Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Farm Girls

Yes, they have a swing set with a slide to play on, and bikes to ride, but what could be more fun than climbing on huge stack of cedar shakes?

Good things are happening!

Here are some blessings that have been showered on me recently:
  • my trip to California

  • my best friend from highschool, Heather, sent me a care package with some lovely spa treatments inside! What a fun surprise!

  • We were able to spend Easter with my sister and her family. It was a wonderful time. Unfortunately I took only 1 not-blurry photo. Fortunately all three generations are represented here:

  • My sister made 95% of Easter dinner AND got my girls Easter baskets filled with lots of goodies including jump ropes, gardening gloves and seeds, and bubbles! And she got plastic eggs and filled them with M&Ms for an egg hunt! Valarie rocks!

  • I got to have lunch with Val yesterday. She let me choose the restaurant (Japanese) and she even tried sushi (half a bite only but she was pretty brave anyway!).

  • My husband has been letting me go to bed whenever I feel like it in the evening. This is anywhere from 5:30 to 8:00 p.m. feels so good to get a lot of sleep.

  • The other night, Don set me up in bed with a laptop so I could watch Extreme Home Makeover which he had recorded. Talk about the lap of luxury!

  • My man-child, Nathan, moved two more blueberry bushes for me from what used to be our property to what now is our property. It's a hard, long job, as the bushes are mature with lots of big roots, but they are definitely worth keeping because they produce lots of blueberries!

Yes, life is very good for me : )

5 Days in Paradise...

Is how I would describe my trip to California last week! It started on Friday afternoon, when I met my sister, my niece, and my GRAND NIECE (good grief!) for a delicious Mexican lunch before I hopped on the plane heading south. Here is a picture of Madilyn Rae and me at the restaurant:

Yes, she is just adorable, and such a good baby! Lindsay is so very lucky, and Valarie is about as smitten a Grandma as they come!

Two flights and about 4 hours later, I arrived in San Francisco. My very thin mother met me at the security checkpoint (which was very nice of her...I told her just to pick me up at the curb!). We went to Trader Joe's where she let me pick out anything that sounded good! We did indeed get a cartful of food, and then we were off to her lovely little cottage by the sea.

We ate a delicious chicken salad for supper, and then sat and chatted for awhile until Lee got home from Grover Beach, where he was staying with his father. After Lee got home, we chatted until what felt like the wee hours of the morning, but in reality was about 11:00...the latest hour I've seen in a long time!

The next morning we lazed around, showered, drank coffee, and visited until it was time to go get Nathan from the airport. We met him at security as well (this is apparently a tradition of my mother's) and then went to Costco where we got gasoline, something to eat for a very hungry man-child, and some more groceries (do you see a reccuring theme here?). From Costco, we headed south to Hillsdale Mall, where we each bought Paul Potts' CD, and some maternity clothes that we found on sale at Old Navy (thanks, Mom!). After shopping came dinner at Macaroni Grill, and then we headed further south to San Jose, where we got to see Cirque du Soleil, which is every bit as wonderful as you may have heard. It was another late evening, but worth the loss of sleep!

Sunday we had another quiet, uneventful morning. We had a late lunch/early supper of barbequed marinated mahi mahi steaks (out of this world!), salad, artichokes, and artichoke raviolis. After that feast, Lee, Nathan, and I headed to San Jose to my first-ever live Sharks game. It was a good game, and a lot of fun, but they did lose in overtime to end an 11-game winning streak. Nathan was mildly disappointed until we headed out back behind the Shark Tank and waited (for an hour) for the players to come out. That was the highlight of Nathan's entire day, or maybe week, or even life! He got autographs and pictures with some of his favorite players. Here are a couple:

Nathan with Joe Thorton

Nathan with Brian Campbell, who apparently isn't a natural smiler

After we immortalized Nathan with the likes of Joe Thorton and Brian Campbell, we took him to my dad's place in Mountain View, where he spent the night. The next morning at 5:30 he had to be at the Military Entrance Physical Station (or something like that) to do all of his Coast Guard entrance stuff. It turns out that my dad lives minutes away from MEPS, so he graciously offered to have Nathan overnight and deliver him ontime the next morning. (Thanks, Dad!) That allowed Lee and I to travel back to the coast that evening and have a nice relaxing morning on Monday.

