Thursday, December 3, 2009

Kaleb's Road

Last Saturday Kaleb was baptised. So many family and friends came out to support us. It was awesome. Kaleb was a little nervous at first, but the spirit was so sweet and he was so good we had a great day. It was so wonderful to see Kaleb take that first step toward his own salvation. What a great Kid. The day started out a little hectic. It was hard to make certain everything was ready and everyone was fed. Then we went to the church early to set up for the luncheon afterward. The spirit in the church slowed everything down. It was nice to just get everything taken care of. The service was simple and sweet. Grandma Barb said the opening prayer. Grandma Doris lead the music. Brother Brian Blotter conducted. Grandpa John gave a talk on baptism. He stressed the importance of keeping the covenant Kaleb was making. After that Kaleb, Tavy and I sang a song about baptism which I cried through of course. Then Kaleb was baptised. His face was so radiant as he came out of the water. He was so pure. After the baptism I gave a talk on the Holy Ghost, then Kaleb was confirmed a member of the church and given the gift of the Holy Ghost. The closing prayer was said by Grandpa Scott. We had lunch with family and friends from the ward. It was so kind of everyone to support us and I am so grateful for the influence Kaleb is too me in my life.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Our search for The Great Pumpkin

Octavia's class had a field trip to a pumpkin patch and I tagged along. I was responsible for two other girls besides Tavy, and I didn't lose one of them. I know you are thinking it is only three little girls, but it was a huge pumpkin patch with corn maze included, so I'm going to take a little pat on the back. After a man taught us how to play a wash board and turn a broom and a string into a bass we boarded a trailer pulled by the tractor to go find the biggest pumpkin possible to take home. I didn't realized that all the other parents were telling there groups that the kids had to pick out a pumpkin they could carry by them selves. Oh no, I actually encouraged my girls to pick out any old pumpkin they wanted. Tavy of course rounded out the group picking a pumpkin a little smaller than your average box fan. I suppose you can see where I am going with this, me carrying four huge pumpkins through this pumpkin patch, while trying to coax my girls to wade through the rain and mud carefully so they didn't go down like the boys who were using the muddy road like a slip and slide. I don't have any pictures of me sliding through the mud, balancing four huge, dirty pumpkins through the pumpkin patch, I had the camera in the backpack I was hauling with our freshly picked pomegranates, the girls lunches, and four water bottles. The experience was awesome, and I am so glad I get to have them with my kids. We had fun looking at Native American dwellings, and we even got to see the inside of a bee hive, the queen bee has a blue spot to distinguish her from her fellows. It's good to be queen, just ask Tavy who has a huge pumpkin waiting to be carved on the kitchen table.

Kaleb turns Eight

Kaleb had a very hard decision before him as he turned eight years old. Before you think that Baptism is a hard commitment for Kaleb to make, that isn't the decision he struggled over, he's not even pausing before that one. No our Kaleb was told he could either get a Wii, or have a party. Kaleb struggled with this decision and finally decided he wanted the Wii. We did however have a huge "Play date" with a couple of his friends and I made a Pokemon cake. No it is nothing to Aunt Jen's creations, but if I gave you a stack of cards you could probably recognize this fella as an Ambipom. Kaleb had a blast and is excited that everyone will be coming down next month for his baptism. In the mean time we all are loving the Wii.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Becky and Lindsey plus some

Aunt Lindsey got her fill of Neices and Nephews.

Uncle David took us all for Ice Cream at Ghirardelli Square.

We unleased the twins on an unsuspecting San Fran.

Micheal made sure our breaks were working.

Exausted kids, always a good sign!!

Soap Box Racing

Here is Kaleb at the annual soap box derby in Clayton. The community lets over 200 kids use their soap box cars and drive down main street while the announcer is yelling turn--turn--folks that is why you don't sit on the bales of hay lining the street. Kaleb did very well (he stayed straight the whole way down the street) and he won both his heats. Octavia was too young to participate, but she ran along the road yelling, "Go Kaleb, go." While we waited for our heats, the kids played in the Clayton City Fire Engine, and a real drag race car. It was a fun day.

