Thursday, October 29, 2009

A Gift

The other day I went to the mail box, the mailbox I have grown to hate.  Since we are in a newer development, the mailbox is down the street with all the mailboxes for the court.  It has a key to open the box which allows me to procrastinate checking the mail because it is usually full with 10,000 pounds of junkmail and 1 or 2 pieces of legitimate mail.  It has come to represent one more thing on my To Do list.  Stuff to sort through and throw away.  I am very close to paying for that service that claims to reduce your junk mail by 90%.  I wonder if it really works?  Anyway, on Tuesday when I went to the mailbox, there was a package, from addressed to me.  I quickly opened it up and found this!

The just released cookbook from The Pioneer Woman.  Wow! I thought to myself...someone really knows me! I scanned the shipping document for a gift message to find out who sent this thoughtful gift to me.  I found a gift message but it was cut off.  It said, "Happy Early Birthday! I thought you needed this.  I hope you like it."  That was it.  No mention of who it was from.  The weird thing was the Billing Address was my name and address.  I may do some dorky things...but I know I have never ordered me a book and included a gift message to myself.  Was it Keith?  Did he actually think about and come up with the idea to send me this cookbook?  Maybe my Mom?  She did just ask me the other day if I knew The Pioneer Woman had a cookbook coming out?  I called her and she shared in my excitement at receiving it...but admitted it was not her that sent it.  Wow!  It must have been Keith. No way...if it was he is going to score major points, I thought to myself.  I called Keith and he said he was sorry that he didn't think of it.  Hmmm...must be my sweet younger sister Kerry.  She enjoys the Pioneer Woman website as much as I do.  I called her and as soon as she acknowledged that she was the gift giver, Sam said, " I knew it!  I knew it, Mommy!  As soon as I saw it in the mailbox...I knew it was from Aunt Kerry! Aunt Kerry does those kind of things."

Thank you, Kerry!  I love it!  Can't wait to try out some recipes and share with you!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Why I like to blog

I recently overheard that a close relative thinks blogging is self-serving and they don't really have any interest in checking in on my little blog here. I tell myself I am ok with that but I have to admit it bothers me a little bit. It bothers me because it is partially is self-serving. I often wonder when I am writing why am I doing this and does anyone really care how cute I think my kids are or how often we go to a park? Then I remind myself what motivated me to start the blog in the first place. Life is short and I want to keep the memories. I have tried keeping a journal and I have tried to make scrapbooks and I have failed. Big time. Sam's first year album goes all the way through the 4th of July. He was born in June. Elise doesn't even have a first year album yet. I started one on Shutterfly and have yet to finish it. But this blog, this blog is different. Knowing that my few followers check up on me from time to time gives me motivation to keep it fresh. I love getting comments on my posts. I love the phone calls or emails from Curly or Aunt Lene when they tell me a story made them laugh...or made them cry...or both. I love that my sisters started blogging too - it makes it feel like we don't live so far apart. I love that if something were to happen to me, then my kids will have something from me, my memories of their childhood in my voice. I love that if nothing happens to me, then I have my memories of my kids and their childhood in my voice. I look forward to printing out my blog in book form and having the books on our coffee table when Keith and I are old empty nesters.

When I first started this blog I was worried about freaks finding it and maybe stalking us or something. I have been very careful to not include our last names or where exactly we live...but I have found and hopefully it remains true...that freaks don't really blog or read blogs. In fact, I find that positive people who celebrate life are the ones who like to blog about it. I am especially happy with one stranger who found my site and sent me the nicest message about how he enjoyed my appreciation of the little things in life. He has Cystic Fibrosis and has to struggle daily just to breathe and eat. (BTW...I thought CF was just a breathing issue...I had no idea how it impacts the digestive system as well.) So while my relative may think my blog is self-serving and not that interesting, someone out there who I think has a special and unique perspective on life thinks my little stories are nice to read. Thanks, Josh!! And thank you to Papa, Curly, Aunt Lene, Jen, Mara, Megan, Kerry, Amy and I think Kara for reading, adding your comments, and keeping me motivated to keep blogging. This is a self-serving gift I am giving my future old lady self. And if you guys weren't reading it...I probably would have stopped after the third or fourth post.

One more thing...since I just mentioned Josh and he is on my mind...if you have 5 minutes check out this website. I just watched the video again and was again, brought to tears. This video shows Josh involved in a musical tribute to an English musician who wrote this song about living with CF and who passed away from the disease. HEART WARMING!

Thanks again for reading!  Oh! And for never complaining about my spelling, my punctuation, my grammar and my general lack of writing skillz. :-)


Monday, October 26, 2009

Torrey Pines

I had no idea that the Torrey Pine is the rarest tree in the United States.  I found that out a few days ago when I took the kids for a little hike at the Torrey Pines State Reserve.  Not to be confused with the Torrey Pines Golf Course which is right next to the reserve and happens to be the location where they arrested that creepy Scott Peterson.  That is all I can think of when I hear Torrey Pines...I don't know is just a bit of disturbing trivia that sticks in my head.  That they arrested him at the golf course and he had $10,000 in cash on him, as well as, a map to the house of his ex girlfriend, Amber and potential weapons in his trunk.  Why, Oh Why, are those details still in my mind?  We didn't even live here when all of that drama went down.  But, that is what comes to my mind when I drive up to the parking lot of the Torrey Pines State Reserve.  Thankfully, the thought quickly disappears when we get out of the car and start on the walk.

