Sunday, December 14, 2008

video

Emily made up the words to this song all by herself! It is about her trip to Disneyland (a mere year and a half ago). Enjoy!

It's Christmas Time...Already?

As you can see from my lack of posting, things have been busy around here. Also I have some sort of stigma about needing enough time to blog rather than just doing it. That is why it never gets done. So here's a quick visual review...The first week of Dec. we took the girls to Breakfast with Santa at our credit union. They do it every year and it is the best and easiest way to get photos with Santa. The credit union is very small (they know everyone by name!) and you never have to wait in line, plus you get a delicious pancake breakfast after seeing Santa. Allison didn't cry, and Emily actually smiled. Good job, girls! Aren't their little matching outfits cute?!

Kevin took advantage of Black Friday by purchasing a 40" flat screen HDTV at Best Buy. Luckily they have no-interest financing for two years! We are trying to sell our old one if anyone is in the market...it's a Sony HD and measures 30 inches.

Allison started crawling on all fours about the first week of December, and she (and Emily) had a great time playing in the giant TV box. Allison has also had a great time exploring the whole house with her new-found mobility. When Emily was a baby she never was interested in too much that wasn't hers...Allison is the complete opposite. Just the other day I put her down to play in the family room while I washed dishes in the kitchen right next door. Well five minutes later when I went to check on her, she was nowhere to be found! I didn't think she could crawl that fast, I guess. I finally found her all the way down the hall in the bathroom with the door closed! She also likes to follow us around from room to room and get into anything and everything she possibly can. If any of you ever visit my house in the next (uh, years?), don't expect it to be pristine.


We spent the week of Thanksgiving at my parent's house in Pleasanton. Kevin gets to go up there at least twice a month for work, but the kids and I usually stay home, so it was a nice trip. We scrapped our plans to go to San Francisco for a day and just stayed in and relaxed instead. The kids had fun with their grandparents and aunt Marianne (above) and uncle Devin. Emily was especially impressed that her uncle Devin could launch her up about 12 feet in the air.


We spent a few hours at the park on one of the days. Pleasanton has a park in every neighborhood, and Emily has been to a lot of them thanks to my mom. We had fun swinging, playing hide-and-seek, and bouncing on the teeter-totter.

KEVIN RECEIVED HIS DEGREE!! I put "received" because technically he earned it in August, but it came in the mail mid-November. WAHOOOO! After about 10 years, only, thanks to Fresno State's ridiculous transfer protocols. Anyway, Kevin now officially has his bachelor's degree (Business Administration - Finance Option of you can't read it) and I am so proud of him. So was the TV a graduation gift to himself??? Yeah, let's go with that. Plus he survived a major round of layoffs at AT&T in the past week, so we are also very happy that he still has a job.

Allison actually fell asleep like this. I always put her in bed before she is asleep and leave the room and close the door. So who knows what she is doing in there between me leaving and her falling asleep. This particular day she was apparently exploring the bumpers and trying to peek out of her crib. Maybe the serene view of the changing table on the other side of the room put her to sleep.

Emily's Halloween gingerbread house. Parents - here's a tip: in early November when all the Christmas gingerbread houses go on sale in stores and your kids want to make one but you dread the idea of a messy frosting- and candy-gobbed structure taking up space somewhere in your house for two months...buy the Halloween house kit on clearance for $1.99 and let your child go to town. Then discreetly get rid of it after a week or two. What? Did I do that? No, we bought ours for full price a few weeks before Halloween and ... okay, yes that's what happened. Great idea, though, right? I also got a Christmas kit and we made it last week (so it is now taking up half of my table), but the Halloween one was there at the right time and was just as much fun.


We made Jell-o jigglers for family home evening sometime in October. Notice Emily's name spelled out at the bottom. And the nice Halloween shapes. She did a good job cutting them out and eating almost all of them.


We actually carved pumpkins this year! Emily picked out the witch design and I painstakingly tried to cut out the intricate pattern. It turned out okay but not exactly as it looked on the stencil. We carved the other two after the witch. I was worn out after that. Princess Emily and froggy Allison got to trick-or treat at ZooBoo (see post below) and our ward's trunk-or-treat party. Truthfully, this was the only time Allison actually wore her costume because both event nights were too warm. So I just dressed them back up and took their photo so we could remember their costumes!