Friday, September 11, 2009

The Inevitable First Day

So both my kids are in school, and everyone keeps asking what are you doing with all your spare time. Well I'm getting Kaleb to School at eight, cleaning until ten, get Tavy to school at ten fifteen, stay in her class and help her teacher get her room together (no I swear--I can leave her anytime--I don't need to be with Tavy every minute of every day--I swear I can give it up). Tavy's teacher is really loving me as I have done over 750 copies for her, collated a years worth of chapters of her messy math program. However I have the great distinction of already knowing each of the children's names in class. Tavy is loving kindergarten, and Kaleb has already found a few friends who are willing to play Pokemon with him. The school here is advanced and we are all trying to keep up. For the most part as a parent I love that my kids are being challenged, but the two hours of home work with Kaleb ever night is a little rough--I expect he will be able to skip middle school by the time he gets there, and who of us wouldn't have opted for that?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Just one more trip...Please?

Recently the kids and I drove up to Washington. We were so close being in Cali now, and had friends we wanted to see, so we figured hey--it's only a thirteen hour drive right? So eight bathroom breaks, one lunch break, and one dinner break later we were there. My friend Robyn's family was so gracious in letting us stay with them. We had a blast--it was like having a sleepover every night--and the kid's enjoyed it as well. We started our week out by visiting old friends. It was so hot we went to the Bremerton fountain park with Amy and her boys, then went to Amy's house for Taco Salads. The next day we went to the Manette ward's park day. It was so fun to watch people walk through the fence to the park and then they kind of stopped and did a double take to see if it was really us. The kids played for hours, it was so nice to see so many good friends. On Saturday we attended Kaleb's friend Jeffery's baptism, and it was so great getting to see him make that commitment. I went to church and between Robyn's family and mine we took up a whole row. It was a special treat for Kaleb to sit by his friend Spencer and I watched him on and off during the service. He looked like he had something to say, but then he remembered if he talked he would have to come sit by me, so he would stop and then turn forward again. I could almost see him making mental notes the whole time about things he wanted to tell Spencer as soon as Sacrament meeting was over. The last half of our trip we went camping up in Scenic Beach, by the Puget Sound with a view of the brothers peaks in the back ground. It was so pretty and the kids felt in order to get the full effect, the had to find new routes to the bathroom every time they went. We had visitors every night for dinner. We made tin foil dinners with Amy, Mike and their family Monday night--Amy showed herself to be keeping up her outdoorsy reputation by keeping the fire stoked for us. Miss Robyn spent the later part of the evening showing all the kids how to roast the perfect marshmallow, and the girls perfected it while the boys laughed as their marshmallows caught fire and they had char on the outside and uncooked marshmallow on the inside. Thus commenced the four day battle between Miss Robyn and Kaleb--Kaleb insisting he liked his marshmallows on fire, and Miss Robyn coaxing him to try slow cooking it. It really was adorable. During the days we went down to the beach. It was beautiful, and the kids loved swimming through the water. Tuesday night Jessie, Jason, and their family came up, along with Annie and her boys. Now I have to mention that I am really astounded with Miss Annie's ability to char a hot dog. I mean seriously this thing was black. I wish I had gotten a picture of the thing really! Jessie and I talked in our Southern accents, and she was so proud I'd finally figured out how to say Charleston correctly. It was so fun camping with Robyn, by the next morning, we were cooking everything over the fire. She showed us how you could roast almost anything if you were patient enough. In the mornings we would toast our bread and the butter would slide down and pop in the fire. For lunches we were whipping together a huge pot of guloush made from all the extra food, and for dinner we got to the point that we were all quiet proficient roasters, our hot dogs were cooked through, but not too burnt our bread was toasted to perfection, and our marshmallows were golden brown mush. Except Kaleb's who insisted that char was a beautiful thing. Wednesday night Ali came to see us and we chatted after the kids were asleep. That was lovely, sitting listening to the fire keeping time while the crickets sang. It was so fun to catch up with everyone. The last day we went down the sound and the water levels were so low we saw star fish and crabs. I was hoping for an octopus, because all the signs say they hang out in the Sound, but I suppose I would have to scuba dive to see them, what you going to do? That day we said good-bye to Robyn, and Tavy said she was going to have to be adopted by their family so she could live full time with Janette, and Kaleb is trying to figure out how he can be baptized with Spencer in December. You have to love good friends!! We spent the night at Kathleens, and she took us to her sons so the kids could have one last play date before leaving Washington. It was so pleasant, and we enjoyed it so much I'm sure we will have to get back up North again really soon. Thanks to everyone who made the trip so fun. You know you had a great time when you drive back for thirteen hours and the kids veg the whole way home. I almost forgot to feed them they were so quiet in the back seat of the car. And as always after one of our adventures Chad was so glad to see us back safe and sound.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