I have been forced into retirement again from Williams-Sonoma.  I always get laid off in October.  Last year, my unemployment only lasted a month before they brought me back on.  This year, I may have to wait until February...maybe longer.  But I plan on enjoying the break and will be forever grateful for my flexible part time work on their websites.  It is a perfect stay at home mom kind of job and I can't believe how lucky I am/was to get to work from home during the hours of my choosing.  I hope my luck continues and I hope that people shop this holiday season so that I can get my job back.  In the meantime, I will enjoy the time with my kids and the free perks of living near San Diego. 

We were a little bummed out to find our favorite trail ended here.  This is just the beginning of the cliff section where you get amazing views of the ocean, the surfers, and often a hang-glider soaring by.  I think some of it fell into the sea and they are working on creating a new path.
Sam brought along his newest favorite animal.  A California Condor that my dad purchased for him at the zoo a few days ago. 

A very natural looking couple noticed what Sam was carrying and asked him about the Condor.  I came up on the tail end of the conversation between them and overheard in a very stereo-typical California hippie accent, "Oh Wow, that is sooo wonderful.  The California Condor is a very honorable animal.  They don't waste anything."  And then Elise got mad when she told them she got a frog and they didn't respond. I think they just didn't hear her because they seemed truly fascinated that a 5 year old had chosen the Condor as his favorite animal.  But it did not matter, I had to answer 5 minutes of questions from both Sam and Elise as to why the couple liked Condors but didn't like frogs.
"I don't love them, Mommy." Elise declared.  "Because they not like my frog."

Sunday, October 25, 2009


On Saturday morning we woke up early and headed to our favorite park on top of the mountain to see the sunrise.

Why were we up so early? It is so unlike us me.

I have no idea.  But it was a beautiful morning.

Saturday, October 24, 2009


In October of 2007, we found ourselves roasting under the sun at a pumpkin patch. 

We had no idea that 24 hours later that patch would be very close to some crazy wildfires and that we would be loading our car up at 4AM and heading out of town.  We loaded up the Volvo with a few things we thought worth saving.  Then we realized we like Keith's car better than the old Volvo, so at 5AM we unpacked the Volvo and loaded up Keith's car.  The sky was black, the air was full of ash and we wanted to leave on our terms.  As soon as they called for a voluntary evacuation...we were outta there. We loaded the kids in the car and headed north.  We thought we would just drive a few hours and find a place to stay but we saw smoke and flames all the way up Interstate 5.  The sky did not clear until after the Grapevine so we decided to go all the way up to the Bay Area.   In the car we had our wedding album, our computer and one change of clothes.   Amazing how little you really need to pack for a vacation!  We were not dressed very well but we had fun. 

Our house and unfortunately, the Volvo survived and we came home to find everything under a blanket of ash.  We were all back to normal in time for Halloween.  Sam was a ghost and Elise had her first real taste of Halloween dressed as a witch.

Last year, about this time, we were in Santa Barbara for the alumni Water Polo game.

I was finally starting to figure out how to use my camera and took one of my favorite pictures of Keith.  It makes me want to kiss him!  (Sorry...I just still find him as handsome as I did the first time I saw him in the dorms!)

This year has been a little less exciting...

in a good way.

My dad was just here for a nice visit and he and Keith enjoyed watching some football.
And we recently discoverd a park nearby with an amazing view.  It is at the top of a mountain and you can pretty much see all of San Diego County. 

For all of our visitors out there...we have a new place to show you next time you come! 

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

A Letter

A couple of weeks ago, Sam came home with a letter in his folder.

Uh Oh, this was from his principal...what is this all about?

Wow!  Sam was chosen for a Character Counts award at his school!  So...yes, all of the kindergartener's will be nominated at some point in the school year, but I am going to take some pride in the fact that Sam was chosen in the first round!

We were invited to an assembly to see the awards handed out.

I don't think Sam really had a clue what was going on.  The day before the assembly I asked him about the award and he looked at me and said, "huh?"
I asked the teacher if Sam knew about it or if it was meant to be a surprise.  Sam's teacher told me he had Sam stand in front of the class while he (the teacher) explained what award Sam won and why.  I don't think Sam was listening because he doesn't really remember.

Sam was chosen to represent Respect.  One of the six pillars of character. 

I asked Sam if he knew what that meant.  He had no idea.

One kid from each kinder class was chosen to represent one of the six pillars. Here he is with another respectful kindergartener.

This is Sam's teacher who nominated him.  He has that big of a smile on his face about 90% of the time.

