa. I figured, if I'm going to the trouble of dressing my kids up and what not, I would really like to get a family picture out of it and maybe, just maybe, even have a picture to use for a Christmas card for the first time in like 3 years...

I took my own camera, cuz I don't go many places without it, and the photographer was NOT happy about it, so I didn't get any pics of our family...not a big deal, maybe I could just buy the negatives for our favorite shot and use that...$50.00. FOR ONE NEGATIVE. Not happening.

She told me I could buy my cards from her for $1.20 a piece...still pricey, but cheaper than $50! And, they could have them made up fast... So, I put in my order on December 12th, got this ^ picture from her to proof on December 14th, emailed her back the same day asking her to add "Wishing you a 'Merry Christmas' and a Happy New Year", didn't hear anything from her for days...finally I sent her an email today asking her what the status was cuz I'm leaving town tomorrow and need to pick up the cards today and to PLEASE call me. She did, and said the cards wouldn't be ready until tomorrow. I told her I wasn't going to buy them then...I'm not paying to send out a card that people aren't going to receive until after Christmas! She was ticked...had a list of excuses and blamed me for not telling her I was going out of town. She proceeded to say, "wow" several times and then hung the phone up on me.

Now that's customer service.

So, to all of you that continue to send us Christmas cards despite our lack of holiday reciprocation, I just want you to know that this year, I tried.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Lookin' back on Jemma

Jemma turns 6 today.

I am in denial.

It really doesn't seem like it's possible for her to be 6 already! Alright, I'll quit with all the sappiness.

Jemma was born the December before I graduated from Dental Hygiene school. I was due with her 1 week after I was scheduled to take my National Board Exam and Heavenly Father blessed the two of us so that she didn't come until after I had taken them...she decided to come, instead, on the following Thursday when I was supposed to give a presentation that could not be made up...so, I was there, having contractions every 7 minutes, giving my presentation on who knows what now...

She was born that evening and was the most beautiful baby girl I had ever seen. (Maybe I'm a little bias.)

Above: Here she is just a few minutes old...cold and unhappy about it.

One day old...just had her first bath, and DID NOT like it.

One year old...boy was she a mischief maker.

Two years old...busy and SO MUCH FUN!

Three years old.

Four years old...dressed up for the Nativity at Christmas time.

Five years old.

November 2011...one month shy of 6.
We sure do love this girl. She brings so much life and energy to our family.

We sure are glad you were sent to our home!


Friday, December 2, 2011


It's 10:00am. I have a "to blog" list a mile long, but it's been a rotten morning and I'm venting here, so don't read on if you don't want to hear me complain. Here are just a few things my kids have managed to fit in during the 2 hours they've been awake.

1. Jemma wet her pants

2. Gavin took scissors to the computer monitor

3. Jemma & Carter didn't clear their breakfast dishes off the table and Gavin dumped their orange juice all over himself and the floor.

4. Carter broke the soup ladle in half (how in the...?)

5. And almost every room in the house is a DISASTER even though I picked it all up before I went to bed last night.

Jemma just informed me that she & Carter have placed themselves on time-out.

Good. Maybe Gavin will go join them.

And now you know why I don't ever get a chance to blog about fun stuff anymore!

ps. I really do love my children.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Monterey: Part 2

Finally...here are a few more pics from our trip down to Monterey. It is such a cool city - possibly my favorite California coastal stop (minus So-Cal that is).
Above: Carter on a sweet bench outside a shop on our walk to/from the Aquarium.

Yo ho, Yo ho, a pirates life for me.

Every flavor of Saltwater Taffy you can imagine. AwEsOmE!

Monterey sunset.

So, we saw SO MANY dolphins and sea lions out in the water from our hotel, but, I am not quick enough with the camera to spot them, position my camera and snap the shot before they've disappeared, so water ripples is pretty much all I got. Lame.

Blow this one up. You can see it a little better. ;)

Me & Gavin on the beach. (It was frigid, by the way.)