The Grand Canyon

We went through the Grand Canyon on our way home from Lindsey's Wedding. We picked up Amy in St. George, and aside from eating five dollar lunchables out of a gas station for lunch it was a blast. If you notice in all the pictures, I am holding tight to the kids. I choose to believe it is motherly affection and not the huge drop off behind us. I leave it to you to decide.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Lindsey's Wedding

Lindsey and Nick were married on July 18, 2009. I obviously don't have a lot of pictures, but when I get more, I'll re post. The kids and I went down to Utah a few weeks early to help get ready for the wedding. There is a line in the movie Emma, when Emma comments she came early to help get ready for the party and she is told she is actually late the whole party was already there to help get ready for the party. That is kind of how I felt. We spent most of our time before the wedding chasing after Jake and Micheal, my sister Becky's two year old twins. I have affectionately renamed them divide and conquer. We had an awesome trip up to Bear Lake to see my Dad and Danny's new house--the kids climbed up the huge mound of dirt and got dirty "Bloomington" style. Then we went swimming in the lake for our bath. It was like sharing my childhood with my kids. When Lindsey's Wedding Day finally came we all got the salon treatment as Lindsey and her friends did our hair. Then we went over to Nick's house and waited. It was hot, not that I get to complain--I wasn't the one in the fifty pound dress, but it was hot. Tavie got to be a flower girl, and Kaleb was the ring barer. She dropped just the right amount of petals, and he dropped nothing, so both were a success. I was Lindsey's Maid of Honor, so I walked down after the kids, and can I just say everyone staring at you, camera's going off in your face, it took all my will power not to strike a pose, I was humming to myself, "The cat walk, the Catwalk, I strut my little stuff on the catwalk." Then I gave way for Lindsey to come down the isle. She was radiant on my father's arm and held herself so beautifully. I am not sure when she grew into a woman, but for the first time I really saw she had grown up and was no longer the little girl who used to watch me sleep and ran around with long hair in her face and no shoes on. I admit I cried a little, only a little--did I mention it was hot, and there was little liquid left in my body to spare? It was a sweet event and I know myself, and my family were grateful for all who came and helped out. The reception was also an outpouring of love and support, and I split my time between serving the cake we had in over abundant supply thanks to Costco, and greeting family and old friends. Those who came toward the end of the reception were doubly blessed, as my brother David started sending them home with a parting gift of a chocolate Costco cake or a strawberry cheese cake. In some cases, I have to think some of the guests may have come out ahead on that one. Lindsey and Nick finally cut the wedding cake that my sister in law Jen made (she's amazing? Good job Ben--he can pick em). Over all it was a lovely event. We are excited to welcome Nick into our family and send Lindsey packing over to his, wait is that how it works? Jokes--we know Lindsey and Nick will be very happy and can only wait until Thanksgiving to see whose house they spend it at to see who gained whom I suppose--I did hear that in Clayton CA there will be a pie cooking contest, and we need some fresh judges--I'm only saying. Congrats Lindz and Nick!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Top ten moments moving into Clayton, Ca

So as you know we have moved to California. We are in a little town north of Oakland, which by the way is Northern Cali, north of San Fran in fact, (We are finding a lot of people think us close to LA, so that is just to clarify). We ended up in this little town with farmer's markets, and music in the park at the old historic pavilion every Saturday night. It is beautiful, and stemming the tides of sadness we feel in leaving behind so many good friends and neighbors in South Carolina. Here are our top ten moment's since moving into Clayton.