We were proud. 
Sam seemed less than thrilled until he learned the award came with a free slice of pizza and a soda. 

Monday, October 12, 2009

The Perfect Pajamas

I realize my days of sharing these embarrassing stories are numbered.  As they should be.  But I will get away with it while I can and then I will have to think of some other way to capture some of the funny comments I hear around these parts.  Right now my rationalization is that my kids can't read and none of their friends see this blog...just family and a few of my friends.  Does that make it ok?  These comments are too funny to file away in my brain only to be forgotten within a few months.  If I don't get it down quickly, poof, the memory is gone.  So here we go...

We have this little ritual at night where the kids ask me which pajamas would be the "perfect pajamas" for the night.    Perfection is achieved by picking the right style of pajama for the temperature.  So we pick short ones for warm nights and cozy long ones for cool nights.  The other night when Sam asked me for the perfect pajamas I tried to encourage him to make his own decision.  I said, "Sam, you are five, I think you are capable of picking out the perfect pajamas." 

He stood there naked, looking at the open drawer of his collection of warm and cool PJ's.  He looked down at himself and said, " balls are up so I think it is going to be cool.  I'll wear the warm ones."

Thursday, October 8, 2009

A Busy Morning

Yesterday, Elise and I had the house to ourselves and we spent it playing in the front yard.  She keeps herself very busy.  She started with her beloved Radio Flyer.

She follows the sidewalk to the end of the court and around to end up across the street from our house.  Then she yells, "Mommy!  Is there a car coming?"  I tell her it's all clear and then she rides as fast as she can back to our house.

Once she is across, she often exclaims, "I made it!  Whoa...that was a close one!" 

Actually, every time we walk across the street together she beems with glee when we make it to the other side and excitedly says, "We made it Mommy!  We didn't get runned over!"

Here she is noticing the pumpkins on the porch are not exactly how she would like them.

She starts moving the pumpkins all about.  Back and forth.  Next to the door, on the steps, by the plants...

Finally she is pleased with how they are lined up.

I wish I could freeze time.  I love this little pumpkin!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


I created a new link to share some of my recipes.  There is only one right now.  But it is delish! And, even the kids love it and it is pretty healthy too! We'll see how many recipes I actually load up on here but I thought I would try to eventually get my collection of tried and true easy recipes in one location that I don't have to backup and should always (in theory) have easy access to.  If you want the best chinese chicken salad recipe...check it out here.  Forgive the pictures...not my best work but I am not very good at multi-tasking.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Nie Nie

One of the blogs I follow and have linked on the side is called the Nie Nie Dialogues.  It is written by a girl named Stephanie whom I have never met.  I found her blog one day from The Pioneer Woman's site and was hooked.  When I started reading it...Stephanie was in the hospital recovering from a plane crash.  She has an amazing story and an amazing will.  Anyway, I mention this only because she will be on Oprah tomorrow (Wednesday).  Oprah always makes me cry and I am sure this episode will do the same. Not that I want to cry...I'm just prepared.  If you want to see a heartwarming, inspirational story, watch it.  If you can't watch it, check out her site.  She is a beautiful blogger.  Just thought I'd share.  Have a good night!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Feels Like Fall

We had a high of 68 degrees today.  I know it sounds ridiculous to say that nearly 70 feels like fall but when you have lived here for a while, you really get wimpy and 68 is cold enough to require a sweater.  We spent the morning enjoying the wind and the clouds while playing in the front yard.  I took these pictures of a few hints of fall in our yard.

I love the fall.  And the kids love October.  They are so excited for Halloween.  Elise is getting Halloween and Christmas a little confused but she is excited either way.  She keeps saying, "Look!! Pumpkins!  That means Santa is coming! And I will see all the lights, I love the lights!"

 I tried to grow my own pumpkins this year because I hate paying for pumpkins.  The plants started out strong and beautiful and they would flower every day.  But the flowers never turned to fruit.  I researched and tried to get the male flowers together with the females but still nothing.  Then the plant started to turn white and die.  I think I had a small pest and that was that.  No pumpkins.  Bummer! I will try again next year.  It is time to talk to Aunt Ruthie - rumor has it  she is our family pumpkin expert. 

Because of our pumpkin shortage, and the wonderful fall weather, it turned out to be a perfect day to head to the pumpkin patch.

Oh, one more thing, only because I don't want to forget this...
Tonight, once PJ's were on and teeth were brushed, the kids were on the sofa with Keith watching a bit of a football game. (The Charger game - San Diego tried their best but failed to come back against the Steelers. Darn.)  Sam started thinking of the nicest things he could say to Keith.  It was sweet but I think it was just a creative strategy to try to delay bedtime.  Anyway, Sam gave Keith a big hug and said, "I love daddy so much that sometimes my heart rips."  That bought him an extra 10 minutes of cuddling on the couch, for sure.

Note: Excuse the formatting of this post.  I am using bloggers new editor and I don't quite have it figured out yet!