Monday, December 31, 2007

Reflections



Wow, I can hardly believe this is the last day of the year. Seems like the year flew by almost without me realizing it. I realize that I have so much to be thankful for...great family and friends, healthy kids, my own health. 2007 was a pretty good year overall.
Thinking back I really can't think of too many bad things. The worst of course was the October wildfires that caused us to evacuate, but even then we were able to return home and had no damage to anything. I enjoyed going to Puerto Rico in April, it was warm and we got to go swimming almost every day. The ocean water was so blue and clear...and warm. I also loved going back to Nebraska in August to see my family. I just wish it could have been a longer trip so that I could have visited friends too. Most of the rest of the year was spent doing things with and for my kids. Peter played baseball and football. Liam played soccer for the first time. We went on a couple of camping trips and a family vacation to the Grand Canyon and New Mexico. Now, my boys have both had their birthdays and are a year older...Peter is 9 now and Liam is 5. I can honestly say that I don't know where the time has gone since they were born. I love those two boys so very much and I know how blessed I am to have them.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Grand Canyon

Well, I'm a little behind on posting about vacation. But, better late than never huh? We decided to take a trip to the Grand Canyon and New Mexico over fall break. It was a much needed vacation and I loved it!!!

Saturday morning we got up early and headed out. We got to the Grand Canyon about 3pm. This is the entrance gate to the Grand Canyon.
As we were driving into the park we saw a deer eating grass along side of the road.

Then we got our first view of the canyon, which was an amazing sight.

We took a ton of pictures of the canyon during the 3 days we spent there. Sunday we got up early and decided to go to church a small Catholic chapel on park grounds. As we were driving around looking for the chapel we saw4-5 large elk walking across a parking lot as if it was the most normal thing in the world. A little farther down the road we saw 2 more walkng through another parking lot. I had never seen an elk up close in the wild. They are rather amazing creatures.




After church we went for a short hike on the rim trail near our hotel. We were looking for fossils, because one of the rangers had told us that just off the trail there was a rock ledge with a lot of fossils. We didn't find the fossils because I was leary about getting too far off trail. We ended up walking to a shuttle stop and caught the shuttle up to a few more overlooks, and then back down to near our hotel. We ate an early supper and went to bed around 8p.

Monday we got up about 6am and headed out to tackle the Bright Angel Trail. This is one of the most popular trails in the park, and is the one that leads all the way down to the Colorado river. It is also the one that the mule trains use to take people to the bottom of the canyon. We decided that we were going to do a short portion of the trail and only go to the "mile and a half" rest house. (That means 3 miles round trip). I was very nervous about this hike because I am terrifed of heights and there are no guardrails along the trail. I kept dreaming about falling down the side of the canyon while I was sleeping Sunday night.


These two pictures show the view from the trail, and the second one shows part of the trail itself. I am really glad that I went on the hike because there were some amazing views and great geology. Having said that, I don't desire to ever hike this trail again...don't think my heart could take another hike like that...talk about facing your fears!!!

On our way back up from the rest house we were taking a rest and looked up the trail and saw a mule train coming down.

We ended up seeing several of these mule groups on the way up, which was nice because it gave us a chance to take a break. Going up was MUCH rougher than going down. When we were just about back up to the top...about a half mile away or so...we saw a bunch of people standing on the trail and wondered what they were up to. As we got nearer we heard them saying that there was big horn sheep up ahead. I looked up and saw one on the hill. That got me moving faster because I wanted to get close enough to get a picture before people scared it away. When we got closer I saw that there were actually several big horn sheep on the cliff above the trail. They blended in really well so they were hard to see from a distance. Here's a good picture of one of them:


After taking pictures for a while, we headed up the rest of the trail and finished our hike in a little under 4 hours. Don't we look happy.



We went back to the hotel and took a short nap and then went back to the rim trail to find the fossils again, but it was getting dark so again we had no luck!!! We ate supper and were in bed by 7:30p.


On Tuesday we were all a little sore from our hike so we decided to drive to one of the gift shops to look for a tshirt for me. I wanted one that said "I hiked the Grand Canyon!" I ended up getting one that said "Bright Angel Trail" on the front and had a map of the trail on the back. When we were driving around we saw more deer. One by the side of the road, and a whole family of deer crossing the road in front of us.

















On Wednesday we got up early and headed to New Mexico for a visit with Ben's brother Michael. I'll do another post about our sightseeing on the way to New Mexico.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Ramblings

Well, this is it...the last week of football practice. The final game is Saturday, but Peter will not be there because we are headed to the Grand Canyon for a family vacation. Originally we planned to attend the game and then head out on our road trip, but since the game isn't until 4pm we figure that we don't want to get THAT late of a start. It will take us between 9 and 10 hours to reach the Grand Canyon. We are going to stay there until Wednesday and then head to New Mexico to spend Thanksgiving with Ben's brother Michael. The boys sure are looking forward to seeing their uncle. We will head back to Poway on Saturday morning early. I am really looking forward to our week away. It will give us a chance to relax and have some real family time.
Peter is really enjoying school. He is doing really well too. He got his report card on Friday and had excellent grades. We are really proud of how he does in school.
Liam hasn't gotten his "report card" from preschool, but I will be anxious to see that. I feel like he has really learned a lot already in preschool. His teacher always raves about what a polite child he is....boy does he have her fooled!!! HA!! Really, he is a great kid.
I am a lucky mom to have such great kids.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Thankful

Today I am thankful for a slow pace day. I only have a few things on my "have to do" list and those things won't take too much of my time. I got to spend time playing a game with Liam this morning and I think that we both enjoyed the game.
Tomorrow Ben and Liam are heading out to the cub scout campout in the desert. Peter and I are going to attend Peter's football game on Saturday and then head out to the desert to join Ben and Liam. Liam is really excited about getting some one on one time with daddy. He has been talking about it almost nonstop all week. This morning he asked if he could pack yet. I will miss him tomorrow night, but I know that he will be having a great time. And besides, it's only one night.
Not too much else going on in my life right now, which is something else to be thankful for.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Day after the fire pics

This is the sunset on Tuesday night after the fires.
No, it's not smog....it's smoke from the wildfires. The hill in the background is Mt. Woodson. Mt. Woodson was still burning when this picture was taken.
Another picture of the sunset.
This is ash and soot in our apartment complex swimming pool. It actually doesn't look too bad in this picture, but it was really gross.

Random pictures

This is a picture of Peter and Liam's design they made with all their matchbox cars.
Peter is sitting on a hay bale in front of the pumpkins at the cub scout pumpkin patch trip.
Liam is taking a pony ride. He loves riding horses.
Aren't they adorable boys?????
This is a picture of the sunset the night we returned from evacuation from the fires. I will post better pics of the sunset later.