10--Tavy being quite distressed because, she wasn't able to help Kaleb lift the couch up because she hadn't eaten her veg-a-te-bulls.

9--Kaleb meeting a little boy his exact age across the little common area from us--who has a wii.

8--Tavy, with a rather malicious grin, blowing hot dog smells toward her Dad, who was trying to fast.

7--Sitting out side blowing bubbles while the breeze from the ocean keeps us cool.

6--Fruits and veggies from the farmer's market--fresh Squash and green bean stir fry over noodles--and cherries that still taste like the sun Yumm.

5--Kaleb fervently praying for us to find a house with a swimming pool and not a day later, Dad found the town house we are living in with a pool included.

4--The statue of kids in the park next to us has a little girl with a CTR ring on her finger that nobody but us Mormon's know about.

3--Kaleb being brave enough to pray beautifully in front of his new friend when we had his family over for a BBQ. Then Gabe, his friend asking as politely as possible if we had to pray when we went to Burger King--prayer in your heart buddy, prayer in your heart.

2--After three weeks we finally got rid of the ants all over the place--wahoo.

1--Uncle Davy and Aunt Suzy being able to come right over for Birthdays and Sunday dinner because they live so close.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Road Trippen accross the USA...

After the movers took all of our stuff from our house on Friday May 15 we said good-bye to South Carolina. We then drove up to Richmond Virginia to stay the night. The next morning we spent in Jamestown the first English settlement to survive in the new world. This is the area Pocahontas lived. Turns out Disney made a few exaggerations. Pocahontas was only a young girl when she saved John Smith. It wasn’t until later when she was taken captive and after her father failed to trade for her she married a tobacco farmer named John Rolfe, and she converted to Christianity. She changed her name to Rebecca. She did go to England and was received as an Indian princess by Queen Anne at John Smith’s insistence. Pocahontas was a huge reason the English were able to succeed in the new world. We really enjoyed walking around the remains of the Jamestown settlement, and the church that still stands today. Kaleb got to wear one of the re-enactor’s metal hats. The kids got to see a man blowing a glass vase and we learned that those first English settlers had a 1 out of 7 chance of living through the winter. It is amazing to think that this country really was vulnerable when it started, and now it’s a super power. After Jamestown we went across Maryland on this little highway 13 instead of up staying on I 95 and going on the NJ Turnpike. We did this so we could take a really long bridge that crosses the Chesapeake Bay. At one point you go under the Atlantic Ocean in these really long tunnels so the ocean liners can go over top of you. When we went down into these Tunnels grandpa John told the kids that if you roll down the windows and honk the horn you hear it echo all the way through the tunnel. As we were on an adventure of course we had to try it. The only back lash was when we were in a very busy tunnel in NYC, the kids kept saying honk the horn, honk the horn. We didn’t think it was a good idea, so Grandpa John just slowed down under the speed limit and someone honked for us. It was NYC after all. We were so extremely amused my dad felt he needed to collect honks after that. But alas I am getting ahead of myself. After we drove up the coast of Maryland, we stayed Sunday in New Jersey, so we could go to the Spanish ward’s stake conference—okay we were hoping to meet some Hungarians, because I had been reading about them being concentrated in that area, but the ward time had been changed and the internet hadn’t been updated—what you going to do? We felt the spirit, it was lovely. We drove around New Brunswick NJ, we saw Rudgers U, the Hungarian Church and athletic club down town. I met a lady who had immigrated when she was 17 from Hungary, and she told me all about herself. It was really cool. Then we drove down to see Princeton—which has a golf course in the middle of it--in case you had a few hours between classes? Lest anyone be concerned we found all the smart kids--they are walking around Princeton waiting for the next star trek convention in silk jackets. The old buildings were beautiful.
Monday we went to Washington DC. This was Kaleb’s favorite stop. Why ask you? Because we saw the capital building, and got close enough to see which wing belonged to the Senate, and which belonged to the House? Or perhaps because we saw The White House and Arlington cemetery? Could it have been the Lincoln Memorial Monument that so intrigued Kaleb? No, no, alas because he got to ride in a fighter pilot simulator and while Grandpa John rolled them around like they were in real flight, Kaleb shot the clankers down—yeah Star Wars. While in Washington we ate astronaut ice-cream and saw how big a nuclear war head is--Yikes. Go America!!