We also went to the pumpkin patch with our playgroup in early October. It was a very hot day, and all the kids were running around with red faces. But it was fun. I guess October was unusually warm this year, because it stayed in the 80's most of the month. But I'd much rather have that than cold! It's great to live in the central valley.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

ZooBoo

First of all, thanks to everyone who responded to my last post with such positive and encouraging comments. It definitely helps to hear what other moms out there are doing to stay sane! I think the night I wrote it was just a really hard day, but I'm feeling much better about things since. And I think I'm going to try to take a photography class or something...to pursue something I enjoy and have an excuse to "have" to get out of the house at least once a week! Plus I just got a really nice camera for my birthday, so I have to use it. And all of you are so right about just enjoying the time I have with my kids and what not...thanks everyone!

This morning has been filled with laundry and cleaning. Hopefully we'll be able to get out of the house this afternoon and run some errands. I've been wanting to get to the fabric store and find some blackout material to make curtains for our bedroom (and I have a 50% off coupon that expires today). Our bedroom has a huge sliding glass door that faces south, so we get a lot of light and heat/cold through it during the day. When it was really hot Kevin put foam in it and completely blocked out everything. Nice and dark, but not so easy to just let light in when we wanted it. I have a whole list of things like that that I think I might be able to get around to someday. The usual house cleaning and child activities usually take first priority, though.

Last weekend we took the kids to ZooBoo, the halloween event at the Zoo. I had to work, but got to hang out with Kevin and the kids for a little bit while they were there. Here are some photos:





This is me and my boss, Patty Peters. All the gals from marketing, education and admin dressed up as "beauty queens" with titles such as Miss Information, Miss Behave, Miss Taken, Miss Fortune, etc. Easy costume to wear with our uniforms and lots of fun!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Feeling Lost

Earlier today after I got home from picking Em up from preschool and making a quick stop at the grocery store to pick up some ingredients for a dinner to take to a family who just had their 10th child, I was being quite irritable and Kevin asked me what was wrong. Well, of course I told him a bunch of random things that probably contribute to what's wrong but aren't the real problem, like how I feel stressed with everything I need to do and that our house is always messy and dirty and etc. etc. Kevin is always really good about calling me on my bad days...it usually makes me more aware that I'm not being so nice and I consciously try to be better. Unfortunately it doesn't necessarily make me feel better. Anyway, through the course of the day I thought of a few things, like the conversation I had with my father-in-law last week about what I do for fun...answer: nothing, I live to serve my family (a little sarcastic, but mostly the truth). It was a short conversation, not much else was said, we left off on kind of a joke about it. I brought that up to Kevin and he asked me what I would like to do for fun if I did have time. I didn't have an answer. Then I was watching Desperate Housewives and there was an exchange between Lynette and her husband that sounded just like a conversation Kevin and I might have about how he works hard and deserves time to go play with the band (or go surfing, or biking) and in my "spare" time I get to go grocery shopping or whatever. I should go back and watch it again, but I was sitting on the floor with Allison and Kevin was behind us at his desk and I remember giving him the knowing look. [and before you think, well look, he's working and you're watching TV, just know that I was helping him with his work all morning rather than doing my own, and I just turned on the TV when I was feeding Allison, so there.] Don't get me wrong, I'm not bitter about it; it's just interesting how the whole man/woman, husband/wife, dad/mom roles get played out not just in our lives but apparently in TV lives too. And if it's on TV, it must happen to a lot of people, right?

