Wednesday, August 26, 2009

News update

Okay, today is the day my trip starts. I'm leaving late this afternoon to pick up my sister at her work and then we'll drive to Seattle, where my mom will have arrived and gone to the hotel suite that she's rented. We'll have a hen party...we haven't done that in a decade!

Then, tomorrow, I get on an early flight for Virginia. Mom and Val sleep in much later than me and then they'll drive north so that Val can go back to work and Mom can be me for a week (please pray for her).

The problem: Nathan's truck is currently at the shop! Please, please, please help us pray that the mechanics can fix it so it makes the trip home and that their price is reasonable and that they can do it quickly! Preferably Nathan will be able to pick me up at the airport tomorrow night. Or at least it can be done Friday so we can begin our trip back west. Or, if God has better plans then we'll just leave it in His capable hands...He hasn't let us down yet.

Nick update: he is totally weaned! He's drinking milk and water from a sippy cup, and he's slept in his own crib for the past two nights. The ironic thing is that for the past two nights Jordyn has made her way upstairs in the middle of the night and crawled in bed with us!

I'm as busy as ever, but in the past two days I've fit in beautifying myself: manicure, pedicure, hair cut, highlights, and leg waxing! Don and I did the highlights ourselves and we did a durn good job! Of course pics will follow. I have my camera charging right now and we'll be taking hundreds of pics this coming week.

Please keep us in your prayers. We all are feeling very unsettled because of all the logistics still up in the air at this very late date. Thank you.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

More news and busy-ness!

Here I thought I was caught up on my blogging and then more news happens!

As you might know (or maybe not!) Nathan graduates from Boatswain's Mate "A" school in Virginia next Friday. I am flying out to see him graduate! When he graduated from boot camp I had a six-week old baby so I took a pass and let my parents and Don be his cheerleading section. My wonderful, amazing mother is flying up to help Don hold down the fort, allowing him to at least work a little! Nathan and I are driving his little truck back west...a reverse trip from his adventure in June with Tom Bennett.

But that's not the news! He just found out that after he gets back here, he is NOT traveling to Cordova, Alaska to report to his unit...he is traveling to JAPAN to report to his unit, as the USCG Cutter Sycamore is leaving Cordova on August 27 and will be in the Tokyo harbour from September 10-13. He is supposed to meet his ship there, and then travel with them to RUSSIA! They'll stop in Tokyo again on their way home, and then will sail back to Cordova sometime in the middle of October. As you can imagine, Nathan is giddy with excitement about seeing the world so early in his Coast Guard career, and he's even more certain that he made the right choice when he selected Alaska.

We're a busy family for the rest of summer. We leave tomorrow for Merritt for a family reunion at Don's parents' place, so we're preparing for that. When we get back I'll have two days to get myself ready to go to Virgina. I'm picking up my sister on Wednesday from work and driving down to Seattle, where my mom will be waiting for us (having just flown up from the Bay Area). We'll have a hen party at Embassy Suites Wednesday night. Thursday morning early I'll depart for Virginia, and my mom and sister will drive back up here, where Don will be eagerly awaiting my mom's arrival : )

When we're not busy having all this fun, we've been working hard. Don is ecstatic to have his entire work force back from their summer adventures, and now great progress is being made down at Radnai's. Even Don is starting to feel optomistic about being able to get all the work done before school starts on September 9.

Oh! One more bit of news: it looks like I might have lined up a childcare gig for my friend who found herself a part-time job! I watched her son this summer a few times when she was doing casual work, and he and the girls got along well. He'll be in Patience's kindergarten class so it will definitely be convenient. Don and I were JUST talking about needing just a little more money to make things run more smoothly, and then she called asking if I was interested. I love when that happens : )

I'll post early next week with family reunion news and pictures, but then I'll be away until Nathan and I return September 3.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Sunday afternoon...

On Sunday afternoon we went here and did this! Blogging at its finest : )

Winding down, and on the road again!

