Today is a good place to be.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Wendy is Here!

Thursday evening we went out to airport to pick up our Wendy! There was a play area for the kids for the few moments before she arrived. The kids LOVED seeing the planes and helicopters and other really cool things you only get to see at an airport. We had a sign and got there just in time to see her walk out of the gate. The chidlren were excited, Jeremy and I were excited. Wendy was very tired, but seemed quite happy she was with us. Here are some pictures:

(Wendy is not the big guy. or the tall guy-- she is the cute one who is looking for friendly faces)

Haircuts, tears, and lots of playing

On Thursday, before Wendy arrived, I took the kids to get their hair cut-- Nathan's was very long, and Leila's bangs kept getting in her eyes.

So, we went to Kids Castle Cuts. I took Nathan there for his second cut last year about this time. The hairdresser was great with him and we got him groomed. The place is so cute that I knew I would have to take Leila there at least once. They get to choose their seat: A race car, a jet plane, a pink jeep, a carousel horse... and half of the interior is devoted to toys and games the kids get to play on before or after for both. Its expensive for kids cuts, but worth it for Nathan, whose first experience getting his hair cut at the barber of my dad and father-in-law, was a bit traumatic. He hates getting his hair cut, and Thursday marked the third in his life. He hates washing his hair, he hates getting his hair wet. Maybe his has a Sampson Syndrome and doesn't think he will be the same if his hair is messed up? Who knows how that little wonderful mind works.

Leila LOVED everything about this place, down to the gold sparkles they sprayed in her hair at the end. She is not happy with the length- she wishes she could have her hair down to her waist... but for summer we need it shorter- right? Plus, she doesn't often let me put it up, so I see no reason to keep it long.

They look cute:

Monday, June 23, 2008

Daddy Daughter Campout!

On June 13th, Jeremy and Leila joined a bunch of other Daddies and Daugthers in our ward for some good old camping. Leila was soooo excited to have some special time alone with her Dad. This is a wonderful tradition we did in my family growing up- my parents would make sure once a month one of us girls was singled out for special time with either Mom or Dad. Good memories- and it makes me happy to think Leila will have some precious memories like mine. Because life is so crazy, Jeremy didn't get the van packed up, including the bike for Leila, so I did it on Friday Morning. Wow- this is a lot of work for one night of camping!

They went to Willamette Mission State Park, and thier group rented one of the big group sites. They set up the tent. They went on a bike ride. They had had hot dogs for dinner. They had some smores. They baked some breadsticks on a stick(we had never heard of this before, but both Jeremy and Leila really liked it). They went to bed LATE. They went on several more bike rides- Jeremy's legs were tired from all of the walking behind his little biker girl Leila. They went on a Ferry across the river. They threw rocks in the water. Leila waded in the water with her friends. To sum it up, they came home tired and dirty and had a lot of fun. Isn't that the way camping should be?

Nathan and I went to "Out of this world Pizza" which was just too much fun. We met up wtih a few friends: Tonya and Eli, and Melia, and had a slice of pizza, yummy spinach salad, and a handmade scoop of ice cream. We had fun chatting and watching our boys play. They boys really liked the space age schooter things. Nathan also braved his way on the "Zero Gravity" bounce house. Tonya and Melia went down the 4 story slides a few more times than once. And then Meila came over to hang out and watch a movie. Fun for everyone.

Nathan missed Leila while she was gone. And Leila recorded a special message for Mommy while out in the wilderness:

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Sweet Gabe

Gabe is a special boy. He just turned 8! He is adorable, spirited and very smart. Right now he loves Lego's, but his original passion in life, CARS, is still up there, as you can tell at his house where at any given moment in any given room you can spot at least a dozen matchbox cars hanging around. He loves video games and at a very early age was able to play some games I could never get the hang of! Gabe is a great reader. When he was younger he and I would read together and I only needed to tell him what the word was once and he always remembered it.

Gabe was born on a sunny June day. My mom was assisting my sister, my husband was gone for the weekend(maybe at his parents house for fishing, I can't remember), so I hung out with my Dad that day. We had gone to the funeral of my friend that morning, then we stopped into the hospital. It was Fathers Day weekend, so I took Dad out to lunch. We had a grand time that day, stopped in the hospital a few more times before Gabe came, and I hung out with Dad at home until we got that call that a new Angel was born to our family. What a happy day. Gabe was tiny. He slept so sweetly. I loved holding him and I loved that Beth let me pop in so much. I stopped in the next day too. What a blessing a healthy baby and a safe delivery is.

Jeremy called him baby bocoo for his infant years. I am not exactly sure how he came up with it, but he did and it was fun to watch Jeremy hold such a tiny little baby- I think Gabe was the first baby he ever held and was able to watch grow up from such a young age.