Just now for the past while (has it really been an hour and a half?) I've been reading a bunch of blogs. People in all walks of life with different joys and pains and activities. Well it just hit me what is bothering me - I am feeling lost. Lost in my own aspirations to do everything yet do nothing. Does that make sense? I run around all day feeling stressed about this and that and what needs to be done or planned and at the end of the day I feel like I've accomplished nothing. I haven't spent much quality time with my children, I haven't cleaned or organized, I haven't done anything "fun" and I haven't even gotten much (paid) work done, despite feeling like I've been doing it all day. Or I feel like I am bound because I need to do something but it can't be done until something else gets done first and that first item is not on the list... So reading all these blogs, perhaps it's the illusion that everyone writes just about the good times, but it makes me enjoy their moments yet feel sad that I am not doing much in my life. Now, I'm sure you might be thinking "look at all the things you do..." but how much of it is worthwhile or making a difference for my family? Am I just being pessimistic about this?

Then the whole question of "what would you do for fun if you did have time?" I still don't know! I like to take photographs - is that a good activity? Then what to do with them? I used to love dancing. Unfortunately the kind I like involves a partner, and my husband is not so willing. Or he's just gone, or busy catching up on work. I also used to love watercolor painting. If I could come up with some space for it that might be a good one to pick up again. I thought it might be fun to get together with some friends and go out. The sad truth is, though, I don't really have many friends who I feel like I could just call and ask to go hang out. What about the ones who just drop by and bring donuts and cider on a Saturday morning (I saw that on my distant friend's blog and thought that was so cool). Is it because I have been working outside my home for the past few years that I don't have playdates for the kids? I don't know. I guess I'm just feeling a little sad and out of place in the world right now. I probably should go read my scriptures and pray (two more things that don't happen as often as they should...). Knowing Kevin will be leaving me for the next two days just adds to it. What to do? Sorry to vent on you, blog world, but maybe someone out there will have a few kind words of advice? How do you people do it all and still seem to be having such a good time?

Saturday, October 4, 2008

My Latest Discovery

Okay, I can't really claim it as my own discovery, since some friends told me about it. Kraftfoods.com. It ROCKS! Not only can you sign up for a free magazine full of easy and family-friendly recipes, you can find same recipes (all past issues included) on the website and put them into your own recipe box. Why is this so great, you ask? Because it substantially helps my recent (uh, past few years?) food rut.

I'll be honest - I'm not the greatest eater in the world. Not that I eat junk food all the time, but I don't think I eat enough good foods, and often not enough food, period. Mostly because I hate going through the recipes, making the list, going to the store, putting everything away, then trying to have enough energy to actually make the food... and I get sick of frozen burritos and corn dogs after a few days. Menu planning is so time-consuming and energy draining for me.

Enter kraftfoods.com. I can search through their lovely photos of recipes, pick the ones that look good, and click a button to place them into my recipe box. Then when I am going to go to the grocery store, I pick out a few of those recipes that look good, click "add to shopping list", and Voila, instant grocery list including all necessary items to cook my chosen recipes. You can even add in your own recipes to your box and add extra items to your shopping list. I love it! So yes, I still have to decide what I want and make the list, but it takes about 1/10 of the time and all the pictures make it so much easier to pick a meal. AND all the recipes are really easy to make.

That's it. I just wanted to share.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Photo Update - August and September 2008

The top is Emily. The bottom is Allison. Both 8 months old! I think Emily was a little chubbier! Even though Allison is pretty chubby. And I have no idea what happened to that blue bathtub. We went to look for it after Allison was born and it had disappeared! So Allison has the girlie pink one.

I found some new jackets at Target (yes, I buy nearly all their clothes there...they have so many cute things at great prices, and it doesn't help that Target is one block away from our house). Emily's is pretty big on her, but at the rate she's growing it should fit perfect by February. And Allison loves this polka dot hoodie - she held it the whole time in the store and didn't want to let go. Her eyes light up every time she sees it!

What more fun than playing in the toy boxes on Sunday before church. I first put Allison in one to se what she would do, then of course Emily wanted to join in the fun. I think Allison just discovered her tongue that day or something. She was sticking it out like that for nearly an hour. There's nothing to make a mother more happy than seeing her two little girls playing together and having fun.

Here is the little chunk in all her glory. Look how those fatty thighs end up in those teeny tiny toes! She really has a spunky personality, too.