I headed back to my dad's place Monday to wait for Nathan's processing to be finished. It took a little longer than we thought it would, but that allowed Dad, Carmen and I to take a nice walk in the beautiful sunshiny weather, and then enjoy some Subway sandwiches for lunch. While Nathan was in processing, he had his physical, took the ASVAB test. He surprised everyone, including himself, by scoring 88/99 on it! That score qualifies him for any job the Coast Guard offers, so the sky is the limit for Nathan's Coast Guard career. He also got sworn in that morning/afternoon.

Nathan and I went straight to the recruiters from there, where we spent some more time talking about Nathan's options and we watched a video about boot camp. The recruiter was having some technical difficulties, so he wasn't able to print out Nathan's contract at that time. Nathan and I then walked three blocks to the Shark Tank, where we looked for a Nabokov t-shirt at the Shark Store. We couldn't find one!

After that we headed to our good friends, the Walshes, where we had a delicious meal and spent many hours visiting and catching up on the past several years. Their girls are beautiful and growing up quickly! We had a wonderful time there. Nathan tried to get everyone rallied to go ice skating, but they had a difficult time finding a rink with public skate on Monday evening.

On Tuesday my Mom took half a day off work and the two of us headed back to Hillsdale Mall where we found some adorable matching outfits for the girls, and then my mom purchased Patience's entire summer wardrobe at Old Navy, and then we discovered some very cool maternity clothes at Motherhood which we also brought home! All in all it was a very productive trip, and we were pretty convinced that Nathan and Lee would have had a horrible time : )

We came home to the smell of dinner cooking! Lee roasted a marinated pork loin roast and made a big salad. We cooked up some pesto tortellini and had the most delicious meal... After dinner my mom introduced me to Dancing with the Stars, and then I headed off to bed because the next day I had to leave : (

On Wednesday I had an uneventful day traveling back to reality. Thankfully Mom had sent a good read with me, so I was occupied almost all the way to Bellingham! I picked up a pizza in Lynden, and headed north-o'-the border to my eagerly awaiting family. We had a lovely reunion, with Jordyn hugging me tight, patting my back, and saying "Mama" over and over.

Nathan, since he is without any responsibilities, got to stay 5 more days! During which, he saw another Sharks game live, and one on t.v. at a local sports bar. Lee took him back to the recruiter's to sign his contract and finish his paperwork, so now he's all ready to leave for bootcamp in the Sept/Oct timeframe. Nathan got to go on bikerides and to get ice cream at Cold Stone Creamery, and basically was spoiled further : )

Thank you, Mom and Lee, for this wonderful break from reality! And thank you for taking care of Nathan and allowing him to get all his loose ends tied up for the Coast Guard. Thank you for the lovely clothes for me and the girlies and the delicious meals. That bit of paradise will cover a multitude of "reality" days. I love you!

Monday, March 03, 2008

Renovation: Phase 1 Done!

Phase 1, to us, means "good enough to live in and now it can wait until we have more time/money/motivation to work on it some more... "

Here is the nearly complete "Boys' Lair." It's a far cry from the dungeon!

They spent every free moment this weekend in here watching hockey, playing video games, playing Foosball, just hanging out...

The wall that I did not photograph is still in need of painting. We're going to try to drum up some time and energy this coming weekend to really finish this room and the hallway. Oh, and there's some trim work left to do in this room, as you can see looking at the sliding glass door.

After that, only the bathroom requires work for this end of the house. Unfortunately, it's not just cosmetic. It looks like we'll need to hire a plumber ($), so that might get postponed for a bit...

Because the boys got all moved into the "East Wing," the girls' space got upgraded, too! They are now downstairs with the "big-to-them" t.v. and now the Sean's-room-turned-Foosball-table-room is their toy room. Yes, it's a tad bit crowded right now. Eventually, the girls will have the bedroom in the basement (currently Nathan's) and at that point, some of this stuff can go in their room.

The only other room that's very different is my living/dining room, which used to house all these blasted toys! It's now plain and bare as can be. Ahhhhh..... At some point we will focus our reno efforts in this room, with new paint and getting the carpets cleaned. Hopefully in the next few months.