Thursday, November 1, 2007

update

As of yesterday the wilderfire that ravaged our area of southern CA was 100% contained with full control expected by Nov. 5th. What this means is that there is no active out of control fire anymore, but that there are still smoldering embers in some spots. So things around here are pretty much back to normal. Although, we have been hearing the weather report that we may be having Santa Ana winds starting tomorrow throughout the weekend. So, pretty much everyone here is a little on edge. Santa Ana winds by themselves aren't such a big deal, but the fact that they also signal high temps, low humidity and strong winds. Those three things are bad news in our drought sticken area.
Yesterday I really knew that life was back to normal. I took Peter to school in the morning then went home for about 30 minutes. Liam and I then went back to Peter's school for a halloween party. I was in charge of helping the kids in the class make rice krispie monsters. I mixed up a batch of rice krispies and then plopped some on waxed paper and the kids molded them into monsters. It was messy, but fun. Then I took Liam to his preschool and dropped him off, then back to Peter's school to help out with the afternoon activites. Then back to Liam's school to pick him up. We went home for 30 minutes and gathered our halloween costumes and headed to football practice. After football practice the kids changed into their costumes and we went trick or treating. Then we came home and off to bed.
Today Liam has speech therapy and tonight we are going to watch a football game.
I love my life and am so thankful for my family and friends.
I'll post some halloween pics soon.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

What to take in an evacuation

Around here, there is often talk about having a kit ready for evacuation with important papers and pictures and such. But when it comes time to evacuate, deciding what you need is really more difficult than you would think. I know this first hand after evacuating my home on Monday. As we were sitting safely at a friend's home I kept thinking about all the things I could have brought. It was intimidating when the notice to evacuate came and it was hard to think at that time what to take. So now, I am trying to think about calmly what I would take if I was evacuate again. Here is my list:

1. My kids and husband
2. Inhalers
3. clothes
4. pictures
5. bank statements/checks/credit cards
6. birth certificates and S.S. cards
7. camera
8. sleeping bags
9. pillows
10. board games/card games
11. a book or two

That is all I can think about right now.
What would you take in an emergency evacuation???

Evacuation Story

Sunday afternoon Ben took the boys out for a geo-cache hike around Poway. They came home about 1:30 and I was out getting Saturday's mail. As we walked back inside I looked to the East and saw haze in the sky and I remarked to Ben that it looked like smoke from a fire. We came inside and turned on the tv to check what was going on. At that point they said there were 2 brush fires. One large 400 acre fire South of us, and one small 100 acre fire to the East of us about 30 miles. Since neither fire was larger than normal we weren't too worried. But we kind of kept an eye on the news. As the day went on it became obvious that these were not "normal" brush fires. The Santa Ana winds were blowing and the fire was moving quickly. Around 6p the fire was hitting the town of Ramona and was growing by the minute. The county assigned Poway High School as an evacuation sight. The water dropping helicopters that could fly couldn't see through the heavy smoke to drop any water. I knew at this point that it was going to be a long night of watching the television. At about 11p the county evacuated the Poway High School evacuation sight and I started getting a little nervous. By this time the fire was about 10 miles East/Northeast. I packed up some clothes and photo albums and bank statements/checks. Then I went back to watching the television. I stayed up most of the night watching television, only dozing now and then. At about 4am, the fire was to the East and North of us. The fire was moving Southwest and neighborhoods within 5 miles of our home were being evacuated and the fire was raging. At 5am Northeast Poway was under Mandatory evacuation. At this point I woke Ben up and told him he needed to be ready to head out if we got the notice to go. I watched and waited some more. About noon the sky around Poway was clear and blue so I thought we would be safe. I sent an email to my parents and sister letting them know that I was safe and probably wouldn't need to evacuate. I then went and started some mac and cheese for Peter and Liam and just as I was stirring in the cheese one of my neightbors knocked on the door and told us that he had just gotten a reverse 911 call to evacuate. We had not received a call, so I called 211 which had a live person to talk to. When I spoke to the woman I asked her if I was supposed to evacuate and she told me that all of Poway was now under mandatory evacuation. I put the mac and cheese in bowls. Ben helped the boys get their shoes on and grabbed a couple of other things. Then we loaded up in the car and ash was blowing all around us. We started calling friends to make sure they were evacuating too. Then we went about trying to figure out where we were going to stay for the night. One of the men that Ben works with offered to let us stay at his home, so we headed to his house and spent the night there. Around 11am on Tuesday we heard that Poway residents could return home, so we packed up and headed home. About halfway home we heard that Poway was NOT open after all, but we decided to try to go home anyway. As we pulled into our parking lot we got the official notice that our address in Poway was clear to come back to. It is pretty smoky around here, but safe. Last night Ben and I went outside and looked towards Mt. Woodson and we could see large flames burning on the mountain. Fire crews were on the mountain and so we weren't very concerned. As long as there are fires anywhere in SanDiego I will be aware of what is going on and ready to evacuate. In another post I am going to post about deciding what to take in an evacuation.

Friday, October 19, 2007

TGIF

Thank goodness it's Friday. I really am thankful it's Friday. I do not have too much to do today and it is a great feeling. There are lots of things that I COULD do today, but I think maybe I've earned at least a part day break.
I feel like I am really missing family and friends lately. I haven't had much time to connect. Blogging is great for reaching everyone at once, but not so great for a more personal touch.
Last Friday I went to the pumpkin patch with Liam and his preschool class. It was actually really fun!!! There were lots of parents there, so I only had to keep track of Liam and it made it a special day for us.
Here's a couple of pictures, Liam in the pumpkin patch and Liam's preschool class on the hay bales.

Aren't they cute???? Mrs. Kemper (the teacher) is in the second picture.




This was Liam's first field trip ever and his first time on a school bus. He was so excited all week about riding the school bus. Isn't he adorable.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

My week at a glance

I decided to blog about the things I need to do this week not so that people will feel sorry for me, but so that I can have a little back up to my memory. So bear with me and if you don't feel like reading, don't worry I will try to write something more interesting later...maybe Thursday.
Here goes....

Monday: Take Peter to school, workout, go to the bank, pick up surveys from printer, order jacket and blanket, stop by home to pick up a snack for Liam at school, take Liam to school, go to Peter's school to volunteer, call my sister to wish her a happy birthday, go pick up Liam from school, home for 5 minutes to let Peter change into football uniform and then out the door to a Catholic scouting medal meeting, to the football practice, take Jens home and pick up Liam, eat supper and watch a little tv, then finally BED!!!!

Tuesday: Take Peter to school, come home and start laundry, while laundry is going clean out car and then vacumn and wipe out with wet towel, finish laundry, blog, take Liam to speech therapy, pick up Peter from school, come home for 30 minutes so Peter can work on homework, head to CCD, come home and make supper, eat, head out to Poway Pop Warner board meeting, come home and off to bed I go.

Wednesday: Take Peter to school, go to work, take Liam to preschool and stay to volunteer, pick up Peter from friend's house, run home and get Peter to do a little homework and then change for football practice. Drop Liam off at Jens' house and pick up Jens. Take Jens and Peter to football practice. Take Jens home and pick up Liam, come home and make supper, watch tv and go to bed.

Thursday: Take Peter to school,workout, do housework, take Liam to speech therapy, pick up Peter from school, have Peter do homework and then head out to sell popcorn for cub scouts. Go to family fun night at school?? Make supper, watch The Office, and got to bed.