We rearranged our office/living room and had enough space to put Emily's "desk" in there. Now she can "work" (play games on the computer or practice writing) or do her "projects" (cutting and gluing on 12x12 scrapbook paper) while mom and dad try to get some work done. Occasionally Allison is her assistant.

Allison had her first taste of pizza [crust]. She is so interested in anything we are eating now (two huge bowls of cereal and fruit/veggies is not enough) so when we had pizza the other day I gave her a big piece of crust to "chew" on. Chew is in quotations because she does not have any teeth yet. See last photo. Nine months and counting...still no sign of them on the top or the bottom!

And Emily is learning to play the guitar. Kevin spent some unforetold amount of money to get his amp fixed, and has been playing a little bit [more]. Emily was able to get her fingers around part of the top and strum on the neck of the guitar. Let's just say it was loud. As you can see from the photo, she thought it was delightfully entertaining.
Gums. Just gums. It's okay with me, I guess. at least that way she still can't bite me. But she is already a small baby so without teeth she looks like half her age. I suppose it doesn't really matter. Does that look like a 9-month-old to you? She is so cute, though. We have to go in for her 9-month checkup tomorrow so we'll see what the doctor has to say. Oh, and did I mention she doesn't crawl either? I am happy for that - she can still sit in one place and play without me having to wonder where she is all the time. I don't think it's going to last much longer, though.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A great laugh for all mothers and women!

Okay, this is kind of long, but I thought it was so funny (love the end - you'll see!). Thanks to my friend Krissy for sending it through the email. Mothers and wives do so much and lots of times don't get the appreciation they deserve. I feel blessed that my husband does do and know lots of the below items, but there are still some things left up to mom! Hats off to all mothers and wives out there!

THE NEXT SURVIVOR SERIES
Six married men will be dropped on an island with one car and 3 kids each for six weeks. Each kid will play two sports and either take music or dance classes. There is no fast food. Each man must take care of his 3 kids; keep his assigned house clean, correct all homework and complete science projects, cook, do laundry, and pay a list of 'pretend' bills with not enough money. In addition, each man will have to budget in money for groceries each week.

Each man must remember the birthdaysof all their friends and relatives, and send cards out on time--no emailing. Each man must also take each child to a doctor's appointment, a dentist appointment and a haircut appointment. He must make one unscheduled and inconvenient visit per child to the Urgent Care. He must also make cookies or cupcakes for a social function.

Each man will be responsible for decorating his own assigned house, planting flowers outside and keeping it presentable at all times.The men will only have access to television when the kids are asleep and all chores are done. The men must shave their legs,wear makeup daily, adorn himself with jewelry, wear uncomfortable yet stylish shoes, keep fingernails polished and eyebrows groomed.

During one of the six weeks, the men will have to endure severe abdominal cramps, back aches, and have extreme, unexplained mood swings but never once complain or slow down from other duties. They must attend weekly school meetings, church, and find time at least once to spend the afternoon at the park or a similar setting. They will need to read a book to the kids each night, and in the morning feed them, dress them, brush their teeth and comb their hair by 7:00 am.

A test will be given at the end of the six weeks, and each father will be required to know all of the following information: each child's birthday, height, weight, shoe size, clothes size and doctor's name. Also the child's weight at birth, length, time of birth, and length of labor, each child's favorite color, middle name, favorite snack, favorite song, favorite drink, favorite toy, biggest fear and what they want to be when they grow up.

The kids vote them off the island based on performance.The last man wins only if...he still has enough energy to be intimate with his spouse at a moment's notice. If the last man does win, he can play the game over and over and over again for the next 18-25 years, eventually earning the right To be called Mother!

After you get done laughing, send this to as many females as you think will get a kick out of it and as many men as you think can handle it. Just don't send it back to me.... I'm going to bed.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Blogging

I just want to say that I love blogging! Not so much writing my own, but reading everyone else's thoughts, happenings, etc. Every time I get on to write I end up looking at all the other blogs for a few hours (yes, when I should be going to bed so I'm not a zombie the next day) and I laugh, cry, think, ponder, and feel more connected to those I love. Thanks for sharing everyone!

