Saturday, May 31, 2008

Full of grace?!

I have never been considered one of those girls with a lot of coordination, plain and simple. I am pretty much a spaz. I remember as I was growing up I would just bump into things as I walked by. There was one corner on the counter top in our kitchen that I particularly remember smacking with my hip or side more times than I can count! Luckily I have grown out of much of that awkwardness, but I still have my moments. There are those days when suddenly a corner or a chair leg comes and hits me out of nowhere!

Yesterday I was in the kitchen and thought of something I needed to go and grab, so I quickly went off to get it. On my way through the doorway into the living room, I happened to misjudge where the computer chair had been left and I smacked my foot terribly hard on it! Man, was I in pain.

I am pretty certain I broke it because it is killing me. A friend suggested I see a doctor. What will they do, splint it for me? I can tape it to the toe next to it on my own. Plus, I just don't have time for that. So now I am limping around like a gimp, with a rather painful memory that I am in no way graceful in my movements!

Here is a picture of my lovely foot. It is actually a few shades darker than this right now, but in truth it hurts a bit less. Please note the following before viewing:
1. Lily regularly paints my toe nails and I tend to leave it on quite a while before taking it off, so my toes are always crazy painted looking.
2. I have always been aware of my freakishly long toes, so it takes great courage, or perhaps stupidity, to actually post them on the Internet. My feet are not lovely. Perhaps that is why I am not graceful!

Best friends

Duke (our labradoodle) has a new best friend--Evelyn. He knows that hanging out with Evie is the best spot in the house whenever she is in the high chair. Evie also has figured out that when she is tired of the food on her tray, she can drop it on the floor and Duke will gladly accept her meager offerings.

We had french toast for breakfast today, so I cut some up and put it on the high chair tray. Evie ate most of it, but when there were about 6 pieces left, I noticed her leaning over and looking at the dog. Not quite! She was just sharing the rest of her breakfast!

The other night we went to dinner at Chevy's for a fundraiser. We brought some Cheerios and string cheese for Evie to eat. It was cute to watch her as she got full she would look us straight in the face, pick a few pieces up off the table and slyly toss them onto the floor. She thinks she is so clever!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Mayor of the paper city

David's class was going to build a paper city after STAR testing was over. The kids could run for mayor if they wanted. David thought there could be nothing better. He was so excited. He prepared a little speech and practiced it and was set to lead the little paper city to great heights.

He ended up being the only kid out of the 4 who ran for mayor that actually prepared a speech! Apparently he got 17 out of 20 votes. He was rather proud. We all thought it was neat that he was so into it. David has grown a lot in a year. We went from tears and anxiety about public school to home school last year, back to public school this year, and he is just so much more comfortable and outgoing! Hooray for great teachers. We lucked out this year.

Real Men!

How real men greet each other after a long absence!

Just kidding. We had the treat of visiting with a friend from Porterville, Brett, who is in the process of applying to the Highway Patrol. He is in Sacramento for some work so he came over for dinner. In the true spirit of being men, they had to do a bit of wrestling--of course Ez is no match for Brett, but we all thought it was fun!

Evie walks!

We knew it was coming. We prepared as best we could. Finally, it happened. Evie is walking! She took her first steps the day after she turned 10 months. She has been at it now for about 10 days and is getting better each day.

I am working on getting some video up, but every time I try it says there is an error, so stay tuned...

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Beauchamp Look-alike Meter

MyHeritage: Look-alike Meter - Family history - Family photos

Beauchamp Look-alike Meter

MyHeritage: Look-alike Meter - Family tree template - Family search

Beauchamp Look-alike Meter

MyHeritage: Look-alike Meter - Geneology - Family history research

Beauchamp Look-alike Meter

MyHeritage: Look-alike Meter - Family genealogy - Free family tree template

Beauchamp Look-alike Meter

MyHeritage: Look-alike Meter - Roots

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

FINALLY--we are finished! (mostly)

I am proud to say we are at last done with our home improvement projects. It will be so very nice to get our home and yard back to normal.

What we've accomplished since we have moved in nearly 2 years ago:
-Fencing around the pool
-Cement pour widening the driveway and replacing and widening the patio in the back yard
-Cement pour changing the dog run and widening the cement on the side yard
-tearing down brick and changing the fireplace area
-repainting kids rooms, all hallways, the living room, family room, dining room and kitchen
-tearing out the 10+ cypress trees in the back yard
-replacing and staining 2 out of the 3 fences in the back yard
-repair sprinklers in back yard, raise dirt level and lay new sod

I am tired just writing it all! We didn't even buy a fixer-upper kind of house--it was just nice to make it the way we wanted it to be for the family. It has been a long process, but we are really happy with the way things have worked out. The back yard is our new excitement now--it is so much lovelier now and we look forward to being able to walk on the grass in 2 more weeks since it just got replaced last weekend.

