Saturday, August 27, 2011

A few recent randoms

Nothing too exciting going on over here... we're just trying to stay cool like everyone else.  I have a few totally random pictures to share from the past couple of weeks.  We've been up to the usual stuff....

Like playing outside (except for the past couple of days since it's been miserably hot)

 Pushing dump trucks

 Giving each other rides.
Do you need a ride?
This looks like a cool way to go...

Making fresh salsa with ingredients from the garden,
so yummy.
Although I have to admit I'm over my garden...
mostly I'm over watering it every day since we never did hook up irrigation.
Plus, it's just not producing all that great.

Gotta love this bed head,
he had just woken up from his nap :)

 Snuggling inside when it's too hot to play outside...


Packing up a picnic and going to our favorite park in Oak Glen, 
where it's just a little cooler and shady.
(these were taken with my point and shoot)

 My kids love the tire swing at this park.


Hope you're stayin' cool this weekend, whatever it is you're doing :)

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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Sweet moments, even if they are breif...

One of the things about having littles at home is the range of happy/sad/angry/joyful emotions and activities that can happen in a very short time frame. 
The other day the kids and I were out back having a picnic..
happily laying on our blanket in the shade,
me snapping some pictures and enjoying the beauty of the day.




I love these next three pictures...
I took them while we were laying on our backs, with my arms stretched up over us.



So back to my original thought about things going from great to crazy in about two seconds...
The kids and I were having a nice time, and about 15 minutes into our lovely time Ethan decided to go into the house and lock all of the doors, thus locking me out.  He knows this is a big no-no. This made for one angry mama, pounding on the doors for him to open them.  He was hiding of course and it took a few minutes for him to come unlock the doors.  I was pretty upset at the time, but it was funny in retrospect :)  It was near nap time, so I promptly put him to bed.  I just found it funny that we went from such a nice time to crazy so quickly. 

Ahhh, just a day in the life :)


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Sunday, August 21, 2011

A valve box and Date Night

Yesterday Matt and his handy assistant were outside cleaning out an area beneath 3 huge redwoods in our backyard. 



While working Matt found something that made us VERy happy....


That doesn't look exciting does it?
It's a valve box.
We have 15 valves on our property and we had found 14 of them.
This sucker is the one valve box we've been searching for since we moved here, nearly a year ago!
It's the only valve box that was broken and had sprinklers that did not work.
Matt was able to fix it yesterday and get the sprinklers working.
You have no idea how much we've searched for this illusive valve box so that we could get the sprinklers working.  They are the sprinklers that control the back bed that is probably the most looked at area of our back yard.  I'm SO excited that since we now have working sprinklers we will be able to get that area planted with some pretty stuff :)

Okay, now that I've probably put you to sleep with my sprinkler talk, onto something more interesting...
My mom was super sweet and came over to watch the kids yesterday evening so that Matt and I could go out on a date.  When she first got here she enjoyed some reading and snuggling with Alayna and I had to take a picture or two...



Then of course since Matt and I were looking nice I had to have a picture snapped of us...


Then of course since we were all outside I had to snap a picture of my mom and the kids ;)


For our date Matt and I headed out to Victoria Gardens.  We first stopped into Total Wine and enjoyed a little wine tasting.  We were not wowed by anything and decided we're not huge fans of wines from Chile (which is most of what we sampled).

 We then headed over to King's Fish House for a scrumptious dinner.  I had hazelnut crusted coho salmon with a lemon herb butter.  It was DELICIOUS and I ate every last bite.  Matt went for the ceder plank coho salmon which was also quite tasty.  After enjoying a great meal with uninterrupted conversation we strolled around for a bit and then went to the movies.  We saw The Change Up.  It had a lot of foul language but was enjoyable, we both liked it.  We got to the movies about once or twice a year, it's not a common thing for us :)  We always figure if we get the chance to go out we want to enjoy conversation and not just sit there at a movie, however since my mom was at our house from 4:00-11:00 we had plenty of time for both :)

It was a great evening and much needed.  I sure am grateful to my mom for not only babysitting, but wanting to be with my kids and enjoying her time with them :)

Alayna has come down with a nasty cold so I stayed home from church with her.  I went to Staters and got all my grocery shopping done... amazing how easy that is with only one child (and the one who will happily sit in the child's seat).  Tonight we're going to grill up some steaks and shrimp, and fresh veggies... one of my favorite meals we make :)  I also made up another batch of tasty salsa using ingredients from my garden.

