Thursday, February 12, 2015

Another Month Bites the Dust

It's amazing how time flies! I can't believe it is halfway through February all ready. January just flew by so quickly. We began the year with a trip to Disneyland. It was a great time of the year and I took the 3 younger ones out of school. CJ already had the time off from school. I let CJ take a friend and she chose Taylor.  I'm glad she chose Taylor. Taylor loved the little kids and was fun to be with. We stayed in a nice hotel, which was 100 times better than the last one. The only unfortunate thing about this trip was that I was sick the whole time. I actually got sick a week before and was feeling better than the first week, which was good but it still wasn't a ton better.  Luckily, I made it though and was glad I came. I was tempted to stay at home and let Ben take the kids-that's how bad I was feeling. All in all, a good trip.

The next exciting thing was that Ben and I celebrated our 13th anniversary by going ziplining. It was super fun and something I've never really tried. Especially, on this scale. We were ziplining from tree to tree never touching the ground until the very end. It was a fun experience and I would totally do it again!

This year is the "Year of the Bike Ride", we will be heading on adventures on the trails. I got a new mountain bike which I am so excited about. I even recently went mountain biking on some super muddy trails. So messy but really fun!

We have been super blessed with great weather along with some good rainy days. California weather is awesome!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving in December!

Each year my blogging skills get less and less impressive. But I will keep trying because the fate of my "Family Yearbook" depends on it! And that is something that I love making each year. 

This Thanksgiving we decided to stick around and have dinner in our new home. We invited anyone from our new ward who didn't have a place to go to come to our house. That could have been an "invitation of masses" and surprisingly went the other way! Everyone seemed to have a place to go! Luckily, I still had friends in our old ward who came over.

Let me just tell you, this is the way to do thanksgiving. We had the Lemieuxs and two of the Lenininger family over and we just split everything up! It was awesome and not hard at all and not a burden to any one person. 

So, invite a ton of people to thanksgiving dinner and spread out the assignments and it will be grand!

Before the dinner, we organized a turkey bowl game. I was wondering how that would turn out especially since our track record wasn't so great. The first year we tried to organize one it was Ben, our brother in law and one other person. It ended up being the best we ever organized. There were about 22 people and I even got to play a little.

The kids and I made table decorations which was really quite fun. We gathered things from our backyard that was fall like. I couldn't believe at all the things that we found. From pinecones to pine needles to leaves and cool green spikey things, we had the best table decorations.

The turkey cooked nicely. I was so nervous about it since I was cooking it for other people. I think turkey is overrated. I really think that chicken has a better taste. We had a ton of food and pies!
 We stuffed ourselves and then the grownups got to play games. BEST. THANKSGIVING. EVER.

Friday, September 26, 2014

It's almost October by golly!

I can't believe how quick time flies! It's almost October and from there on out the rest of the year will become a blur.  Since school has started, I have never felt so busy and exhausted. Maybe it's because we no longer live across the street from the highschool and I now have to pick up CJ every day and two days a week she gets out at different times or that Xander is in soccer and scouts, or that Zoey is in kindergarten, gymnastics and dance, or that Mia is taking piano lessons now.

Whatever it is, I am so busy that the three hours that Zoey is gone feels like minutes. In my garage, pieces of furniture that need refinishing and painting remain untouched, books I swore I would read when the kids started school remain unread, or the genealogy I was going to do remains undone.

I do try to squeeze in some photography work here and there or a workout.  I do feel like I am in the car ALOT taking kids here or there. Mom Taxi. . . that phrase is so true!

CJ tried out for her first school play, although she didn't get the part I think she learned a lot and I hope she tries out for the spring play. I was so proud of her for trying. It takes a lot of courage to do what she did.

She also had a sad unforeseen loss in her life. Her friend from church, seminary and school passed away suddenly.  It was so so so sad.  It was amazing how the community came together to buoy up and support this family.  I know that there were many prayers on their behalf from friends, family and from people they didn't even know. CJ is doing well now, she had some rough days. It's been tough on all the youth in the stake.

I took his last professional pictures and I enlarged it and framed it for his family for the funeral. I was glad I was able to do something for the family because it breaks my heart. My heart aches for them. I love photography for many reasons but one of the biggest reasons why I love it, is being able to capture a moment. Moments come and go and they are never the same.  When you take a picture you capture that moment which will never happen again. And then with that picture, you can enjoy and relive that moment again and again and again. His mother, my friend, appreciated this gift because as she said, this is how she will always remember him. . . alive. Ironically, the outfit that I photographed him in was the one he was buried in. Photography brings me happiness and I am so happy that it can also bring peace and comfort to my friends.

Mia is taking piano lessons right now.  I love having a piano! It's great because Mia comes home and teaches Xander and Xander teaches Zoey. Her anxiety causes some frustration but hasn't been an issue which I am so grateful for.