We only have one more daunting task--to get everything back in order. The house is pretty good. It is the garage that needs the cleaning now! We bought a shed from Costco about 6 months ago to put in the back yard. Yeah, it is still in the box in the garage. Once we put it together we can finally pull everything out of the garage and into the shed where we want it, and then I can get to cleaning the rest of it up. Until then, I can't wrap my head around that final project!

Now perhaps I can get back into my reading and the sewing projects I have mentally stacking up in my brain. There are other things I want to do with my time other than cleaning projects...


The white trash fence...


A true sign of aging

Forget the grey hair, I have had that for years. Forget the wrinkles, they simply come with time. What always makes me start to feel old is milestones in other people's lives.

When Alexis got baptized, I thought I was getting older. Then David did, and I was older still. Alexis is about to be 10 years old--a whole decade--that will make me feel older!

Yesterday I got a graduation announcement for a young lady that I used to babysit! I babysat Chelsea every day in the summers from the time she was 6 months until about 2 1/2! Now she is heading off to college and I am feeling older than I thought I was...

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The "fruits" of our labor

I spent the day at my friend Holly's house, where four of us mashed and mixed and timed and boiled and poured the day away making strawberry freezer jam. We successfully made 57 pints of strawberry jam while keeping 9 kids fed and entertained! My stash of jam does not look as impressive since my jam is in quart containers and one is already in the refrigerator, but the taste is still outstanding!

It was a fun way to spend the day--seems like so many of the fun things are becoming a lost art! What shall we tackle next? Hmm. I will just contemplate that while I snack on my jam.

Father/Son Campout

The annual Father/Son campout was this past Friday. The most special part of the whole experience is that this was Joe's first year! He has been looking forward to this for weeks, and he just couldn't wait to get David from school on Friday so they could take off.

The boys had fun. David and his buddies played LATE into the night (until about 12:30) with things like capture the flag. Joe was in it to hunt bugs, though I am not sure he ever caught any. They had a blast. Just this morning Joe asked Ez when they could go camping again.

The girls had a fun time at home. Luckily it was a hot weekend, so we went swimming, and then we went out for ice cream at Baskin Robbins.

Not sure what Joe is doing here...

Joe and Jack (note that Joe is nearly 3 and Jack is 5. Joe is a big boy!)

A very tired David going home

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day

I hope all you moms out there had a very nice Mother's Day!

I had a nice day--Ez and and kids made me breakfast--and I truly didn't have to help out that much! I have been getting gifts from the kids all week--pretty much as soon as they bring them home from school--so it has been a nice week of coupon books and little buckets full of Hershey's kisses, plus a bouquet of cut out hands with chores and favors written on them! I have had fun feeling appreciated. Ez gave me a wonderful gift--I get to go to Time Out in Sacramento and have a day to myself in September--any of you ladies planning on attending? I am excited.

I told Ez and the kids that what I would really truly love is to have everyone get ready and decent looking for church in time for us to take a nice family photo. Things like that rarely happen around here--our Easter photos were a disaster because we attempted them after church. Anyway, it was successful (enough)! The photo I like best of everyone of course had Joe picking his nose, but there is another one that is not too bad. I should enlarge the nose picking one simply because it is just so classic to the ways of our life right now!

Well ladies, it is back to the grindstone tomorrow--no more special treatment and being fussed over! It is a great thing we love our kids and we love what we do!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Things this Mommy loves!

Here are a few things that make my life a bit easier!

Is it really a surprise that one of my biggest passions is Costco?! It is convenient and wonderful. You can buy everything at Costco! Plus, it makes the budget work so much better.

If you are searching for that piece of furniture that you will look at and say "Gee, I hope this lasts and we can pass it down to our children when they leave and have children of their own", this is not the store for you.

Ikea is fantastic for a number of other reasons, however. They have great kids furniture--things that will hold up while your kids grow and then you don't feel guilty when it is time to give it away. They have the best kids bowls, plates, cups. They don't last forever, but when you can buy a set of 6 for $1.50, does it really hurt to replace them every other year? Ikea has my very favorite high chair ever, and you can buy it for under $20. It is simple and small. It doesn't eat up your entire kitchen. Plus, it is SO easy to clean--hooray! They also have some really great kitchen items-my favorite being their cheese slicer, but I can't seem to find it there any more. The best part? Ikea has fantastic cinnamon rolls--and you get 6 for $4! What a deal.