Now I'm off to read my camera manual and hopefully close my eyes for a little bit as well :) 

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Saturday, August 20, 2011

My new camera and dinner with the Flores'

My new camera arrived in the mail yesterday (a Canon 7D).  I've had my eyes on this beauty for months and months and kept hoping it would drop in price, but unfortunately due to the tsunami in Japan, it has stayed solid for quite a while.  I finally bit the bullet and ordered it up last week so that I can get proficient with it before my first wedding next month. I'm keeping my old camera to use as a backup and to use at weddings and some normal shoots (so that I don't have to constantly switch between lenses).

Anyhow, I'm pretty excited.  It's a great piece of equipment.  I could list all sorts of things that I'm excited about, but that's probably more than you all care to know about ;)  It arrived shortly before we left to go to Danny and Jolene's for dinner, so of course I took it along to test it out :)  I need to read the manual and learn more, but so far I love it!

We hadn't seen the Flores' in a few weeks.  It was great to spend the evening with them.  My only complaint is that time spent with them FLIES by.  It seems like I just get there and then before I know it I have to get my kiddos home to bed.  :)

Jon and Alayna getting into mischief


Hi Jonny!  (Matt took this... he was playing with my camera as well)

yummy ice cream

awww.... so sweet

Ethan managed to stub his toe and rip off part of his toenail, but thankfully Jolene was able to fix him up :)  It's amazing how many band aids you go through with kids :)

Oh, hey there....
I was holding my boy here...
he was still recovering from his deadly toe-stub

If there are necklaces to be found, my girl will find them.
Oh, and dirt as well.
That's a funny combo... dirt and necklaces.

 I love this picture of Alayna....


 Jolene never dissapoints with her yummy meals!  This dessert was quite delicious and made me want to go on vacation to Hawaii.  The whole meal had tropical undertones :)

I was testing out the ISO here.  My 30D only goes up to 1600, and it's pretty poor quality.  This bad boy goes up to 6400.  Of course it's quite grainy at 6400, but WAY better than my other camera.  It was pretty dark out when I took this shot, I had the ISO at 3600.  For anyone who's curious shutter speed was at 125 and F-stop was at 1.8.

Be prepared to see about a bazillion pictures in the next few weeks as I practice, practice, practice :)


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

My thoughts today... a rambly sort of post

Last night I was laying in bed reading Parenting magazine.  There was an article about school and all of the sudden it hit me that this will be the last year at home with two kids who are not yet in school.
Ethan won't start kindergarten for two more years, but most likely he'll go to pre-school next year.
This is our last year with no school schedules determining the path of our day.
My last year to just "be" with my two kiddos.
The kids are at the perfect ages to do fun things, as they both nap at the same time and are both a little older,
yet still young enough that a trip to the pet store is fun.
With the realization that this is our last carefree year I was struck by a strong desire to just soak in every moment.
I want to enjoy every cute little thing they do and say...
embrace the sweet moments that are a part of every single day.




*****

This morning I got up and got dressed into my gym clothes thinking I'd go to the gym.
I have great intentions of having time in the Word in the mornings, but unless I get up before Ethan (which never happens because I go to bed too late), "quiet time" is non-existent.  It's usually noise filled time with me sitting at the table trying to do my Bible study and then giving up half way through.  I can come up with a million excuses for not being able to make that quiet time for myself.  It's something I'm working on.

This morning I just had the strongest desire to feel God's presence, 
to commune with Him in the midst of little ones running around my feet and the never ending "to-do" list.
I turned on my Pandora praise station and started cleaning,
and the Lord met me and filled my soul in the best way.
It was so much better for me today than a workout.
I was struck by how ordinary the tasks I was doing were,
and yet how extraordinary our God is...
that my kids can be playing around my feet,
that I can still be accomplishing things,
and yet feel so connected to the Lord.

May you be blessed today as you go about your "normal" tasks...
communing with God all the while.



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Friday, August 12, 2011

Ripon and Sacramento

Last week Matt's sweet Grandmother went home to be with the Lord.  She was 93 and lived a great life.  She was quite the woman.  She was also Matt's last living grandparent.

We packed up and headed up to Ripon for her funeral this past week.  We had a very nice trip up there.  I cannot convey just how thankful I am for our car DVD player, it was a lifesaver!
We left our house at 8:00 am and arrived in Ripon at about 3:30.  Of course neither of my children napped in the car, that's just not how they roll (especially Alayna). We rolled into town with two tired children and went straight to the funeral home for the viewing.


I stayed outside with the kids....
they were overtired and not about to be quiet,
and I have a hard time with viewings ever since my dad passed away.
Thankfully we found some shade to hang out and the kids got some of their pent out energy out from the long drive.  Ethan loves any opportunity to play with his cousins.