Xander is playing soccer right now and is a superstar. I am always amazed how talented he is on the field. He's not the fastest. He's not the most skilled. He's not aggressive. But there is something about him that makes him very successful on the field. He analyzes and anticipates his opponent's move. He also really uses his head thinking about the best place to throw in the ball or to kick it.  It's like if you have ever seen a show on TV where the person throughts are written on the screen. I can envision Xander's thought process all over the place with arrows, formulas, and foresight.

Zoey is doing dance and gymnastics and is loving kindergarten. In fact, the first day of school that I picked her up she was so mad at me because I wasn't picking up Xander and Mia as well.  That they got to stay longer. She wants to be a big kid so bad and do everything her siblings do. She loves doing gymnastics and dance.  I enjoy her so much! She is my sunshine and I like having time with just her before the big kids get home. She loves to read and be read to. 

We are enjoying our new home and it's feels like we have lived there longer than four months but that is all it's been. Life is good. So good!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Xander got Baptized!

Xander got baptized a day after his birthday on August 23,2014. What was epic about his baptism is that both sets of grandparents were able to come.  We had a ton of fun the week of his baptism. 

We went to the Academy of Sciences with grandma and grandpa Armstrong. We also took them to Tilden Park where we rode the train and fed the animals at the farm. It was chilly that day, a whopping 60 degrees-ish and our poor Californian bodies froze. Grandma too, but just because she's old! Just kidding Mom! You're still 21!

Ben and I and my parents have a Euchre tournament each time we see each other. Lots of smack talk happens but ultimately, my parents continue to hold the title of "euchre champions"! I love being able to play even if it is just once a year. A great tradition when they come and visit us each time!

When Ben's parents arrived, we headed to Santa Cruz. What a beautiful yet, windy day! We played at the beach and some of us took a stroll down the boardwalk. 

We hung out until we got tired and then got some yummy icecream!  Good thing we had a yummy treat because we spent the next 3 hours getting home! This picture the kids were being funny. Grandpa Armstrong told Grandma to get a picture of the kids against the wall. So here they are against the wall!

Xander's baptism day was busy! We checked out the swap meet before heading to Xander's birthday party at the rock climbing gym. I spent more money than I wanted to on the party but in the end, it was worth it! With family in town it would have been hard to do a party yet alone plan it! Plus, Xander had such a great time. He was a natural climbing up those walls. Plus, Mia and Zoey both had a great time as well!

The actual baptism was awesome! Grandpa Porter spoke on baptism and CJ sang with her friend musical number. We had some technical difficulty but, whatever right? Sometimes that happens!

Xander had a great week! It was exhausting to me especially having to go right into starting school the next week but we did it, yay! Happy birthday to the greatest, smartest, kindest, and most handsomest boy in the world! We love you!

Friday, June 20, 2014

The Kiddos

Xander never ceases to amaze me! His class voted him "funniest" person in the class. That really surprised me until the teacher said that Xander trys to make people laugh when they are sad. And that is spot on! He is so kind and aware of others and their feelings. As he walked up to get his award and came back to his seat, he walked like a T-Rex with tiny arms. The class all laughed. 

CJ was such a trooper! One week she had oral surgery where she got out two of her wisdom teeth and a chain was put on an impounded tooth that had not come through yet. The idea is that they hook that chain to the wire of her braces and slowly over time bring that tooth down. She was amazing and the oral surgeon was very impressed with her. A week later, she got braces. Her appointment was 2 1/2 hours long! Crazy! I think she looks super cute in them. She says she likes her smile better with braces.

Mia is busy working on birthday gifts. Here she is busy sewing a United States flag for Zoey, our Fourth of July baby. She was so clever that with the "free foot" that allows you to go all over the fabric, that she made stars. She is super thoughtful and she just has to have a gift for everyone on their birthday.  Birthdays are special with Mia!

Zoey loves butterflies so much! We went to the Academy of Sciences in San Franscisco a couple of weeks ago. They have a rainforest that you can go through and at the very top, there are oodles of butterflies flying around. If you are lucky, you can get one to land on your hand. Zoey is obsessed with butterflies! So much so that her birthday party this year is all about butterflies and well. . .some insects too because she's got a lot of friends that are boys. Every day she asks when her birthday is. She just loves her birthday. Now that I think of it, all of my kids love their birthday!

How can I forget about my biggest kid? Ben has been wanting a Playstation 4 for the longest time. I haven't been wanting to shell out the $500 for it especially since we just bought a house. Well the other day, Ben got a letter from Advanta stating that he was entitled to part of a retirement settlement. Ben worked there for 5 years and he thought he would get .30 cents or something like that. Turns out he got $500! Just enough to buy the Playstation 4! His dreams came true and I can continue to be husband less on Thursday nights when he plays online with his other 30 something year old homies.

Oh life is good!