Gabe is such an amazing boy. His mom is single, and is trying her very best to raise him right. Sadly his dad isn't around, and I feel very sorry for his dad to miss out on this wonderful boy. Gabe has a very strong relationship with his Grandma and Grandpa Frederick, and the love of his entire extended family. What a precious boy.

Here are so fun pictures of him over the years:

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Relay For Life- 25 Days to GO!

Update on Team Barrel of Monkeys:

Well, we aren't doing so good. We have only raised $105 so far.

The deal with having a family team is I do most of the work, and I am OK with that. I don't want to annoy or pressure my family to get out there and raise money. I sincerely appreciate the efforts they put in, and LOVE that they are with me during the event. I am sad if they have to miss it(we will miss Jacob and Richard this year). They have done this with me the past three years and the first year we all got quite involved, but I think it isn't as exciting as it was that first year. Teams that are put together at work, or thru other community groups tend to have a lot of fun and be very successful because they get new blood, new ideas, they all have families and other networks to hit up- Pluse this is a fun time for them to spend good time outside of their usual commitments to be together.

But I am determined to raise some good money and will be sending out some letters this week to ask for donations. Sending out letters is a good way to not directly ask for money, and not be rejected to you face. I will also ask on my blog for donations. You never have to admit to reading this entry if you don't want to donate- I will never ask you about it. If you do donate however, I will be very excited and very grateful.

If you donate and want a luminaria in the memory or honor of someone, please let me know and I will make sure they are with us on the track at 10 PM. I also want as many of you to attend this event if possible. Its a lot of fun, there will be constant entertainment, and you will be part of an amazing community with one goal in mind: Fight and Conquer Cancer! I believe we will find a cure in my lifetime, and that will be a wonderful day. It will be an honor to say I helped play a part in finding that cure.

Here is the link to my team- Donate! I Dare You!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Fun Summer Days

So what to do on a summer day?(This was written yesterday...) It was gorgeous today. I would be happy to live in place that is always around 75 degrees. I would allow for a few wet weeks so we can enjoy the green almost all year long- but today was heaven for me.

The kids got up with the sun, which wasn't so great for me, since I went to bed hours after they did.
First item on the agenda: we went to LA Fitness for my Aqua-fit class and to let the kids play in the play place. The kids fussed a bit when I came to pick them up(They wanted to keep playing in the kids club). I decided if I would work out this week every day- either at the gym or my yoga DVD I would treat myself to a new work-out outfit this weekend.
Then Leila decided she wanted to do "school". I asked her what the letter of the day was, and she said she mostly wanted to just do a craft. So, I supervised while the kids cut out face parts, used the markers(not allowed to use out of sight because of messes they have made in the past), and glued the various parts on the paper bag. I will post pictures once I remember to bring my camera upstairs. We played with our sesame street flashcards for shapes and colors and opposites, and the letters of the alphabet. I was a bit surprised at how much they knew. They had snack(close enough to lunchtime that I counted it as lunch), and Leila said it was time for recess in the backyard when they kids played in the sand table. Leila wants to do preschool everyday.. I need to get prepared.
Then we walked up to Plaid Pantry, With Nathan grumbleing the entire way that we should take the van. We saw Trudy Mecham on our walk, and we saw a cement mixer in action. Nathan didn't grumble during those two highlights. Well, Plaid Pantry does not carry slurpees or iccees much to our dismay, so we walked back home, picked a few daisies and put them in water.
Then we headed out to 7-11. The kids got wild cherry(Leila) and strawberry(Nathan). I am able to withstand a slurpee-- if we had gone to Dairy Queen however I would not have been able to pass up any icecream.
Then we stopped at a park for some fun playing.
We headed home and the kids passed out. I don't like it when they sleep during the day because it makes bedtime difficult. But the quiet was just too welcome to me. I read my book we are reviewing in our book club tommorrow(Incidents In The Life of a Slave Girl by Harriet Jacobs. I am still not halfway thru it--eek!) and snuck in a tiny nap myself.
Then I cooked my enchilada casserole and made some chips out of tortillas in the oven.
When Jeremy got home we all ate together.
The kids were back outside for some more fun while we cleaned up a bit.
Then we headed out for a bike ride-hoping to get them good and worn out so bedtime won't be sooooo challenging tonight. Stopped at the school to play on the equipment- I made them each take a walk around the track. Leila turned into Milo the Crow.
Back at home after in jammies the kids read with Daddy. I sung to each of them twice. Nathan finally passed out around 9, Leila passed out about a quarter after 10, but she played nicely in her room- when she gets up a lot it drives me nuts(Bedtime troubles make me very frustrated).
Now, its my turn.

What a fun Summer Day!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Birthday to Mar!

Happy Birthday Big Sis!