On Thursday we tried to lay low once again so the kids would willingly get in the car the next day : ). Mom and Lee took the girls to the park once again so I could start organizing and packing, but Nick foiled our plans by NOT napping that morning! We got back at him by taking him and his sisters shopping to finish Patience's school shopping. This time we went to Old Navy and got Patience some adorable layering pieces of leggings, skirts, t-shirts, hoodies, and matching shoes (with laces!). I think I'm looking forward to the first day of kindergarten more than she is!

Here are the girls in the Calfornia shirts that Grandma Edith bought them during their shopping frenzy spree.

On Friday morning a miracle happened: Lee and I were able to load everything back into the van including all of the new clothes and toys we aquired during our trip, as well as a ton of kitchen and bath stuff that Mom and Lee were sending home for Nathan! I really didn't think it was possible, but Lee is a master at spatial relations and packed everything differently, and better, than I had on the way down. I think we had even more room going home than we had coming down : )

We headed back to Milpitas to pick up Dad for the drive home. We got there around noon and Edith fed us an absolutely delicious lunch. Then we let the kids swim for 45 minutes or so before getting everyone dried, dressed, and buckled up. The traffic was horrendous in the Bay Area, even at 2:00, so we didn't hit I-5 until 4:30. The kids, thankfully, napped that entire part of the trip. We made a couple of rest area stops and ate our picnic dinner while we drove. The kids fell asleep in their car seats around 9:30, and from that point on, Dad and I took turns driving throughout the night. Mostly he drove, but he was able to nap for around 3.5 hours while I spelled him. We rolled into Val's driveway at 6:30 a.m. on Saturday, where I left Dad to visit with Val and her family.

I drove the kids home to Aldergrove just in time to see Don for 15 minutes or so before he had to leave for work for the day. Fortunately, Dylan was home and he helped me unload the van. I spent the rest of the day unpacking, bag by bag. Speaking of bags, I was bagged by the drive home, but stayed awake on pure adrenaline until Don got home that afternoon. I went to sleep at 6:30 and slept 12 hours straight. I woke up Sunday feeling fine!

Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk

On Wednesday we once again packed a huge picnic (when I say "we" I mean "Mom") and loaded up the van for another adventure. Today's destination: Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk! Besides a wonderful beach for playing in and rides for the kids, Cirque Magnifique was performing two free circuses each day so we thought it would be a great opportunity for the girls to see a Cirque without having to pay those high ticket prices! As it turned out, the kids were much more impressed with the beach and the rides than with the Cirque, so it was good that it was free!

The girls play in the ocean for the first time ever!
The girls discover that the ocean is "interactive!" Jordyn: horrified! Patience: thrilled!

Nick decides the ocean is fun! Wants desparately to sit down and play with it, but Grandma has a firm grip!


Central Park, San Mateo

After our big outing on Monday, we decided to stay a little closer to home on Tuesday to let the kids (and us!) recharge their batteries. It was cool and foggy on the coast, so we headed over the hill to San Mateo to let the kids play at Central Park. I lived in San Mateo for a few years of my childhood and I remember well playing at Central Park.
Nick and I on the swirly slide. See? I'm a fun mom!
Lee made great use of his camera and the location to get some wonderful shots of the kids!

Lee is the type of grandfather who says, "Yes, you can have an ice cream from the ice cream man!"

After playing and picnicking, we headed to the mall where we purchased part of Patience's school wardrobe. Mom still gets a 25% discount at Gap, so we were able to get alot for our money! She's going to look adorable : )

San Francisco Zoo

Mom and Lee took us to the San Francisco on Monday. This is the same zoo I visited as a child, only they've made a lot of changes since then! We all had a great time. Nick had so much fun that he didn't want to nap the entire 5 hours we were there!

The girls look at the giraffe.

Patience and the girafffe.

The girls check out the lion statues.