Tuesday we drove back up to NY and went to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. It was very sobering to understand how America became a nation by the people who came here. It was made even more interesting because I had been doing research about the Hungarian people who had come over to work at the Johnson and Johnson factory around 1905. These people came over for an opportunity that was suppose to improve their lives, living for six weeks on an illness infested ocean liner, then finally making it to the statue of Liberty and then rounding to Ellis Island. On Ellis Island we learned about the process they would have had to of gone through to get that extra few miles into the US. How sad for the people who didn’t make it, and had to turn right back around and live another six weeks on the boat. I think that we need to remember all of these people who were so brave to leave their homes and everything they knew for an opportunity that I know I don’t appreciate enough.
The kids were kind of restless going through Ellis Island, but Kaleb was extremely taken with Lady Liberty as she was crafted out of copper that is about as thick as a couple quarters. Tavi thought she was pretty and started pretending she was her giant mother. And that is my kids in a nutshell.
That evening we drove through New York, and yes my Dad collected honks. I can’t remember how many he got, but I think it may be the first time in history someone was disappointed they hadn’t reached a solid ten. We went across the George Washington Bridge, and then headed up to Connecticut--poked around Farmington, and ate in Hartford. Then we went up to New Hampshire and spent the night. My Dad saw some fishermen and was tempted to go out with them, but alas, the beaches of Maine where waiting. We drove up to Old Orchard Beach in Maine and the kids played on the beach. Kaleb learned about the water table and how far he had to dig down to get to it. It was at that point my Dad informed us that we had driven so far north that if we had been driving west we would be in Utah. What fun would that have been though?
That afternoon we drove past Walden Pond. It is a swamp now, but it was cool to see where Thoreau spent his two years away from the world immersed in nature. That was also the time frame he spent his famous night in jail for refusing to pay $7 to support the war with Mexico. We drove until pretty late that night and made it to Palmyra NY. Then the next morning we went to the Sacred Grove and saw the Smith family home where Joseph lived at the time of the first vision. It was really interesting to go into the home--so humbling to hear all that Joseph and his family went through to bring the true church back to this earth. It was a beautiful morning and we wandered through the Sacred Grove. After we found a little nook we read the story of the first vision. Then we went to the Hill Cumorah. The kids were pretty restless by then, so we skipped the visitor’s center and just went up to the hill and talked about Moroni and the Golden plates. It was a nice morning. We then drove to Niagara Falls, and saw the massive amounts of water coming down over cliffs.
We spent a long night driving and we made it to Kirtland Ohio. The next morning we got our own personal tour of the Kirtland temple by this nice lady from the reorganized church. We met Elder Groberg who wrote the other side of Heaven, and Karl Anderson who wrote Joseph Smith’s Kirtland just coming out of the temple. Whose distiction must be observed, as they took a picture of all four of us. Our tour was cool-- we got to see every nook and cranny of the temple, including a place where you could see how they had stacked the rocks. It was really interesting to learn about the temple and more than once she referred to the LDS town around the NK Whitney store as “down the hill” and we where amused. Then we went down the hill. We watched a great movie about NK Whitney and how he prayed Joseph to Kirtland. Then about the urgency the saints felt to build a temple. It was sad in places and talked about the persecution the saints endured, and about how Joseph lost his infant son.
Then we got into the car and drove to Chicago. We didn’t have a lot of time at this point, so when we stopped for gas we talked to this older gentleman and he told us about this third generation Italian pizzeria. It was so tasty, and can I just say Chicago style pizza is really different, I know understand why they call it a pie, it kind of is, but so tasty!! The restaurant was kind of a hole, but they seriously know what they were doing.
We made it to the middle of Iowa that night, and the next day we drove from eight in the morning Iowa time until one in the morning Utah time. Yes, I said Utah time because that is where slept that night. After a few days relaxing at Grandparents house the kids and I finished the rest of the way to Oakland without Grandpa John, he was missed. We were relieved to get out of the car, and Daddy was very happy to see us.