Marella is 6 years my senior. She was old enough when I was born to remember my infancy! Wow! Her Birthday often falls on Father's day, like it does this year, and I am sure when she was born that was the best Fathers Day gift a first time dad can have. Happy Birthday on June 15th.

Marella is a very fun and free spirit with her feet firmly planted on the ground. She sings and laughs. When Mar is around, there tends to be an excitment and sort of electricity in the air. She makes up her own songs ("I eat my pop-tarts raw"- only my sisters will know this tune she came up with on one of our wonderful Frederick Family Vacay's in the car!). She likes to talk and discuss. She loves to read. She gives good advice. She is everything feminine- she tells the girls how they need to act if they want to be girly. She is hip on all the current trends and lingo. She has endured loss, but has risen each time and kept going knowing and believing good things will come despite her trials. She finally had her dream come true and had her baby Conrad last November after years of trying to get him here. She has a beautiful Daughter, Britlee, who just shouldn't be 15 yet-- that makes me old. Marella is lucky(remember the trip to casino years ago? She chanced her gas money on a $5 slot and won $50!). She is strong. She is wise. She is FUN! Glad I get to be your sis, sis!

The photos show Marella joining in the fun with the kids- not an unusual sight around our place.

Here is a picture of her husband loving on Conrad, Conrad and Mar at Christmas, the Marella and her baby girl- who is a young woman now! I love you Mar- you and your sweet family.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

What is this about Wendy?

Wendy is coming very soon to stay with us for the summer!!

So, here is the story: When I was 17 I lived in Brussels, Belgium for a year as an exchange student. The family I stayed with had a housekeeper named Carine. She cooked and did laundry and watched the children until about 5:00 every night. Carine was my true friend. She did not speak english, so she is the one person who really forced me to use my French. And I wanted to talk to her. She was like a big sister. I confided with her many of my problems. She understood the challenges I was facing. She understood how lonely I felt. She had a daughter who was about 3 years old, and she came to work with Carine, went to school with my host brother and sisters and myself(it was a private catholic school pre-K thru the last year of school). Carine and Wendy were really an extension of my family in Belgium.

Well, now Wendy is 17(Boy, do I feel old!!!). She wants an adventure of her own. Carine thought to use an exchange program, but then decided she would like it if she could send her only daughter to someone she knew. One of my host sisters, Jennifer, lived the previous year in St. Louis as an exchange student and was able to visit us for several days last June. We all enjoyed having her here so much. In fact, Jeremy and I were saying how much fun it would be to have another host sister come to our place again. And within a week of our conversation I heard from Carine asking us if we would be willing to have Wendy in our home, and we were!

I have a few pictures, but for some reason am unable to get them on here.... if I can figure it out, I will post them. But for now, we are VERY EXCITED WENDY IS COMING!!! Yahoo! We have all sorts of activities planned- if you have any suggestions, feel free to let me know!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Free Thought - QOTD 6/9/08

"A tremendous stream is flowing toward the ocean, carrying us all along with it; and though like straws and scraps of paper we may at times float aimlessly about, in the long run we are sure to join the Ocean of Life and Bliss." - Swami Vivekananda (QOTD 6/9/08)

Constant movement, constant change.

The water behind me churns and renews with every incoming wave.

This precious spot where earth meets water, today is were I find myself.

The water bathes my feet.

The sun warms my hair, neck, shoulders.

The wind caresses my cheek, arms, legs.

My heart is open and my mind is quiet.

How can beauty exist every day, whether or not I see it?

How does this rich vision and quiet reach my innermost soul?

How can I take this feeling and save it for the days when chaos fills my every moment?

I am very nervous posting this(very shy with my writing)-- I wrote it in the morning(6/9/08) after I read the QOTD in my writers forum when I first woke, and didn't post it here until now. Life just keeps going, doesn't it? Constantly moving and changing whether or not we think we are aware. Are we powerless to change our course? Can we try to sit back and enjoy the ride?

This quote made me think of my last visit to the coast. I always feel closer to myself at the beach. When I am stressed and upset, when I try to calm myself I try to picture myself standing at the point where earth meets water while the sun quietly bathes me, the ocean is so cold it almost hurts, but I feel good when I am there. I feel alive. I feel myself.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Sounds of Music....

Leila has been taking music classes for well over a year now. She sings all of the time. She sings for everything, and really loves to make up her own songs. One day when her singing was just too much for Jeremy and I to handle I told her how good the acoustics were in our powder room and she needed to go in there and shut the door and watch herself sing. It worked, she sang her heart out and we had a break.

The beginning of this year Nathan was finally old enough to join in. Funny little thing he is: He would go sit with her while they were singing at her performances before he was part of the class, but at his first performance he was having nothing to do with it. He enjoyed class, but chose to become a "music school dropout" his last two weeks of class. He missed out. But he showed up for his second performance, he actually sat with the class for the last two songs.