As for the Boams...I still haven't uploaded any photos to share recently, even though my camera sits right here on my (new) desk above the computer. Something really cool happened, though: I WON tickets to the BYU homecoming football game!!!! Wahoo! We had thought about going, then found out the tickets were sold out, so we were trying to think of another vacation...we had almost decided on the Bay Area, then I got an email saying I had won tickets to the BYU vs. Wyoming game (this past weekend). I wrote back saying we live in CA and wouldn't be in town, but could we trade for the Oct. 11 game...fully thinking the answer would be no. But they said YES!! I am so stoked. I've never won anything in my life (not even at high school grad night when everyone is supposed to win something), so I just think this is the best. So now we get to go visit family and friends in Utah and go to the game. Go Cougars!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Every Weekend

I feel like so much has happened in the last few weeks...I have a ton of photos I could post but by the time I download them to my computer and upload them to the blog, well, it could be a few hours. Mostly Kevin and I both feel like we've been inundated every weekend with extra church-related activities and have been inundated every week with the rest of our lives! It's just crazy. We need a vacation!!

It all started on August 15-16 with our ward campout, which as activities chairperson I had the joy of being in charge of. We didn't get much sleep but we had fun, and Emily especially enjoyed herself. Then the sleeplessness continued with the second week of the Olympics. I suppose we joined most of the country in staying up late to view the competition. It was worth it. What an amazing group of athletes from all over the world, and what wonderful shows (opening/closing ceromonies) put on by the Chinese people. Impressive!

The next weekend was spent calling people in town about Proposition 8, which is the constitutional amendment that we are trying to get passed in CA that will add to our state constitution that "Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid and recognized in the state of California." It's that simple. All you Californians out there - VOTE YES on PROP 8!! This is something our church leaders have asked us to be actively inolved with, and of course the Boams have been asked to serve on the committee to organize and recruit.

The next weekend was the annual grape harvest for the Church's welfare raisin farm. I could write a book on this, but let's just say hot, dirty, and full of little white spiders. Doesn't that sound fun?! It actually isn't that bad. My mom has come the past two years to help out (she couldn't make it this year because she was out of town) because she thinks it's so fun. I think she has become famous in our ward, possibly even our stake, because of it! Each ward has to harvest five rows of grapes. Now before you think, "that's not that much," realize that each row is about a mile long. Yes, that's right - you can't even see from end to end. But our awesome ward had over 100 people out, and we got it done in about five hours. It's kind of a bonding experience. And the harvest was HUGE! Probably the largest in many, many years. Some of the individual bunches of grapes weighed about 10 pounds I think. Like 18 inches long and 10 inches in diameter at the top. We're talking lots of grapes. You cut the grapes off the vines with a curved knife or little clippers and put them in a big round tub, which then gets dumped onto a large (probably 3' x 4') paper tray where they are left to dry into raisins in the hot CA sun. After they are dried you go back and "roll the trays", which I have personally never done but I think they just pick them up in such a manner that they don't spill out and take them to Sun-Maid Raisins for processing. They go into their special round cardboard containers marked with the Church's name, then they get shipped out wherever they are needed. They told us that some of the raisins from last year's harvest were already on their way to the areas being hit by the hurricanes. The picture, by the way, is from the harvest two years ago - I didn't take any this year, but take what's in the photo as far as grapes on the ground and multiply it by two - no dirt in between, just solid grapes and large piles of them on each paper tray!

Grapes August 30, then this past weekend we went out and knocked doors for Prop 8. Kevin and I took both kids and went as a family in support of Proposition 8. Fortunately we met lots of friendly people and not many unfriendly ones. We thought that at least if someone disagreed, they would be a little nicer in front of the kids, as opposed to the people who start yelling at you on the phone. But we mostly met nice people. We will probably go out and do it again some evening this week. Then this coming Saturday is the Relief Society Fall Social, which I am helping out with because I am the activities chairperson. Then I think the next Saturday will be a Primary activity as they prepare for their Sacrament meeting program. That's six straight Saturdays, people! Kevin and I talked it over yesterday and we decided it's a blessing to be able to serve so much. It does feel overwhelming sometimes, but we know that we will be blessed for giving of our time and means and following our leaders' requests for service.