Friday: Take Peter to school, workout, make Liam lunch and snack for school, take Liam to preschool, pick up Peter from school, pick up Liam from preschool, make sure Peter gets changed for football practice, take Liam to Jens' and take Jens and Peter to football, take Jens home and pick up Liam, make supper, go to bed.

Saturday: Up by 6 so that we can be to the high school by 6:45, set up football field for the day, watch Peter's game, volunteer at the board booth for one or more games, watch football on tv, relax, relax, relax!!!!

Sunday: Go to church, workout, ????

So there's a small glimpse of my week. Some of my days don't seem so busy so I'll have to see what else I can get accomplished on those days.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Conforming

I woke up this morning thinking about blogging. In my haze of tiredness I was thinking about how my blogs just aren't as thought provoking or entertaining as most of the other blogs I read. So I was thinking about how I could change my blog to better "fit in" to the blogging community. What I finally came up with is that I don't want to change my blog. I started blogging with the purpose of keeping family and friends involved in my life and knowing what I've been up to.
I've never really been one to worry a whole lot about "fitting in" because I feel like I am a good person most of the time and that people who know me and are friends with me know my true self. I have quite a bit of gray hair and I refuse to dye it because I feel that would take away from who I am. I have lots of relatives that went gray early on in life and I figure why fight heredity. I don't want to say that people who dye their hair are less confidant in themselves or shallow in any way. I think that every person needs to do what feels right for them instead of following one group or another. I think it's most important to be true to yourself.
I also don't really "fit in" with many of the mom's at school, because I find it hard to pretend to like someone that I really don't like. I'm not real good at keeping my thoughts to myself and I don't feel comfortable talking to another parent just to get gossip about someone else.
I find myself irritated at people who only pretend to be my friend and talk to me when they want to know something. It makes me feel like I am being used. Part of the reason that I know things others want to know is because I take time to LISTEN to what is going on around me. I also take time to join committees and boards so that I can know what is going on. I want to be one of the people who does something to make a diffence in my community. I get really tired of listening to people complaining about this or that and yet if you ask that person to join a commitee they say something such as, "what good would that do?". The only way to make change is to be INVOLVED.
So, since I am bucking conformism my blog will continue to be about things that are important to me and hopefully my friends and family. Hope you all have a great week.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Scheduling

Okay, so I'm taking a minute to post to tell everyone that I have NO TIME for blogging as of late. Today was the busiest day that I've had this week, but almost all my days have been busy.
Today I left home at 7:45 and dropped Peter off at school, then headed for work and worked until 11:40. I left work and stopped at a drive thru to pick Liam up some lunch and then took him to preschool. I came home and ate a little lunch and headed to the gym for a quick workout, then to the doctor for a follow up on my bronchitis (all gone...feeling MUCH better). Then back to Peter's school to pick him up and then off to Liam's preschool to pick him up. I am home for a total of a little over an hour right now and then it is off to football practice til about 8p tonight, then home to make dinner and get kids ready for bed.
So, that is a good example of why I have been absent from the blogging world and communicating with my family. Only a little over a month left of football, and then I'll have a little more "free" time.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Time flies

Well, it's already Wednesday and I feel like I haven't had time to enjoy the week so far. Monday I took Liam to preschool and then helped out in Peter's classroom. Both boys had school pics Monday, so look for some cute pics (hopefully) soon. Tuesday I worked in the morning and then took Liam to see the speech therapist for another "test". He will have his IEP next Monday. Then it was time to pick up Peter from school and run a couple of errands. We got home in enough time for Peter to change for football practice and me to load the dishwasher and then we were off to football. We came home and had supper about 8 and then the boys were off to bed. Today I am getting ready to go help out in Liam's classroom and then after that I think that we can just come home and relax a little tonight. Can you believe it??? I don't actually have anything planned for tonight???? Tomorrow we will have football practice again and Friday the boys both have off from school so we might go to Legoland with friends and then that night Peter has football practice again. I love being busy and it actually helps me be more organized and get more done. I must say that I will enjoy one quiet night tonight. Next week CCD will start again, so Peter will be extra busy on Tuesdays, with both CCD and football practice.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Evaluation today

Today I took Liam for an evaluation by the Poway Unified School District Preschool Assessment Team. As expected, they noted that he needs further evaluation for his speech. So in two weeks I take him back again for a half hour assessment where they give him a speech test and then they will write up an IEP and get speech services started for him.
While I was waiting for him to get his assessment another mom came and sat down beside me and asked me what my child was here for. I told her speech, and she told me that she brought her son to be evaluated because...and I quote here..."he's not normal". She went on to tell me that he won't wear tennis shoes and so he can't go to preschool. (Here in beautiful southern CA it is not allowable for kids to wear sandals to school.) She told me that she has been told that he may have Asperbergers and she was really hoping that she brought him to the right place. She wanted to find out what was going on with her son so that she could get him help. I could tell she needed to talk, so I tried to just let her get it out. I told her that I have a little experience with Aspergers and I don't feel that it means there is something "wrong" with a kid. I truly believe that EVERYONE has some sort of disablility and the disability is part of what makes us special. I don't mean to downplay the struggle and grief that families whose children have "diagnosed disabilities", but rather just hate to see any child carry around a label of DISABLED. As if that is the only thing about them that matters. I spent 13 years working in the developmental disability field and I met some of the most truly amazing humans around. They did things despite their disabilities, and taught me how much potential is in every human being.
I hope that the mother I met today gets a diagnosis so that she can get help for her son. Even though I have never met this woman before I wish her the best.

Monday, September 17, 2007

can't...stop...whining....

I am now reduced to very few days of blogging. I guess it's okay, so that I might actually come up with something interesting to say.
I had less than a spectacular weekend. Saturday started off with Peter's football game at 10am. The game did not go well. Actually, it was HORRIBLE. Not only did the team lose 27-8, but Peter did not get much playing time. All week he had been practicing at his usual spot, which is first string defensive right tackle. But on Saturday when they called for the first string defense and Peter went in, the coach sent him back out because he had replaced Peter's starting position. Even that wouldn't have been a big deal if he had just TOLD Peter ahead of time. Peter was upset and pouted for most of the game because he didn't get to play much defense. Then when he finally got to go in for a series he didn't do very well. It's really hard for Peter to not be the the best at everything. It's good for him I know, but it was hard to see him so upset. Peter was not the only kid whose position was changed for the game and the kids seemed a little confused about what they had done "wrong" and why they lost their positions. So I am a bit irritated at the coach right now.
Then there was Nebraska's loss to USC...UGH!!!! That is all I can say about that.
Yesterday was a little better, we just took it easy most of the day. I did help the boys clean their room and that made me feel like some order was being restored to our home.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

New site

Hey all,
Just wanted to let you know that while reading my blogs today I came across a great blog site. You can post annoymously about anything you want. A great way to vent about things that we couldn't always vent about in our own blog because we wouldn't want to hurt someone's feelings. Check it out if you want. It's called Mom's Turn. http://www.moms-turn.net
Hope you enjoy it.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Rembering 9/11