Leila and Nathan are both wonderful singers. I love to sing, but am very shy about it. In fact it wasn't until after Leila was born I joined my church choir. I did sing as a child. At church they focus on songs(the spirit lives in music) and have us sing as children and as teenageers. In grade school I had a wonderful music teacher who kept telling me how wonderful my voice was. He talked me into trying out for Honors Choir in the 6th grade, and I made it as an alto. I was thrilled. Alto parts are so fun to sing, but unfortunately I am not talented enough to pick the parts out, I must sit next to someone who is stronger than me. My mom always sang Alto and I enjoy those parts because it makes me think of her. Anyway, back to my music teacher, whose name escapes me, he was a very strong influence in my life. I sincerely believe it is because of him I have the confidence to sing today(although I still quite shy with it). I wish I knew how to tell him that. I think teachers always hope to leave a lasting impression on children, but rarely do they ever find out if they really did. So, thank you music teacher for instilling the desire and confidence in me to keep teaching. Someday I will remember your name and find you to thank you.

How did a post about the children become all about me? Hmmm... is that a problem of mine?
Anyway, Friday was their performance and Stephanie has really done wonders for my children. I am thankful there are people out there with talents that are much greater than mine and choose to share them with my children. Thank you Stephanie.

Before class with BFF Elizabeth(Both of my kids adore her)

Singing Rock-a-bye Baby

With Stephanie and baby Sagie(Sage). This year they sange Folk songs,which was fun because I knew most of them. Leila's favorite was defiantely "Puff the Magic Dragon". Nate liked "If I had a hammer" I am sure it was for the song, not the inflatable hammers they were able to use during the song.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Tagged- EEEK!

I saw Tonya's blog when she was tagged-- had to take photos of her life. I was soooo grateful when she didn't tag me. Well, thanks Julie. Here we go:

1. Favorite Vacation:

We don't do many vacations- just day or weekend trips. But my favorite with the four of us has to be our Sunriver trip we took back in 2006. The kids were really little, but we were able to be quite active- gave us hope that one day our lives will be able to be sporty and fun again. On this trip we went walking, hiking, biking, swimming, and lots of playing. We had deer in the front and back yard. And of course the hot tub(after the kids were asleep). The best part of this vacation was we started it with 3 days with Grandma and Grandpa Conser, and ended it with 3 days with Grandma and Grandpa Frederick, while still having several days to ourselves.

My favorite with Jeremy and I is either the cruise or the weekend at the Sandlake Country Inn. I don't have digital of the cruise. And I plan on talking about Sandlake Country Inn(from the coast) in a separate blog.

2. My laundry pile

Well, this is what needs to be folded from yesterday. Last week I got caught up on all my laundry to fold, PLUS my little pile of clothes in the corner that I don't ever seem to get put away. I am proud to admit our laundry baskets of dirty clothes are actually up to date. Yahoo. Do you like my green dryer? I got it for free when my Grandma passed away. It drys so hot I can get my towels done very quickly. I think it might be a hazard(I don't leave home with it running), and its probably not very efficient, but its hot.

3. My fridge

Wow, I just cleaned it last week, with help of Lovely Leila. It was getting pretty bad, and we had very little food in it when I cleaned it, so it went really fast(I went shopping later that day).

4. Closet

Its very jammed packed since I just put all those clothes away. Its a walk-in, but you can't tell by this photo. I really need a bigger one, or get Jeremy's stuff out of it somehow....

5. Toilet

Eeeek--- there is a bit of a ring.

6. Kitchen Sink

Not too bad. I actually put all the dishes in the dishwasher after dinner last night. I am good at loading the DW, but if the dishes are inside that are clean, I have a harder time keeping up on it. I hate unloading with a passion. Not sure why....

7. Favorite Room

Our living room WHEN it is clean(my least favorite when its trashed). We just did a makeover on it last summer when Jeremy got his new TV. I like it and haven't wanted to change it yet.

8. Favorite Shoes

I love these sandals. They have a small heel so I don't feel like a giant around my friends, but I still feel grown up. One of the heels is getting loose, so I know I am on borrowed time. I wore these thruout both pregnancies because they made me feel so sexy. And always have my toes polished. I pick a color and use it all summer. By September I probably have about 20 coats on.

9. What the kids are doing right now

Eating of course. Its before church and I am trying to fill up their ever needing to be fed bellies. Leila dressed already, Nathan in his jammas.

10. Self Portrait

Ugh. This is all you get(notice all my cute kids in the background).

Who do I want to tag? My sister Amy, my best bud Amy W, I would love to see Tami and Heidi's day, I think Christy was tagged by Julie, so I will tag Rachel- lets see if she is reading my blog yet!