Wednesday, August 26, 2009

taking advantage of the situation

I can remember very well the summer before Ryan started Kindergarten. We had these Sesame Street computer with number games and one with letter games. He used to want to play them all the time, and Emily would always pull up a chair and watch him. I would tell Ryan to make sure he gave Emily a turn, but she never wanted to play. She just wanted to watch. On the first day of school, we all went outside with Ryan to see him get on the bus. After the bus drove away, Doug and I stayed outside talking for a few minutes before he had to head back to work and Emily quickly went into the house. When I came in, I found her sitting at the computer, playing one of the computer games. I didn't know that she knew how to start it, but she had been watching all summer, soaking it all in, just waiting for her turn.

Last week when we returned home from dropping all the kids off at school, Ainsley went straight upstairs. I came up to check on her and found her all tucked into Jack's bed with her Game-boy, her animals and her book.

She had just been waiting for her turn.

first day of school - part two

Jackson was a little easier to wake up this morning, and was ready to go!

Hugs for Ainsley (who was quite annoyed she wasn't going to school!)!

I think he's really glad that his big sis will be at school with him...

Jack the Kindergartner!

And his cool Transformers backpack...

first day of school - part one

The first day of school for Ryan and Emily was yesterday! I had volunteered to go in early to help at Jackson & Emily's's a brand new school and they just got their certificate of occupancy last Friday! So no students had been allowed in the building for tours or open house. The kindergartners only go one day this week on a staggered schedule, and even though yesterday wasn't Jack's day to go, I wanted him to go in early with me so he could see the school. He was not too fond of getting up early ("Why is it still dark??")!

So he snuggled on the couch while Emily got ready.

Emily the 5th grader...

Doug worked from home yesterday so he could take Ryan to school, since I was going to be at the elementary school.

Back in uniform...

Ryan the 7th grader!

Up next...first day of school - part two!

off to a great start

Wow! You all missed some fantastic soccer games this past weekend! Our girls took 2nd place in the tournament! We won our first three games and then lost (3-1) in the final. Emily wasn't able to play in the final game...she pulled a muscle in her calf earlier that morning and could hardly walk. She's doing a bit better. She's resting it the rest of the week and hopefully she'll be able to play this weekend! They sure played their little hearts out in the tournament and it was so much fun to watch! It's gonna be a fun season!! Go Fury!!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

sweet tooth

Our neighbor, Kerry, bakes amazing cakes. She and her family went out of town a few weeks ago, and when they returned, she brought down a delicious cake to thank us for looking over their house while they were gone. It was a chocolate cake, with chunks of chocolate in it and a chocolate ganache over the top. Doug commented that he didn't know it was humanly possible to pack that much chocolate flavor into one cake. It was very good. And it didn't last very long. I think it was the third day when Ryan came down and asked if he could have the "last" piece...

...when this is how much was left...

Nice try, Ryan.

Monday, August 10, 2009


I asked Ainsley to pour some of her pool water into my pots and she was more than happy to help!

I probably should have specified I wanted her to pour water in the pots that actually contained plants...


Ryan: Jackson, do you even know what twins are?

Jackson: Um, yeah! They're kids who wear the same clothes!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

la la land

Almost 2 whole months ago (gasp! Man, time flies!!), I took a fabulous trip to Southern California. You may have heard me mention it a time or two before I left...something about how this was going to be the first time Doug and I were going to be away from the children since our last vacation together...8 YEARS AGO! And you may have even heard me gush after returning that it was one of my best weeks ever!! And I know some of you are starting to wonder if the trip really happened, since there have been no posts or pictures on this website. I've been meaning to write about it...really, I have. It's just that every time I sit down to write, I feel blocked. Because I know I won't be able to do it justice. Because it wasn't just the fun happenings, it was also the quiet happenings...the peaceful, calming feelings that take over when you realize that the only person you have to take care of for the time being is yourself. But because I had more fun than one should legally be allowed to have in one week, I feel like it's time for me to just get over myself and share my fabulous week with you!

So, here is what I love about Southern California...

(btw, these are mostly in chronological order...not in order of fabulousness...)

1. Santa Monica

After we landed at LAX, Doug and I rented a car and drove to Santa Monica. It was a Saturday, and very busy. Our first experience with LA traffic...FUN! But once we got there and found a place to park, we walked to the beach and it was all worth it. The beach, the activity, the fun to watch everything. We had lunch at a fabulous Mexican restaurant right on the Pier and then did a little shopping. My favorite store?? Yummy Cupcakes! Check these out...