Tomorrow will mark the 6th anniversary of 9/11. I am still to this day horrified by what the terrorists did. I am not living my life in fear of what may come, but I am aware that this country that I love is in danger. I think that too many people have forgotten the feelings that they had on that day. Living in California is like living in a whole other country. Because the attacks happened in New York, people here seem to be very removed from the whole fear and anger that people on the East coast and even in the Midwest felt that day.
I will always remember that I was at work and Michael was in the cubicle next to me. All of the sudden Michael poked his head over his cubicle and told me that he had just heard that a plane hit the world trade center. I turned on my radio as did several other people in the office and we were listening to reports when the second plane hit the tower. We all went to the break room and turned on the television and saw the media showing the second plane hitting the building. We all knew at that point that it was a terrorist attack. I called Ben and woke him up and told him to turn on the tv because 2 planes had crashed into the trade center. He thought I was joking at first. I left my office and drove to one of the workshops to visit clients and there was literally NO traffic on the streets. It was very eerie. When I got almost to the workshop I saw a man dressed in fatigues driving toward downtown to the National Guard station. I made my visit and headed back to the office. It was hard to concentrate that day not knowing what was going to happen next. Then came word that the pentagon had been hit and there was at least one plane still unaccounted for. All other planes had been landed safely. We all waited to hear reports of where that last plane was. When we heard that it crashed in a field there was almost a sense of relief, because at least another building hadn't been hit. Now, all the planes were down, but were there more terrorists on some of the planes that landed that were now going to carry out some other horrible act. Also, there was concern over whether the president would be coming to Omaha, since there is a safe bunker there for him. If the terrorists knew about that, would they come to Nebraska? I wanted to go home, but I had meetings that night and when I finally got home at 7p that night I hugged my child and my husband and sat entranced in the images of the day. I never want to forget that feeling, because it keeps me aware that the United States is no longer completely safe from terrorists.
A family friend had a daughter who died in the trade center that day. So in rememberance of her and all the other people who died that day I wanted to say that I have not forgotten.

catching up

What a great weekend this was!!! On Saturday, Peter's football team won their game 33-14. Winning sure feels good. Peter did a great job and made 2 sacks and 4 tackles, and recovered a fumble. This last week the coach decided to have Peter play BOTH offense and defense, so he played quite a bit. He really seems to enjoy football. He looks so tough and grown up in his uniform. I will try to post some pics soon. Sunday we had football pictures, and we tried to get a "buddy" picture of Liam and Peter together, but Liam decided that he didn't want his picture taken and refused to smile nicely...so we are going to have some interesting pictures. Oh well...gotta love em.
Liam has been sick for the past week. I took him to preschool on Wednesday and towards the end he told me his head hurt and he went and curled up on a pillow. Then when the group was having circle time he didn't want to stand up. He told the teacher his head hurt, but she didn't understand him so he stood up. When I looked over at him he was VERY pale and was holding his stomach. I walked over to the circle and I was talking to him. The assistant teacher came over and asked what was wrong and I told her that he wasn't feeling good. Since there was only 5 minutes left in class, we went ahead and left. I drove over to Peter's friends house to pick up Peter and Liam slept a little. When we were on our way home Liam woke up and started crying and when I asked him what was wrong he opened his mouth to talk and instead threw up all over the car. I took him home and put him to bed. On Friday he still had a fever and a cough, so I took him to the doctor and he has bronchitis. So, the doctor gave him some antibiotics and sent us home. Today he will be going back to preschool, but he still has a terrible cough.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

weekend

Yesterday we went to Del Mar to the horse races again. It will be our last time for this year as the season ends on Wednesday. I did pretty good and even came home with some money. The boys really enjoy watching the horses.
Saturday Peter had his first tackle football game. He did pretty good and had 4 tackles, one of which was for a loss. But his team still lost 28-0. So it was a pretty disappointing first game. In the afternoon we watched the Nebraska game and then watched the Kansas State game.
Sunday I got up early and went to the gym and then relaxed most of the day. Ben and Peter went to the beach and Liam and I stayed home and went swimming in the pool and took a nap. Sunday evening we had some friends over and the adults played CLUE while the kids played various games. We had a really good time and it was nice to have some other adults to talk with.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Traditions

One of our family traditions is to have a 1/2 birthday for our boys in the summer. Since both of our boys have late December birthdays...Peter's is December 28th and Liam's is December 30th, we want to make sure that their birthdays never get combined with Christmas and forgotten. This helps us make sure that they aren't getting one gift for Christmas and birthday combined.


Growing up my birthday was always a special day for me. When I was growing up my parents would always say that on your birthday everyone had to be nice to you. I always felt like it was a day centered on me and I LOVED celebrating my birthday. (I still do!!!)


I really want my boys to have the same experience. But the holidays get hectic and their friends from school are gone and not able to come to parties, so by moving their "celebration" they get to have a party with friends and get treated special for a whole day. Actually, in a way they are lucky because they still get cake and one present on their actual birthday and then later in the year they get to have a party and more cake and more presents.


Peter had his birthday celebration this last weekend and had a couple friends come for a sleepover. They ended up staying up until 2am and were up by 7am, but they seemed to have a good time. Peter got Legos, Pokemon cards, and a few clothes and was elated. I made him a homemade chocolate cake with homemade chocolate frosting. It tasted pretty darn good too!!!


My little artist



I wanted to share some of Liam's art with the blogger world. He is very happy with the job he has done on his art.








This second picture is a picture of Santa Claus. Liam says he has one "small foot" and one "big foot". The big foot is the circle on the right side of Santa.
I also wanted to show all what a great "cutter" he is. This was his first attempt at cutting a shape with scissors. Way to go Liam!!!!



Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Communication

As I noted in an earlier post, my youngest son Liam needs to go and see a speech therapist. I received a call yesterday from a woman that wanted to set up his screening. The problem is....I could barely understand her message because she had a very heavy accent and was speaking less than perfect English. I am not certain if this woman will be doing Liam's screening assessment or not. IF she is, I think I am going to have a problem with it. If I can't understand this woman, how is Liam going to understand her and how is she going to teach him to speak correct English when she can't even speak properly????? I just got off the phone with the same woman and it definitely sounds like she WILL be doing the assessment. I don't know what to do. I don't want to be seen as being racist, but I don't think that this will be a fair assessment of what Liam knows. ( The assessment covers language, pre K skills, balance, coordination, fine and gross motor skills, etc...). Having never met this woman I have no opinion of her as a person and am not trying to form one. But seriously....how can a person with such speech herself help and critically assess my child?????