 Grandpa and Daddy trying to keep a tired and loopy Alayna occupied :)



We went from the funeral home over to the home where were staying for our two nights in Ripon.  Some friends of Matt's Aunt Debbie offered to host us, which was very kind of them.  They were the sweetest people and my kids thought it was great staying there.  We chatted with them for an hour then went over to one of Marlene's brother's houses.

Ripon is a little town off the 99 that is filled with Dutch people, which is why I joke that it is the motherland.  Matt's parents both grew up and met in Ripon and a lot of his mom's family still lives there. The area if full of almond orchards.  Matt's grandma had one, and two of his uncles have orchards.  So, we went over to Uncle Jim and Aunt Linda's house and orchard and they were so very kind to cook us a scrumptious tri tip dinner and let our kids run all around.  They really enjoyed getting to go on a ride all around the beautiful property in one of the golf carts.



We played a little on the rope swings...
until I got dizzy.
I can only last about 2 minutes on a swing.
I get super motion sick.
It was still fun to play for a bit :)



After this picture... I put my camera away for the rest of our time.
I just wanted to be IN the moment.

It was actually a very nice evening.  I couldn't beleive that my kids hung in until 9:00 after traveling all day and not having naps.  They got to have a "sleepover" and share a room at the house we were staying at.  This was a first for them... they have never slept in the same room. They were very wound up the first night and kept talking and carrying on.  They didn't end up falling asleep until 10:00 pm.  It was SUCh a long day for them!

The next morning we got up and headed straight to the graveside service and then the memorial for Matt's Grandma.  It was followed by a lunch at the church.  Thankfully some friends of the family provided babysitting for all of the little kiddos at the church.  My poor tired Alayna actually fell asleep in the nursery she was so beat.... that NEVER happens!

The service was so nice and really honored Grandma.  She was really an amazing woman.  She was born in a sod house as a homesteader in Colorado, buried two husbands and two sons, and still remained one of those most joyful, Godly women.  I can only aspire to live a life like that.  She really did leave a legacy. 

After the lunch we went back to the house for naps, then over to spend time with Matt's parents and siblings and kids at one of Matt's dad's cousins house (he also has an almond orchard).  Once again it was very lovely.  My kids had a blast swimming and playing with their cousins, watching the two very active tortoises run around, and play to their hearts content.  It was a nice evening.

In the morning we packed up and headed up to Sacramento to visit with Matt's sister Annette and family.  We hadn't been up there since we had kids.  Plus, I had never seen ANY part of Sacramento other than their house.  We spent the morning and early afternoon at the zoo, which my kids loved.  It was just perfect for us, we were able to see everything in about three hours.

Looking at the chimps

I took this photo on purpose so that you could see the chimp in focus,
Alayna is looking at it through the window (the blurry blob on the right).
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 Auntie Aenntte (or Auntie "Met" as Alayna calls her), showing Alayna the zebras

Ethan was tired...
and unfortuantely had a couple of meltdowns,
but overall loved the zoo.

Alayna and daddy looking at the girraffes

Alayna was so cute at the zoo.
She was enthralled with all the animals and liked to make the appropriate animal noise to accompany each animal.

 Check this out...
the tiger was sleeping right next to the window. 
Super cool.



After the zoo Alayna crashed for a total of about 20 minutes in the car.  I guess that was better than nothing!  The kids enjoyed playing with their big cousins and getting out all their cool old toys.  Annette took me to their favorite thrift store where I found a few treasures :)  Mark then took Matt and I on a nickle tour of Sacramento.  We went through downtown and I saw our state capitol for the first time ever.  We never got out of the van, but it was fun to see everything.  I was amazed by all the beautiful trees.

We went back to the house and Mark and Annette  made us some scrumptious BBQ ribs and yummy garden fresh veggies.  We put our kiddos to bed and the girls stayed home so that Mark and Annette could take us to Old Town Sac.  It was about 9:00 by the time we got there, and most things were closed, but it was still fun to walk around and see all the cool historical buildings and stuff.  If we're up there again I really want to check out some of the museums.  I just love history.

The next morning we had breakfast, packed up, and headed on home.  It felt like such a long drive.  We were an hour farther north and we didn't leave until 10:00, so we got home around 6:00 pm.  Our kids really did do well, I was just tired and honestly that drive up the 99 is about as exciting as the bottom of my shoe, lol.  No naps occurred once again, and my kids pretty much fussed unless I had the DVD player going... so.... they watched a LOT of DVDs :)  I caught up on a whole lot of blogs on my feed reader on my phone, so at least we made the best of it :)  We were very happy to be back home in our own beds last night and get a good night of sleep.

Matt took today off and we went swimming this morning.  My kids were happy to actually be able to take naps, and now we're going to grill up some steaks and garden fresh veggies, then take a walk to the park.  :)

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