2. The Gibson Inn & Suites

After our day in Santa Monica, we made the "quick" 40 mile/2 hour jaunt over to Kate and John's apartment. It's nestled in the back of the complex, and surrounded by these awesomely huge trees with gorgeous purple flowers. Since you all know how well I do with tree identification, I won't even try...but really, they were beautiful! We had a very yummy dinner - spaghetti and meatballs, bread and of course, yummy cupcakes! We talked a lot, laughed a lot, ate a lot and listened to some really great music. A wonderful end to a great first day!

3. Del Mar

As much as I loved Santa Monica, it doesn't hold a candle to Del Mar. It's such a sweet little town just north of San Diego and only about an hour and a half or so from LA. With our husbands both working, Kate made plans for us to head down to Del Mar on Monday. She was going to be visiting one of her nearby stores on Tuesday, so she made reservations for us to spend the night at an amazing inn called Les Artistes, just blocks from the ocean and within walking distance to the heart of the town. We stayed in the Zen Room and the room totally delivered on it's promise of a calming and relaxing experience!

We walked into town that evening and had dinner outside, over looking the ocean, at an amazing restaurant called Pacifica Del Mar. I don't know if it was the ocean, the wine, the food, the company...probably a combination of all...but it was probably one of the best dinners of my life!

The next morning, Kate went to work and I stayed behind to do a bit of exploring in Del Mar. I grabbed a cup of coffee and headed to the beach! I couldn't believe how blue the water was...nothing like Santa Monica. I sat on a bench for awhile, listening to my iPod and watching the surfers, the people playing volleyball, and there was even someone attempting to parasail. After a walk on the beach, I headed back into town, did a little window shopping, and then met Kate for lunch for one of my all-time favorite sandwiches: California BLT!

4. Hollywood

Okay, even if you don't get into the whole "celebrity" thing, Hollywood is still a very cool place to see. I loved seeing the Kodak Theater, which is the home of the Academy Awards, Grauman's Chinese Theater and the hand and foot prints outside, all the stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and other landmarks I've seen on TV and in movies. Kate and I also took one of the bus tours through Hollywood, up Mulholland Drive, Beverly Hills and Rodeo Drive and of course, all the stars' homes. And we even managed to see Quentin Tarantino, in his car, fighting the same traffic we were!

5. Glen Ivy

I'm not much of a spa girl. I've only ever had one massage in my life and I'm not normally one for manicures/pedicures. So I wasn't sure how I was going to feel about spending the day at a spa. But Glen Ivy is simply amazing and not like anything I could have imagined. After Kate and I checked in, we grabbed a couple of chairs by one of the outdoor pools and began our day of total relaxation. Reading by the pool, floating on a raft in the pool, a couple of drinks at the pool bar, lunch on the terrace, Club Mud, The Grotto...I don't believe there was one ounce of tension left in my body when we left.

6. Disneyland

I think Doug and I love Disney just as much, if not more, than our kids do and we would have loved to have had an opportunity to spend a day at Disneyland. Unfortunately, we didn't have an entire day to spend there, but on Thursday night, Kate dropped me off at Doug's hotel, which was within walking distance to the park. We decided to spend the evening at Downtown Disney, which is basically a lot of shops and restaurants. After walking around for a bit, we settled on eating at Ralph Brennan's Jazz Kitchen for dinner and waited a few minutes for a table out on the upstairs balcony. So glad we did that, because just before dessert, the Disneyland Fireworks started and we had a front row seat!

On Friday, we had a few hours to kill before heading back to Kate & John's, so we walked back to Downtown Disney to have lunch and see a movie. The movie, Star Trek, was phenomenal...and not just for the movie, but for the fact that I didn't have to get up once to take anyone to the bathroom or to get more popcorn. Plus, it wasn't animated, so that helped too!!

6. In-N-Out / Sprouts

Two places I would frequent if they were anywhere near I guess it's a good thing for my waistline and wallet that we don't have them on this coast!

If you ever have an opportunity to eat an In-N-Out burger, you should. No, you must. Even you vegetarians, you can still have the fries! I mean, we have good burgers here (Five Guys!), but there's just something about this place. It took every ounce of my willpower not to make Kate drive me back there 5 more times!

And Kate's store, Sprouts Farmer's Market is wonderful...just wonderful.

But the absolute best thing about Southern California and the entire trip was...

My sweet sister Kate. It has been way too long since we've had a chance to hang out...just the two of us. She made everything about the trip even better and I think my cheeks still hurt a little from all the laughs.

So thanks to my wonderful husband for working for a company that has conferences in cool places (next summer, Washington DC!), and for letting me tag along. And thanks to Dennis and Mary, who spent the week wrangling all four kids and taking such good care of them that I didn't have to worry about a thing. And thanks to Kate, for knowing exactly what I needed, even when I didn't...from the hummus & pretzel chips to healing my soul and everything in between.

If you want to see all the pictures, just click here.