Speaking of blessings, Kevin has finally been promoted to a Corporate Account Executive III at AT&T Mobility! Way to go Kevin! I say "finally" because they have offered it to him and he has accepted about four or five times over the past year, and for one reason or another (corporate restructuring, mostly), it has fallen through. So now he gets much bigger accounts to take care of and (hopefully) a much bigger paycheck. Wahoo! And what will we do with all the 'extra' dough (other than paying off all our debts little by little)? Kevin plans to wait until Black Friday (day after Thanksgiving) and go buy himself a large flat screen tv. As if we need another tv in this household!! Oh, well. Men will be men.

So anyhow, my Saturdays have not been used for cleaning my house, so it's a huge disaster, but other than that things are pretty much in order! Oh, did I mention Emily started a new preschool? She really likes it. Every day when I go to pick her up she doesn't want to leave because she wants to keep playing. It's so nice that she really likes it there! And Allison, well, she's pretty much the same, I guess. Still no sign of teeth coming in yet, and not yet crawling, so we'll keep you posted on that. Okay, now I'm going to bed!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Go USA!

Have you all been watching the Olympics? Ever since the amazing opening ceremonies, we have been glued to it almost nonstop! The highlight so far was the men's 4x100 relay last night...It didn't come on until almost midnight at our house, but I really wanted to see it so we stayed up and it was SO worth it! I was thrilled to see the US team come from behind to win by a split second. It was amazing. Michael Phelps just might get his eight gold medals after all. Go USA!!
I got in the patriotic spirit and put up some extra flags in the yard...I just love the Olympics and the national pride it brings out in us. I think it's really cool to see President Bush at so many of the events, too. He seems so excited to meet the athletes and support them. Despite what the media says, I think he is a great President. Did you all see him peppering with Misty May-Treanor? Sweet. And his father, George Bush Sr. was at the fencing matches (US women swept the medals) and then during the medals ceremony one of the girls was crying and he handed down his handkerchief to her. You just don't see that kind of stuff everyday from national leaders. What a great family.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Double Trouble

My sister Lisa gave us all a huge surprise yesterday: she's having twins!! We are all shocked but so excited for her. She has pretty rough pregnancies so it's like a two-for-one deal for her. The twins will be her 3rd and 4th, so she will officially have the most kids in the family. And no, twins do not run in our family, or her husband's, whatsoever. It is a total random occurrence and big happy surprise for all. Congratulations Lisa and Adam!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

A Really Big Sandwich

I've wanted to put this up for a long time now...a little over a month ago we decided to try out this new deli near us. For those of you in town, it's Yosemite something-or-other next to Broilers in the Target shopping center on Willow and Herndon. So we go in and they have this great menu full of sandwiches and salads and your normal deli-type items. I ordered a cobb salad, which was also gigantic, and Kevin got this ham and turkey sandwich. Yes, it is huge. The picture doesn't even do it justice. When you look at the menu and see $6.50 to $7.50 for a sandwich, you usually just think it is a little pricey. But I think there was actually about two pounds of meat alone on this sandwich, which is about the going price in the grocery store. Kevin ate half of if while we were there and the picture shows the other half we took home. It was at least 6 inches high, no kidding. Over four inches of meat and cheese alone. The bread was pretty huge, so when the whole thing came out it actually was wider than it was tall. Just enormous. And yes, it was tasty, too.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Thankful Thursday

It's been a really long time since I have done this...not for lack of gratitude but more for lack of time! Here we go:
  • Sleeping babies. Allison is so good at taking naps and sleeping all night. It makes my life so much easier.
  • Family visits. I had two of my sisters visit with their kids in the past month. It was so fun for all the kids to play and to get to talk face to face with my sisters.
  • Working from home. It's a tight balance sometimes, but it is just so nice to be able to have the satisfaction (and income!) of working but not have to sacrifice too much time with my kids and husband. I'm thankful that he works from home a lot, too.
  • McDonald's ice cream cones. Normally I'm not a big McDonald's fan, but they have had 59 cent ice cream cones for awhile and they been a great treat for Emily and me on a hot day. They are really yummy, I can't lie.
  • Blogs and Facebook. Both have helped me get back in touch with a lot of people over the past year or so, and it brings me joy to know what others are doing in their lives. Thanks for sharing, everyone!
  • Fresh fruit. We are blessed enough to have it in abundance here in Fresno. I love it.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Roly Poly