Carter running from the waves.

Grandma & Granddad with the kids...running from the waves. I was happy to snap the shots rather than stick my toes in the icy water. Mike & Debbie, you guys are good sports!

Sand dolloar someone found.

After playing on the beach, showering all the kids and dressing them in the only things left that were dry/clean (their pajamas and/or clothes from the day before), we headed over to this amazing park - the Dennis the Mennis Playground - HUGE & FREE! That's what I'm talkin' about. :)

There were tons of play structures, bridges, mazes, slides, etc., but once the kids found this roller slide, we were all hooked. Pretty sure the kids went down it at least 50 times.


Oh ya, there was also this old train there that you could climb all over. The front of it was just like the one on Polar Express...made me wanna go home and watch the movie.

We had a FaBuLoUs time over there in Monterey - it was the perfect getaway during Brandon's week off and we were so glad Brandon's parents could come with us!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Monterey: Part 1

Brandon had 10 days off last week in between his 2nd and 3rd rotation...so, in between studying for his second set of boards and trying to give me a little break from chauffeuring, schooling, etc., we took a little trip over to Monterey with Brandon's parents.

Our first stop was, of coarse, the Aquarium. It. Was. Amazing.

I haven't been in a really long time, but I remember being impressed then, and I was equally impressed this time around. They have such a phenomenal variety and I learned a lot of interesting things about so many of the creatures who rely on our oceans for life.

They had great touch pools - I wish I could remember the names of all the animals they had in those things, but I don't. Sting rays, starfish, crabs...stuff of that nature.
Cool tunnel...I look like I'm falling asleep and none of the kids are looking at the camera...but this is our one family picture from the trip, so there you go.

Kids in a clam shell...obviously not real. ;)

Cute penguin. This guy was actually the oldest penguin they had there. I think they said he was 15? He was a serious people watcher. Cracked me up.

This tank was massive. It was at least 3 or 4 times the width of this picture and even held a couple hammer head sharks. I never did get a decent shot of them, and that's all Carter has talked about since that trip! Darn it.

Grandma helping Gavin color a whale.

Granddad and Carter racing the dolphin and school bus...guess who won. :)

Gavin loved these block shapes that you stick through this wall. I just loved how every time he went to grab a block, his little feet left the ground. Adorable.

So, that is just a snippet of our 4 hours in the aquarium. It was fabulous, and hopefully we make it back there again before we leave Cali next year!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Kristina emailed a couple weeks ago to let me know that they were pickin' up and headin' to Disneyland during Shawn's 10 day break and did we want to join them!?! Oh, how I wish we could have...still wishing (and waiting to see your post about your FABULOUS trip!)

They stopped by on their way down and I think our family thought we'd died and gone to heaven for the afternoon.

We ate pizza, the kids played, the adults chatted, (Brandon & Shawn in their foreign optometry tongue, and the ladies about girl stuff. :) I pawned 3/4 of our Halloween candy off on the Skinner kids, I got some advice on several of my current projects (I've been meaning to tell you, Kristina, that I've noticed multiple things I meant to, but did not get your opinion on...guess I'll have to take pics and send you an email...until you get texting! hint hint ;), and had an all around MARVELOUS 2 hours with them. It almost felt like they lived next door again.

Miss that so much.

Reagan & Gavin.

I don't think I've ever mentioned this on the blog, but Jefferson, Grant & Reagan were like another set of siblings to Gavin. They were always so sweet and kind to him and he LOVES them back!
All the kiddos.
Jemma, Grant, Jefferson, Reagan, Carter & Gavin.

Silly faces.

Our families.

Me & Kristina.

THANK YOU. THANK YOU. THANK YOU for stopping by and taking the time to hang out with our family, even if it was only for a couple hours! We have missed you guys tremendously. Hopefully this visit will tie us over until the next time we see each other...

in six months...

when we come back to Oregon and visit YOU!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Disney on Ice

A little over a month ago, I saw an add in the local newspaper for a deal saver on tickets for Disney on Ice. I was all over it. I was pretty sure the kids would LOVE it. (And let's face it, I'm a big fan of ice skating and Disney too.)