Monday, August 27, 2007

All about Liam

Last Wednesday was Liam's first day at preschool. He did really well that first day and seemed really happy. On Friday when I dropped him off he was very clingy and said that he didn't want me to leave because he was scared. I got him involved in playing and then told him I would be back later. He kept playing, but had the saddest look on his face. It just about broke my heart. I love him so much and I cried all the way to the car!!!! When I picked him up his teacher said he had a good day and seemed to be having fun playing. That made me feel a lot better. I know that he will get used to preschool and being left, but it is still hard for me. I try to be brave for him and not let him see me sad, but sometimes it is hard.
When I was leaving his classroom on Friday his teacher asked me if he had a speech IEP in place. I told her he doesn't and she gave me a referral sheet to call to have him evaluated for speech therapy. Both Ben and I have been thinking that he would probably need speech therapy. I am glad that the teacher asked me about it, as I was hesitant to mention it. I hope that they can get the speech started soon. I can understand almost everything Liam says, but people who aren't around him a lot have trouble understanding him. I will be interested to see how they will help him and what we can do here at home to help him speak clearer. He's a smart little kid and I can't wait til I can hear him express all his ideas clearly.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Football scrimmage


Okay, I love football!!!! I admit it. I also love my kids. Today, Peter played in a scrimmage against Rancho Bernardo and he did VERY well. He got one hurry and recovered 2 fumbles. I am so proud of him. I can't wait until next week when he plays in the preseason game. It will be his first REAL official tackle football game.

(Peter is the one in the front of the line.)

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Teachers

Well it is official as of yesterday...Peter is going to have the same teacher as last year, which is the best thing that could have happened. ( His teacher is now teaching 3rd grade, last year she taught at 2nd/3rd combo class.) Ms. Ruth is an incredible teacher. She is able to teach to all levels of students and she makes all kids feel important. She is very creative and energetic. Peter did very well last year and he is very happy that he will have the same teacher.
As if getting the teacher wasn't enough...we also do not have to be in a class with "the evil twins". (Let me explain a little...the twins have harassed and bullied Peter since kindergarten, even in activities outside of school. They used to taunt Peter to the point that he would knock them down in kindergarten. In first grade, they were thankfully not in Peter's class, but found him on the playground and told him that he had to pay him $20 or they were going to tell the playground supervisor that Peter had choked a kid. I went to the principal and the parents had to go to school to have a meeting. We have been unlucky enough to be on many sports teams with them and they always taunt Peter. During the last baseball season, they hit Peter in the head with a baseball helmet on purpose and then laughed about it.) We had emailed the principal and teacher at the end of school last year and asked that the twins not be in the same class as Peter because of the problems and we got our wish!!!!
I feel like we really are having some good luck. I hope it continues.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Catching up

Wow, I just realized that I haven't blogged since Monday. Seems like this week went really fast for the most part. During the day the boys and I have played many board games and watched tv and just tried to stay indoors where it was cool. Wednesday I had to go get a tuberculosis test so that I can volunteer in Liam's preschool. (For those of you that have never had a TB test, you get a needle stuck in your arm and are injected with a small amount of TB and then you have to return to the doctor's office 2 days later to see if you developed a reaction to the shot.)
Thursday I took the boys to a movie...we saw Hoodwinked. It was a pretty cute movie. Then on Friday Peter and Liam played with friends and Friday evening Peter had his first scrimmage against the other Poway Mighty Mite team. Peter did okay, but he was a little tired from playing and swimming with his friends...so he wasn't as explosive as he can be....but he had a good time and his team won the scrimmage. Today we went to the annual Poway Pop Warner Walkathon. This is the football organization's main fundraiser. The kids walked 4 miles and then after the walk, each team sponsors a booth and the kids get to play games for a few hours. I have volunteered the last couple of years to help and I did the same this year. I helped check kids in and then sold tickets for the game booths. Liam did not want to go on the walk, so he stayed and helped me and Ben went with Peter to do the walk. After the walkathon they needed help picking up trash and Peter and Liam went around and picked up trash and earned a pair of movie tickets. So after the walkathon we came home and cooled off a little and then headed to the movie theater to see The Simpson's Movie. It was pretty funny. Tomorrow we are going to take it easy most of the day. Peter and Ben have to go to a cub scout meeting tomorrow night, but I think Liam and I will stay home and rest up for the week ahead.
Monday afternoon we will find out who Peter will have for a teacher in the fall. And after that Peter goes right to football practice. Tuesday, Liam has his preschool orientation in the afternoon right before football practice. Then Wednesday is the "big day" where Peter goes to third grade and Liam starts preschool. Thursday I am going to start back to work at my part time job. So I am going to take a deep breath tomorrow and gear up for what promises to be a busy, yet fun week ahead.

Monday, August 13, 2007

end of summer

Well here it is the last week of summer vacation. I have one last week to really have fun with my kids. I think that there will be trips to the park at least a couple of days. Maybe one last trip to Legoland if we can fit it in, and one last summer movie. As I consider all the "lasts" I also start thinking of all the "firsts" that are about to come. Peter's first day in 3rd grade, and Liam's first day in preschool. Both happen next Wednesday, August 22.
Peter is really excited about going to third grade because this year he will get to be in the GATE program and will have more challenges. He also is very familiar with the school and knows lots of kids, so he will adjust well I'm sure.
Liam is also very excited about getting to go to preschool. Ever since we toured the classroom back in April he has been asking when he can go there. I will be helping out in the classroom part time...once a week or so. Hopefully, he will adjust well on the days that I am not with him. He has never been to preschool, and other than going to another daycare room while I work for a couple of hours, he has never been away from me. I have never had to leave him with "strangers" and be farther away than down the hall. I think that I will probably have more trouble being away than he will have with me being gone. He will get to make new friends, which seems to come pretty easily for him. He'll also get to learn to sit still and learn all of his letters and numbers. I am excited to see how much he will learn.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

My week in review

I have been out of touch with the blog the last couple of days. I just haven't felt like I had anything to write other than whining and complaining, so I just took a couple days off. Today I feel a bit more positive about life so I am back. It was a little of a disjointed week for me though. I started off the week by going to the gym and when I was pulling into a parking space I scratched a parked car. I found the owner and he was nice enough about the whole thing. I felt so silly though. Later that day I was browning a pork roast before putting it in the crock pot and I put the roast in the crock pot and turned around to put the cook book away over the stove and I leaned over the still hot skillet and burned my stomach. Later that same day I was getting Peter and his friend to practice and when we got out of the car I was helping the friend get his shoulder pads on and he pulled back and I jammed my thumb. By the end of Monday I was ready for bed. Tuesday was a much better day, everything seemed to flow really well. Wednesday was Ben's birthday and I surprised myself by how much I accomplished that day. I even had time to make him a chocolate cake from scratch...boy was it good. Thursday Peter went to play at his friend's house and Liam and I spent the day playing a variety of games. I didn't get much done around the house, but it was fun to just play with him. Yesterday my day started off great, I found some computer games in the garage that I had been looking for and I got them loaded on the computer. After lunch I was all set to load the kids up to go to the grocery store and I couldn't find my keys. Then it occured to me...they were in the garage...which was now locked with a padlock and the key to the padlock was on the key ring with all my other keys. UGGGHHH. I called Ben at work and he came home and freed my keys.
Here we are now on Saturday and I am looking forward to a low stress, fun day. We are taking the boys to the horse races at Del Mar where they have the kids area for them to play. Peter and Liam's friends are coming too, so it should be a great day.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

menu

Looking at my week ahead I think there will be a lot of leftovers to eaten this week.
Monday: Garlic pork roast with potatoes and onions with bagged salad.
Tuesday: Leftover sausage and potatoes
Wednesday: Leftover meatloaf stroganoff from last week and salad
Thursday: BBQ pork sandwiches, veggies, and salad or coleslaw
Friday: Weeknight pork chili, veggies and salad