Allison kind of looks roly poly with her huge thigh chubs, but now she has the "roly" part down. Yesterday she rolled over from her tummy to her back for the first time. Now this might not seem like a big accomplishment for a near 7-month-old, but considering her big sister never rolled over until after she was crawling, it's a big deal for us. Yesterday I just thought I'd put her on her tummy for a little bit to see if she would play like that, but instead, over she went. So we kept putting her back and she kept rolling over. Way to go Allison!

video

While I am posting videos, here is another one from a few weeks ago of Allison in the bathtub. She would kick her legs and splash for a few seconds, then look up at me as if to get approval. She went on this way for nearly half an hour. I was laughing so hard!

video

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Catching Up

We've been so busy over the last month I have not gotten around to posting on the blog, but here is a short synopsis of a few of our recent activities:

Most notably, Emily turned FOUR YEARS OLD on June 10. Our little baby is no longer a baby, nor a toddler, but a full-blown little girl with ideas of her own and some attitude to go with it. Okay, I admit she still acts like a baby sometimes with tantrums and crying and all, but she is also getting big and smart and very independent. She learned to write her name all by herself a few weeks ago and likes to do grownup things like answering the phone and typing on her computer. She can type all the family's names by herself!

On the day of her birthday, we made cupcakes for her to take to her preschool class. She was excited to add the pink sprinkles on top and wear her favorite skirt outfit. She really likes to wear skirts all of a sudden, although we make her wear shorts under most of them so she doesn't end up showing off what's underneath!

I wanted to make Emily a special breakfast for her birthday, so I made her this parfait using green gogurt, blueberries, raspberries and an apricot on top. She was so excited about it that she didn't even eat it. I think she might have eaten some of the apricots off the top, but the rest ended up in the refrigerator for another week until I caved and dumped it in the trash. Next time I'll just put oatmeal in a fancy glass and call it good.

We let Emily choose anywhere she wanted to go for her birthday dinner. She chose Sonic Drive-In. It was a bit hot, but that's where she wanted to go, so that's where we went. I was kind of glad she didn't choose Chuck E Cheese or something!

The big 4-year-old birthday party was held at a place called "Pump It Up" where they have all kinds of inflatable slides, bounce-houses and obstacle courses for the kids to play on. It was a lot of fun for them and easy for us - we just show up, let the kids play for an hour, then go into a room for cake/ice cream and presents. Then we leave and don't have to clean up or anything. They even washed my ice cream scoop and cake server for me. It was awesome!

You might notice the random Aladdin and Jasmine figurines in front of the cake. Emily wanted a "Jasmine and Aladdin" cake for her birthday, but I didn't feel like trying to make one of those. So I made what I thought was a cute cake using her two favorite colors as decoration, thinking she would love it and forget all about Jasmine and Aladdin. Well lo and behold, when I excitedly showed her the cake in the fridge before the party, she asks, "Where's Jasmine and Aladdin?" Uh, oh. So I packed up the figurines, put them next to the cake at the party, and everyone was happy. Emily got her Jasmine and Aladdin cake after all.


In early June we also signed Emily up for a dance class (above) and a gymnastics class (below). She has fun and it keeps us busy when she is home all day.
Emily also had her very first checkup at the dentist. She did really well and had no cavities.
And Allison had her first taste of ice cream...

and popsicles. All in the same night. She loved them both!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Sitting Up

Look what I can do! Allison started sitting up by herself sometime last week. She can sit for about five minutes before tumbling over. She is growing so fast!


Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Happy 5 Months

Allison is five months old today! I can't believe how fast the time has gone by. She is such a cute little chubby baby and a good one, too. She sleeps all night and is happy all the time - it's great. We couldn't ask for a better baby. We love you, Allison! And just for fun, below is a photo of Emily when she was five months and two days (three and a half years ago!). We love you too, Emily!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

For the First Time

The last two weeks have been a little crazy with the weather here. In early May it was beautiful perfect weather, then all of a sudden it jumped up to 102 degrees for a few days, and now this weekend it's back to cold and rainy. What?? But thanks to the extra hot weather, we got to take the girls swimming - Allison's first time. We just went in the evening so it was still very warm but not hot burning sun, and Emily got to practice her swim skills she learned at her swim lessons last year and Allison got to get in the water (no photos of her actually in the water because Kevin was already soaked when we got in, so nobody took a picture). Emily's old swim pants fortunately fit Allison okay, so that was her suit. What a chub, huh? Allison was really calm in the water and I think she liked it...all great until Kevin suggested I take her in the baby pool and as I was stepping in some ladies sitting on the grass started yelling at me. At first I couldn't understand what they were saying until "poop in the water!" What? So sure enough, I look down and there is the hugest log sitting on the bottom next to the filter. NASTY! Needless to say I jumped right out and was thankful that I only got in a few steps up to my shins. YUCK YUCK YUCK! Good thing Allison was way up high and never touched the water. Well I was completely grossed out and still am just thinking about it. We got washed off and made darn sure Emily didn't go near that water!
After spending about an hour relearning her swimming, Emily got to have some real fun getting pitched out of the water by her dad. That girl has no fear in the water.

We also did some experimental cooking that weekend. When it gets so hot we don't like to use the oven so we try to cook on the grill a lot or just use the stovetop. I had read about grilling on cedar planks in the Costco magazine and when I saw them for sale at Costco I thought we should give it a try. You soak the plank in water for a couple hours then cook your food on it on the grill. We tried some salmon and it was pretty tasty. Every summer I think we should get all fancy cooking on the grill and we have yet to do much more than hamburgers, hotdogs and steak. Maybe this year we'll go gourmet...

Allison is learning to grab things with her hands and feet. It is so fun to watch her exploring everything with her eyes and trying to grab things. She is almost proficient and grabbing things and putting them in her mouth, but not quite.

Can we say CHUBBERS? Or as my mom lovingly calls them, pudgies. I love chunky babies!
Oh, and we're working on sitting up. So far she does pretty well supported and can sit up a few seconds on my lap, but that's about it. I love this picture, though. So cute!
And finally, a word about Emily. Slug Bug! Okay, that's two words. Emily learned the slug bug game from one of her grandmas and is now completely obsessed. And she has the rest of us obsessed too. We can't get in the car without scanning the entire road for a slug bug. Emily keeps track each day and gives us an accounting at the end of the day: "Daddy got three slug bugs - red, blue and black; and I got four slug bugs - silver, red, yellow and blue...." I am amazed that she can remember every single one. The funny thing is, if we spot one first and call it out she'll say "I was just about to get that one!" even if she still hasn't even seen it yet. Ha. There may be a little competitive spirit in her after all. Slug bug orange!

And we mustn't forget...farmers markets! Below is a photo of Emily eating a strawberry from the first famers market we went to this season. Here in Fresno they have some sort of market just about every day. Our favorite is the one in old town Clovis (it's like a historic downtown full of antique shops and what not). Every Friday night they shut down two blocks of the main street and have all the vendors, live music, food and children's activities. We went two weekends ago for the first time this year (the super duper hot weekend) and we could smell the strawberries all the way from across the street. I can't even say how good the produce is - everything is picked fresh from the farm usually that morning and they have all the fruits and vegetables you can think of. That night we got blueberries, raspberries, apricots, honey, strawberries and cherries and I think we ate all of it within about two days. It is soooo good. Probably the best thing about living here in the valley. I don't think I have ever seen the variety of fresh food anywhere else. And it's always perfectly ripe and delicious, and best of all, affordable!

So it's starting to feel like summer. Despite the harsh wind and rain we've had this past week, all the summertime fun has arrived. Swimming, grilling, farmers markets...love it!