So, Saturday, October 29, we loaded the kids in the van, dropped Gavin off with Pop & Gram (THANKS AGAIN FOR WATCHING HIM FOR 6 HOURS!), and drove up to Sacramento to enjoy the show.

Of course, we hit some crazy traffic due to a semi truck going up in flames on I-5 and missed the first 20 minutes of the show...but aside from that, things went according to plan. :)

We had great seats with a front on view. We borrowed binoculars from my parents and ended up not needing them! It was fabulous.
Duel between Peter Pan & Captain Hook.

Tinker Bell's entrance.

The kids during intermission.

The show was 2 hours long, so the 20 minutes we missed really wasn't that big a deal...had it been an hour show, we would have been really ticked! :)

Jemma, Carter & me.

And the kids with Dad.
The kids were so distracted with all the vendors during intermission that it was almost impossible to get them to look at the camera!

Simba & Nala.

The Seven Dwarfs.

Mickey & Minnie. (Obviously...)

All the Disney princesses with their princes.

I didn't get pictures of these guys, but they also had Alice in Wonderland, The Incredibles (apparently part of the intro to the show that we missed) and Goofy & Donald Duck.

And, unfortunately, my battery died during the finale and I did not do a very good job of getting pictures of any of the lifts...

The kids want to know when we're going again though, so maybe next time. ;)

p.s. If there's a smokin' hot deal in your area to go see Disney on Ice, snag it! You & your kids will LOVE it! :)

Friday, November 4, 2011

Halloween Rundown

We had a crazy couple of weeks prior to Halloween, so I was grateful we were able to still get around to sugar cookies and pumpkin carving. :) Here are some pics of the kids decorating cookies...Gavin didn't actually decorate. He just ate treats. I was NOT in the mood for a disaster/mess, I don't think he minded.

Pumpkin carving...

Nina & Papa gave Carter a Mr. Potato Head set that goes on a pumpkin...cute huh!

Gavin LOVED this. In fact, he was quite a hog of the big spoon we were using to scoop out all the pumpkin guts.

All finished!


This year, the kids decided to go as Star Wars characters...

Carter was Darth Vader.

Jemma was Princess Leah. She said that her character needed a gun, and I wasn't gonna buy one, so she rummaged through the toys in the backyard and found a water gun...I thought that was very creative and a good sign of problem solving skills. :) (There's the home schooling mom.)

And Gavin was Yoda. He HATED his hat...shocker. There is candy drool all over his costume in EVERY picture cuz we were trying to bribe/distract him to keep it on.

I have to give most of the credit on this hat to my mom...without her, I never EVER would have figured out what the tutorial was saying...so THANK YOU MOM for helping me make this little hat a reality. :)

I'm only in this picture cuz I was trying to keep Gavin from ripping his hat off. We, unfortunately never did get a decent shot of just the three of them. :(

Ward Party:

Jemma pumpkin bowling.

Carter fishing.


Since we live so close to so much family, we bagged trick-or-treating in our neighborhood and just drove around to ALL the family.

Nona & Papa's house.

Pop & Gram's.

Granddad & Grandma's.

I am just now realizing that I didn't get a picture of the kids with Nina & Papa at their house! What that!?!

Here's Gavin in their kitchen...

Jemma, Carter & Trey in the toy closet...maybe that's why it didn't happen...the kids be lined it in there before I snapped a shot. (Gotta place blame somewhere.) ;)

All four cousins!

We also went to Aunt Jill, Uncle Jerry & Grandma Jean's...they were our last stop and again, I forgot to take a picture of the kids with them! Lame. It must have been getting late...

The kids had SO much fun this Halloween and are already discussing what they want to dress up as next year...