The BBQ pork sandwiches and the weeknight pork chili are both made with the leftover pork roast from Monday night which makes life really easy. Having a menu plan also helped a ton with grocery shopping this weekend. I didn' t have to run to the grocery store yesterday and I don't plan to go today either. Last week I was there almost every day grabbing some random item.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Tackle football

I have another busy week ahead of me. This will be week 2 of football practice every night. This week Peter gets to wear full pads and as he says "hit somebody". He has been waiting all week, well really all summer, to get to put on pads and tackle. I think that it will be a good use of his exhuberance. Peter is a great kid with a ton of energy and he plays like he means it. Tonight it looks like it will be a good night for a pork roast. I love coming home from practice and smelling supper cooked and ready to eat. Then for the next couple of days we will have leftovers which will we nice too.
Liam has really been enjoying Peter going to football practice because he's been getting to go play with a friend every night. They are almost 2 years apart in age, but they play really well together. They both love collecting sticks and spend a majority of their time running around looking for the "perfect" stick. His friend also has a swimming pool, so when they get hot they take a quick dip in the pool to cool off. I am thankful that I am a stay at home mom and that I have two healthy, happy kids. What more could a person ask for?

Friday, August 3, 2007

Names

Melanie over at http://Omahamama.blogspot.com just wrote about having a new nephew and noted that the parents are having a little trouble deciding on a name. It got me thinking about names and parents' responsibility when naming their child. First you think of names that you like and probably narrow it down to a few. Then you let others know what you are considering and you start getting "opinions", some people smile politely and say "they are all wonderful names", others might say something like "interesting choices" (which really means...WHAT WERE YOU THINKING????). And then there are parents and inlaws and aunts and uncles and....the family all has to weigh in on what the child should be called. Wouldn't want to people in the same family with the same name if the other person is still alive...Grandmas seem to be the most opinionated about the choice. But after gathering all this information, you feel more confused about a name than ever. And if all this advice isn't enough you start thinking about all the nicknames your child could be called, and what memories the names bring to you (maybe you knew a "Lisa" and she was a real snob...). One of the final considerations is whether the name will still sound good when the baby grows up...not only as a school kid, but also as an adult looking for a job. After all this you finally pick the "perfect" name. What an awesome responsibility and privilege to name a child.
By the way....I went through this process twice and here are the names of my boys:

Peter Anton Neill (aka Pete, Petey, super Pete)
William Xavier Neill (aka Liam, and to grandmas and grandpas...William)

Actually, naming Peter was relatively easy. Ben and I liked the name Peter, and it is not too common. Anton was my grandfather's name and he died when my mom was young so it is a nice way to keep his memory alive.
Liam was a bit harder. Both Ben and I decided early on that we liked the middle name Xavier, and so we started to try match a first name that would sound good. Both Ben and I have dead relatives with the first name "William" so we could have a family link there. (Also, my dad's middle name is William and Ben had an uncle Bill). Once we started thinking about William it became at better idea all along. One major factor is that we both like the name Liam and looking at William we realized that LIAM are the last four letters of William...good so far...also Liam is the Irish form of William...good again...If later in life Liam decides he would like to call himself Will or even William he could still do that...good again...then the advice. Both grandparents seemed okay with William, but didn't seem to care much for Liam. To this day my parents rarely refer to Liam as "Liam" but rather as "William", my sister does the same. It might bother me more that they do this if we lived closer, but I understand especially with my parents that they are just a little old fashioned and Liam is a bit of a new sounding name. (On our last visit to Nebraska, my mom addressed Liam as William and he looked at her and said "My name is Liam, not William".) So, perhaps the more he grows up, the more they will get used to the name.
No matter what they are called my boys are loved and always will be.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Ramblings about writing and reading.

Yesterday I entered an online contest to write a one-time book reader column for the online book club that I am part of. I am fairly certain that I will not be chosen as there are so many people in the club and I'm sure a few of them are better writers...but I wanted to try because I wanted to share my ideas with others. I guess that's part of the reason I started writing this blog. Aside from the fact that it helps me keep family and friends up to date on my life.
Problem is, I don't feel like I am sharing much that is of interest to anyone other than close friends and family. I look at other blogs and a lot of them seem to be about subjects that make a difference in some way.
I feel much more comfortable writing fiction. My brain seems to be able to make up all kinds of things. I get to live in a different world for a little while when I am writing. (Not that I don't love my real life....). I like being able to change things for characters if the plot seems to lead them a certain way. My current favorite author is Diana Gabaldon. She has an AMAZING way of putting you right into the middle of the story. You can get totally engrossed in the story and really imagine yourself there in the story. Her website is www.dianagabaldon.com . She has two new books coming out this year and I can't wait to read them.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Football

Yesterday was Peter's first football practice. He really liked it, and didn't even get too tired. This week they are working on fundamentals and there is no contact allowed, so I think that makes practice a little easier.
Now that we have nightly committments right in the middle of supper I have decided to try to plan out meals a little more, so that we are not scrounging for food at 8p when we get home from practice. Last night we had a new crock pot meal of Kielbasa sausage and potatoes. The sausage was good, but the potatoes were less that great. Tonight we are going to have sloppy joes and salad with some chips. Sometime this week or next I plan to try another new crock pot meal of ribs. I also want to make a roast pork, because it makes a lot and then we have leftovers so that I don't have to think of a new idea every day.
So I continue to get organized and life will be good.

Monday, July 30, 2007

So much to do, and so little desire to get it done :)!! We went camping this weekend and had a great time. The only downer to the trip was that there was no flush toilets, so that kinda stunk...(yes, pun intended!!!). Yesterday I woke up early and helped issue football equipment. We gave out game uniforms and exchanged equipment that didn't fit from the last equipment issue. It was fun, but a little warm (93 degrees by 10am). Today football practice starts and I think everyone in the house is excited. Our practice time is 5:30-7:30 Monday through Friday. Yes...you read that right....5 days a week. Our first official game is Labor day weekend, but I think we will probably do some scrimmages before then. So for the next few months we will be eating a lot of crock pot meals and leftovers. If anyone has any good crock pot meals I would love to try them.
Then there is all the cleaning and organizing that needs to be done around here. My idea to get the house into shape over the summer failed miserably...I tried once or twice, but just couldn't get all the way through the place before things started falling apart all over again. But I did get to spend a lot of time with my boys doing great things that we all enjoyed. Peter goes back to school Aug. 22, and Liam starts preschool that day too!!! So we have a few more weeks to try to fit in a few more fun activities. Then it will be back to what we love...CHAOS!!! I seem to thrive on chaos and being busy.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