Patience checks out a gorilla skull.
The girls meet a tortoise.
Patience rides a camel (statue).
Jordyn at the playground where we had a picnic lunch.
The girls and I as zookeepers!
The girls on the geese statue.

Visiting with Dad and Edith

From Modesto, we drove west to Milpitas, where my dad and Edith live. It's fortunately only about an hour's drive. When we arrived, we met one of Edith's sons, Darby, and his two daughters. They had come to visit on the same day, so the girls had instant playmates. It was amazing to me because Darby's daughters mirrored mine to the "T." His younger daughter was slight and shy and his older daughter had a larger frame with a HUGE personality. The four girls got along famously.

Dad and Nick.

Dad and Edith live in a seniors' mobile home park, so it's a very quiet neighborhood until the weekend when everyone's grandchildren come to visit. That's when the pool area becomes the playground for lots of families. We spent the majority of the day at the pool. Edith and Cecilia brought over a lovely barbeque lunch and we made the kids get out of the pool long enough to eat.

Nick never did master the art of napping in his porta-crib : ( But he did have his longest nap of the whole vacation while we were visiting Dad and Edith...he napped for 90 minutes while I held him, and then another 90 minutes while Dad held him!

Around 5:00, Jordyn decided that she was done, so Edith took her home to get her cleaned off and dressed. Dad and I decided that we'd let Patience swim until she collapsed just to see how long she would last. She had been in the pool since 1 with only a short break to eat. At 6, she finally trudged up the stairs and said she was tired. We took her back home and she joined Jordyn in Edith's jetted tub.

Spa day for the girls!

Nick loves the fish tank!

After getting bathed and dressed, Edith took the girls to the Walgreen's where she works and said what every kid dreams of hearing, "Choose anything you want! Just put it in this basket!" And then proceeded to take them down the candy aisle, the toy aisle, the ice cream freezer. Five bags later, we went back to their home and once again loaded up the van for another drive, this time back to Moss Beach for another visit with Grandma and Papa.

Goodbye photo with my parents and the kids... unfortunately Nick had just expired : (

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Visiting the Smiths

We arrived in Modesto at Heather's and spent the day with her and her beautiful daughter, Haley. The Smiths live in a very warm climate, so they get a lot of use out of their in-ground pool. They especially got a lot of use out of it when we were there, because that's what the girls wanted to do whenever we were home!
Haley spent so much time and attention on my daughters that I was able to rest and relax more than I ever imagined...thanks Haley! She swam with them for hours, played dress up, played in her playhouse with them, took them to see G-Force, and just basically did whatever they wanted or needed. I wish she lived closer : )

The Smith's wonderful pool.

Hours upon hours of swimming. Patience was in heaven...

The clever girls made a slide out of the Boogie Board : )

Patience playing dress up.

Jorydn and Haley.

The girls loved Haley's play house!

We went to their Farmer's Market which had wonderful produce and foodstuffs. Later that day Frank and Heather took us to lunch at a wonderful place called Hilmar Cheese Factory. After lunch, Frank dropped the girls off at the movie theater and Heather and I got a few hours of uninterrupted hen time while Nick napped. That was an unexpected blessing!

Nick discovered Heather's piano and was thrilled that he could make it work!

Nick playing with Auntie Heather after all the other kids went to bed.

Heather gets her baby fix : )

And Nick learns that Auntie Heather is an acceptable substitute for Mommy...

Everybody loves Mr. Smith! Especially Jordyn : )

Jordyn telling Frank a secret (ear-to-ear).

Heather and Nick.
My very reserved daughter.
Miss Haley.

Hilmar Cheese Factory is to cheese what Krause's is to berries. And they serve a very yummy lunch!

On Sunday we joined Frank and Heather at their church but left after the song service, and from there we headed back west to visit with Dad and Edith. We had a lovely 4-day visit with Frank, Heather, Haley, Nolan, and Socks. For more pics of our visit, go look at Heather's blog post. Her camera is much better than mine : )