My all time favorite cleaner. It works on everything and does a darn good job. It smells nice, and it is non-toxic, so I don't have to worry about cleaning agents and my kids. Let's say that I use it to clean my floor and then Evie comes along and decides to lick my floor--not that she would, but you never know with kids--she'd be okay! The best part? You can buy it in concentrate at Walmart in the automotive department in a 2 liter bottle for only a few dollars and it lasts quite a while!

Now that the weather is warming up, we are hitting the time when kids want Popsicles! If you haven't seen these little inventions, they are great. The dripstik is designed to prevent drippy messes on Popsicles or ice cream cones--one on each side of the holder. They are great and I love them!

p.s. The other thing I love about this photo--Joe's hair! Isn't it crazy? I have decided he is like our little Samson--his hair is his source of power. Of course it is getting a bit too wild. If I cut it, perhaps he won't be so can dream.

We got this water table for Joe for his 1st birthday and I simple love it. A great place for the kids to play when I don't want them to swim, and a great alternative for little miss Evelyn! (isn't she getting so big?!)

Last but certainly not least, the DVR. Where would I be without it? Since I rarely have the option to watch any show at its normally scheduled time, I am so glad I can watch them whenever--plus then I get to skip the commercials!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Twilight excitement

My mom sent me this trailer for the Twilight movie (just click on my blog title to get to it) this morning. Looks good, doesn't it? I am already planning my night out--perhaps with all the book club ladies!

Go to Stephenie Meyer's website--there is some awesome stuff on it right now. There is a link to an MTV clip about the movie that rocks!

Don't you just love getting caught up in the Bella and Edward story? Of course, Breaking Dawn will be arriving at my door August 2nd...

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

My favorite book

It was my turn to host Book Club today. We read one of my favorite books of all time, These is My Words, by Nancy E. Turner. It has ended up being the first in a series of 3 (so far).

Sarah Prine is pretty much the rockin'-est (I know it's not a word)heroine in any story I have read. This is a woman of fierce strength and love and desire to protect all that is important to her. She goes to great lengths to do everything for her family. Want to know the neatest thing? You can email the author and have her set up a phone interview for your book club! Of course there are too many kids at ours to make that possible. I did decide to write her and ask a few questions. Guess what?! She actually wrote me back the next day! Perhaps it was some friend helping her out in that department, but for an author to actually take that kind of time for fans, I am totally impressed.

Nancy Turner's other books

(not part of the series, but I still liked it)

Monday, May 5, 2008

Sorrows of a freecycler

If you haven't been introduced to the world of Freecycling, it is a fantastic thing. It is a yahoo group that you can sign up for in your town, I am assuming most major cities and towns have a group. The idea behind it is this: anything that you no longer want in your home or have no need of and are willing to simply give it away, you post it on your freecycle account and offer it up. You arrange with whoever wants your item when they will come get it and you simply leave it outside your home. No personal contact. It is fabulous. We have been able to get rid of so many things this way without having to go to Goodwill.

Of course then there is seeing all of what other people have to offer, and sometimes you get some pretty cool things. For instance, I got Alexis her really nice barely used rolling back pack for school this year. I got a rather nice wooden 2 drawer filing cabinet. I got Lily a cute little pair of ballet shoes when she was obsessed but I didn't want to spend the money on them. My favorite thing so far, however, has been a double stroller. I have one and it is in okay shape, but it is getting a little older and I saw someone offer up a nice one. I was lucky to get it and have been enjoying it for the past few months. It is just nicer and newer than my blue one.

This past Saturday we had to go to a park in town for the very fantastic Pinewood Derby competition between all the top winner in the neighboring towns. It was intense, let me tell you! So I brought my stroller there, but of course Ez ended up holding Evie and I was watching the little ones at the playground. Toward the end of it all I ran Lily and Joe to the bathroom and ended up meeting Ez at the car.

It wasn't until I got to Lily's preschool this morning and pulled a barefooted Joe out of the van that I realized my stroller wasn't in the trunk--we left it at the park! My beautiful free stroller is no more. Luckily I hadn't gotten rid of the other one yet. I am so bummed!

On the up side....I put on a pair of Capri pants that I haven't worn in nearly 2 years since I was too pregnant last summer to wear them. I found $10 in the back pocket! Those are my favorite kind of surprises.