People make plans...God laughs

Is being a mom what defines me? Am I more than "just a stay at home mom"? There are days that I really struggle with these questions. Before I had kids I can't say that I had any clear goals as to what I would do with my life. I went to college and got a degree in psychology because it was interesting to me. But to really DO anything with that degree it would require me to get at least a master's degree. That was not something I was willing to do right after graduation. I just wanted to be done with school. So I started working with individuals with developmental disabilities and learned a lot about how much potential is in every person. I also worked for the state as a services coordinator. That was a job that I really enjoyed. I think that was something I could have seen myself doing for a very long time. But, my husband graduated from college and got a job offer in California. Due to many factors in both our lives right then I said "let's go". I didn't realize what moving so far away from family and life long friends would really mean. I didn't realize that my first year in California would be so lonely. It was very hard to make friends and I felt isolated, so I went out job hunting. I found a job working for the county of San Diego. Three month before accepting this job I found out I was pregnant with Liam. After working for 6 months at the job I knew the job was not for me. Actually that is putting it nicely...I hated the job, but I would not have changed the decision to move.
Now, after having two kids I still am not sure what is in store for my life. I think I may get a job working for the school district once Liam is in school full time. But whatever I do, I will always and forever be a mom. So, after contemplating I don't think I need to have a plan for my life. I once heard a saying that I really liked "People make plans...God laughs".
Thank God that I am a mom with two healthy boys.

Monday, July 23, 2007

HOME SWEET HOME


I made it back in one piece from my Nebraska trip. It was overall a good trip and I really enjoyed spending time with my parents, and niece and nephew (and sister and brother in law too). My only regret is that I didn't have enough time to schedule visits with many friends while I was back. I only got to see one friend for a few hours. Seems like there is never enough time to visit everyone.
I particularly feel bad about missing a visit with Melanie. :( It seems that I am a bit of a bonehead and that before I left I must have been more stressed than I realized. I had posted a few days before I left and when I checked my comments I noticed one from Melanie and so I replied to her post. Well...my dear husband pointed out to me YESTERDAY that it was probably unlikely that Melanie would check back and read comments on a post that she already commented on. DUH!!!!! Anyway, I didn't have Melanie's phone number and thus I didn't contact her. After reading her blog though it sounds like it might have been difficult to get together so I guess I will give myself a bit of a break on the guilt.
We flew into NE on Saturday evening and drove to my parent's house. We went to church with my parent's on Sunday and then out to eat at RUNZA. (Incidentally, those of you that live in Nebraska take Runza for granted....) My sister and family came to Lincoln for a visit on Sunday afternoon and we had a good visit. Monday we relaxed at mom and dad's and then took a trip to Chuck E Cheese to let the kids play. My aunt Claire came through Lincoln on her way back to Wisconsin and spent the night so I got to catch up with her, which was really nice. Tuesday we headed to Omaha to go to the outlet mall in Gretna and then to an indoor play place that had a three story climb and tunnel system. Peter had the most fun of all the kids there. Emma (my niece) was a little scared of the tunnels, and Nicholas (my nephew) and Liam would only go up as high as the first level. We had supper at my sister's house and then headed back to Lincoln for the evening. Wednesday my sister and family came back to Lincoln and we went to see Ratatouille. (It was an okay movie...not the worst, but not the season's best either). That night my sister's family also spent the night with my parents so that we could get up early on Thursday to go to the University for a tour of Memorial Stadium. I must note that I lived in Nebraska for 30 years and never even knew that it was possible to take a tour of this wonderful football mecca. The tour was about an hour long and was really fun for all. Friday morning we woke up and the kids played while mom and I washed up laundry so that I wouldn't have to take dirty clothes home (Thanks mom!!!!), then I packed our suitcases and we headed to Omaha for the evening. We went to the Pizza Machine and spent a little over 3 hours playing and eating. We won over 2010 tickets and I think the adults actually had a little bit of fun :). Friday night we stayed with my sister so that we could be a little closer to the airport because Saturday morning we woke up at 5a (3am California time) and headed for the airport for our flight back to San Diego. Upon our arrival home Ben picked us up at the airport and we went home and dropped off our bags and headed out to a touch football game and pizza party. Then we came home and Liam, Peter and I took a nap for a little bit and then we headed out to Santee Lakes for an evening at the lake celebrating one of Ben's coworker's retirement. We headed home from the party about 9pm and went right to bed.
Yesterday Ben and I celebrated our 12th wedding anniversary. We went to the horse races at Del Mar. The racetrack has a kids' area in the infield where they have pony rides, magic show, jumpers, and many other activities for the kids to enjoy. The boys enjoy it so much that they said they can't wait to go play there again.
I really enjoyed the last week even though it was busy. This week looks like it should be a fairly quiet, uneventful week and I think that will be good so that we can "catch our breathes" before this weekend's campout and football practice starting next Monday.
I love being a "busy mom".

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Time flies

Wow, this week is just speeding by. I feel like it should be moving slower, but tomorrow is already Thursday. On Monday, Peter started his week at cub scout camp from 2-8p everyday through Friday. Tuesday morning he had a playdate with a friend that ended up lasting until the camp, then he went to camp and I picked him up early to go to a football workout. Today we started off the day relaxing a little and I got some laundry done so that I can start packing for my Nebraska trip, and then we went out to find Peter a new pair of shoes.) I thought the shoe trip would be a pretty easy, quick endeavour, but it turned into a 2+hour trip when we couldn't find any shoes that either fit or that he liked. I wanted to get him good shoes because his last pair lasted all of 2 months before he got holes all the way through them to the point of the top of the shoe being separated from the bottom.) But anyway, we got home in enough time for me to pack Ben and Peter's supper for camp (Ben is helping out at the camp) and then Ben took Peter to camp for the day. Tomorrow Peter, Liam and I are going to see a movie with our "summer movie pass" which lets us see previously run movies really cheap...we are going to see Night at the Museum. Then we'll run home and I'll feed the boys a quick lunch and haul Peter to camp and pick him up early for another football workout. Then Friday he will go to camp again and they have a little skit they put on in the evening, so Liam and I will meet Ben and Peter at camp. Then we'll get up Saturday morning and finish any packing that needs to be done and just relax for a while until we need to leave for the airport. Then 3 hours on the plane and we will be in good ole Nebraska for a week of R and R before heading home and back to the busyness that is our lives.
I am thankful that we are busy because it helps keep my mind off how much I miss my family and friends in Nebraska.
I may not be posting again until after vacation...we'll see how the next couple days go...if not I'll just say hi when I get home.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Hike

We went to the coast to hike today. It was 95 degrees at our house and it was in the low 80s on the coast with a nice ocean breeze. Our hike was 2.5 miles and only took us about 2 hours to do. It was not too steep and there were many flat places, so we were able to move at a pretty good speed. From the top of the sandstone cliff that we hiked we could see the ocean perfectly. It was really an awesome view. The hike took us past an elementary school, and a few VERY nice houses that had terrific ocean views, and then on to a scenic overlook. Then we had to back track our way down the hill. Going down was super easy and took no time at all.
Now we are home and I had a small nap and am ready to play "mousetrap" with Liam, Ben and Peter. Liam loves the game, but since I don't like it as much he doesn't get to play too often. For the rest of the evening we will be just sitting back and relaxing enjoying each others' company.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Writing a book

I have been thinking for a few years about trying to write a book. I really feel good when I'm able to write and if I wrote a book I would be able to give myself a good excuse to write. Just the other day Peter said "mom, why don't you write a book?". We had just been talking about miscelleanous stuff and he just said it out of the blue. Then yesterday I was reading the paper and saw an article about a writer's conference in September. It is supposed to be for all levels of writers. So now I've got this idea in my head that maybe I should try to write a book...now I just need to settle on an idea of something to write about.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

4th of July fun

Yesterday was a good day. We went to the park as a family and rode the train and looked at the exhibits, and watched an old west gunfight. Then in the afternoon the boys went to a movie and I went to the gym to work out. We had an awesome supper with bratwurst, baked beans, potato salad, and chips. Then we headed to the high school for the big fireworks display. The city had set up a few food vendors and the city's mobile rec unit was out and putting on games for the kids to do while waiting for it to get dark. Ben took care of the boys and I sat down and read a book. It was a very relaxing evening. The fireworks were beautiful, and the finale was really cool. It only took us about a half hour to get home, so we were all happy with the day.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

4th of July

I grew up celebrating the 4th of July in the country. We always had tons of firecrackers to "play" with during the day, and in the evening my dad would put on a spectacular show for us with the "big stuff". We lived in a "circle", which in today's terms I guess would be called a cul-de-sac. Anyway, all the neighbors always seemed to try to outdo each others fireworks display. It always seemed like the fireworks went on for hours when I was a kid and I loved every minute of it. Part of our "tradition" was getting together with friends of the family and having tons of food and getting stuffed to an uncomfortable degree. The chips and dip would be put out early in the afternoon and later there would be hot dogs and burgers grilled and potato salad and baked beans....mmmm makes me hungry just thinking about it. Last year I was able to celebrate with my parents and the friends from growing up. It was still as much fun as ever. Although now my brother in law has taken over as the fireworks master. He does a pretty darn good job.
This year I am going to be staying in California and it will be much different. We are not allowed to have fireworks of our own around here. There will be a large fireworks display at the high school which should be fun...I've heard it's a fabulous display. In the late morning, early afternoon we will be going to Old Poway Park for an "Old Fashioned 4th of July Celebration". Not really sure what they will be doing, but they have a neat train that Liam loves to ride. Although it will be different I am hoping to have a great day. The 4th is probably my favorite holiday. Happy 4th of July to all!!!!

Monday, July 2, 2007

8 things

Ok, I was tagged so here goes:
I am supposed to post the rules, so here goes...
1. Each player lists 8 facts or habits about themselves
2.The rules of the game are listed before the eight
3. At the end of the post the person tags eight people, then going to comment on their blog letting them know they've been tagged.

I of course don't yet have eight people to tag...the only one I could have tagged is the one who tagged me and I don't think tag back are allowed...sooooo here are my 8 facts.

1. I hate to be late when going anywhere.
2. I love to read.
3. Pizza is my favorite food.
4. I was a "band geek" in high school and loved every minute of it!!!!
5. I drive a Nissan Xterra...solar yellow in color!!!
6. I have never been to a foreign country...this doesn't count Mexico because I've only been a few steps over the border.
7. I actually enjoy going to the gym a few times a week...makes me feel like I'm doing something for myself.
8. I enjoyed growing up in Nebraska.

So here would be the part where I would tag someone, but since there is noone to tag I will just post.
Hope you enjoy!!!!

daily ho hum

Yesterday was filled with doing chores that have been long left undone. So today we get to go play at Legoland. I am really looking forward to going there because there is so much for the kids to do. I think we will probably even spend some time in the "pirate shores" playing in the water. It is supposed to be near ninety today so a little water should feel good. My favorite ride at Legoland is the dragon coaster. Liam likes fairy tale brook and the fire trucks. Peter likes the dragon coaster. Not really sure what is Ben's favorite....he seems to like them all. If you've never been to Legoland it is definitely a place to check out. Amazing the things you can build with Legos. And it's also nice because there isn't usually too big of a crowd.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Shark!!!!

Yesterday we all went to the beach and had an experience that none of us had ever had before. We took a walk down the beach headed for a place called flat rock, on the way we saw a man ocean fishing. Just as we walked past we noticed that he had caught something. We stopped to see what he would reel in and when he started reeling in I could see that he had something large. It turned out that he had caught a leopard shark that was about 4 1/2 feet long. We got to see it up close and it was a really neat. The guy took a couple of pictures with the shark and then unhooked it and let it go back in the ocean.
We stayed at the ocean all afternoon and had a bbq on the beach and watched the sunset over the ocean. Overall, it was a really nice day.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

reflections

I have just reread my last two posts and realize that I have been very whiny lately and I have decided that I need to work on being more positive. So today I have been trying to look at things in a positive way. It really amazes me how much smoother today is going. I got up this morning with a smile on my face and it seems like others are responding well to my positive attitude. This is one of the things that I know I have to work on...being positive. It becomes all too easy to dwell on negatives and then I realize I am no fun to be around. So, even though Ben is still gone today I can realize that actually makes life a little easier as I don't have to live on another person' schedule. I can just let myself get done what gets done and the rest will still be there tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

husband on business trip

My dear husband is on a business trip for 2 days and I really miss him. The kids are keeping me busy and driving me a bit nuts at times. Liam especially seems to be on the tantrum rampage today. Anything I say no to results in a monumental tantrum that gets out of control fast. I don't give in to him, but man I HATE the screaming, crying, kicking that is going on today. I'm trying to be a little understanding since he seems to be missing Ben as much as I am, but at the same time I just want him to be a perfect little angel for me. I guess I must just be asking too much today of both myself and my sweet boys.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Too busy????

This is my first blog, and even as I start I am thinking that I really don't have time for this...You see, I am a stay at home mom who hardly ever stays at home. I have 2 kids age 8 and 4 who are the light of my life. But, the older they get the busier I get. My oldest son is involved with many activities...Cub Scouts, Football, CCD, baseball, basketball....etc... My youngest just finished and 8 week session of soccer. I sometimes wonder if my kids, especially my oldest is too busy. On an average week we have cub scouts on Monday, CCD on Tuesday, sports practice Mon-Fri and usually a sports game on Saturday. So that leaves Sunday for church and family time. During the school year I feel like all I do is run around and I don't get "quality" time with my kids. I really miss the down times. Now that summer is here I am breathing small sigh because at least the daytime is mine to spend with the boys. But, now football preparation is starting and my son Peter (the oldest) has football camp in the morning for 3 hours and then 2 nights a week he goes for a strength training workout. Then in a week cub scout camp will take him away from me from 2-8p everyday. I always said that I wasn't going to be one of those parents who let their kids get too busy, but I feel like I am losing that battle some days. I really want them to experience different activities, but I am wondering when enough is enough.