Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Service, Celebrations and the Cellar

I have a little catching up to do. Last I posted I was enduring single parenthood. We were very glad to have Jeff come back late, late on Friday night. He got home in time for us to complete our family service project for the Disney give a day, get a day program.

We collected baby items for the Riverside life services for our service project, now we'll get a trip to Disneyland as a family. Definitely worth the price of admission!

After that we went to Ramona High School for their first annual Piano Festival. You could sign up and play for 3 judges who would rate your ability and give constructive criticism.

Taylor did well but not as well as he would've liked. One judge gave him the highest rating, the next one gave him the second highest rating, and the last gave him the second highest rating with a lot of pluses after it. Soo he ended up with the second highest rating overall. He was complimented on his playing but their advice was to slow down his music some. He already knew that but with his nerves going he said it was really hard to do it.

That's OK it was a good experience overall and it'll give him something to work for next time.

After his performance we cashed in our Christmas gift certificate for P.F. Changs to celebrate Taylor's performance and spend some time as a family before another busy week.

Fast forward to this last weekend and we brought the kids to see Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Jeff didn't know too much about it but the kids were very excited (especially the boys who read all the books).

How did the family rate it...

Ashley's rating was 9 1/2 out of 10

Taylor's rating was 7 1/2 "not as good as the book but still funny"

Jacob's rating was 9 1/2 "it was funny"

My rating 6 1/2 "not as horrible as I thought it would be but the books were a lot better"

and Jeff..."that was the stupidest movie I've spent money on in a long time....mumble mumble...waste of time..."

This Saturday we were in charge of helping with the Little People of America Easter Party.

Taylor was invited on a hike with friends so for the first time he decided to skip the LPA party and go on the hike instead. I guess he's getting too old for egg hunts
(of course he wasn't past trying to snake candy from the younger two later).

People were having fun hanging out on the playground of the school we rent. (The equipment is pre-school size which is perfect for us!)

Planning these events has been interesting. I've served as Vice President and Co-president for the last 4 years and this event was an election year. I was planning to take a break.

I told Joanna that I can't be president (which she wanted) while I'm serving as Relief Society President. I outlined my duties as Relief Society president to her and it even overwhelmed myself.

We discussed different names to have on the committee, nobody would step up...it looked like I would be on the "ballot" for Vice President again.

I cringed as I thought how over these last 4 years it's been a struggle but I guess we'll grin and bear it for 2 more.

So on to the party. There is usually plenty of food brought but with dividing food assignments up by last name you always wonder what your going to get. Usually it works out pretty good but this time we had a lot of salad and desserts so I'm glad I bought hot dogs as a supplement ... all 80 of them were gone by the end...

Once the other committee members got there we started playing some games. Since we were planning this event during the Olympics we decided to have some "Olympic games" complete with medals to award the participants.

This first game was the "shoes relay" we stood in a line and had to run and drop our shoes at the end of the line. Once the line had all dropped their shoes we ran back to collect our shoes and put them back on. Ashley wasn't sure about it at first but she did fine ;)

Once Jacob heard the rules he was out of there. He didn't want to participate.

Next was the sack races. After the kids participated it was the adults turn...:)

Go Jeff Go!!!

Next was the egg on the spoon relay.

Jacob do you want to participate???? "No"

Go Ashley!!

Whoever thought to use wooden eggs was smart.

After the races it was time for the egg hunt. There was supposed to be a limit of 12 eggs per child. Those who couldn't count yet exempted themselves from this rule and came back with an overflowing bucket of eggs.

Ashley took exactly twelve, Jacob took 25. (When they were fighting over one empty egg the next day I warned him that if he complained I'd split his eggs up evenly with her :)

After the Easter Party we raced home to get ready to go to dinner with the Vincent's.

By some miracle we weren't even late despite the fact that we ran out of gas on the way home from the party.

I knew my gas was low and I kept asking Jeff how we were doing on gas. I've run out once before and I know that you can't let it get too low below empty. He promised he would get it in Corona since he was in the toll lane at the time. In Corona he wanted to keep going and thought "we would just make it, but it would be close". He was driving to Central where we were picking up his car from the tire place.

As we are driving I'm thinking in my mind "What if we run out of gas in the fast lane and we get stuck on the freeway".

Well sure enough at Arlington (one exit away) Jeff is on the phone and he pulls across all lanes of traffic as he is losing the power steering and the power brakes. We're out of gas. He is lucky enough that the light was green getting off the freeway and the offramp was downhill. He pulled into a drive way to a business and there we sat. He was still on the phone acting like nothing was going on to the client he was talking to.

I refrained from saying "I told you so" too much and let him figure it out. He jogged over to the oil change place nearby as he found a guy with a gas can who was willing to drive him over to get some gas. He was very lucky. The kids just sat in the car and continued to watch their movie.

We got home with a few minutes to spare before the Vincents came to get us.

They took us to a nice restaurant out in Fullerton called the Cellar.

It was a French restaurant that you walked down inside of. You felt like you were in a wine cellar/cave. It was cozy and interesting.

Scott and Penney talked about the escargot that they had eaten last time they were there and when Jeff and I cringed they got them so we could try them. Sooo...we have both tried snails now. I have to say they weren't bad at all. I was so expecting to hate them, I actually liked them. (the garlic sauce they were in helped too).

I got the halibut...

and Jeff got the steak...

It was a very nice evening and we were very grateful for nice friends who invited us out especially after such a crazy day!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

One of "those" days...

Have you ever had one of those days? You know the ones that never seem to end. The ones that you think nothing can get worse, or crazier or more busy?? I seem to have these at increasing intervals as kids, callings and life gets busier. Of course Wednesday took the cake. The only saving grace was that I brought my camera with me all day to document it...

It started with getting up at 2:00am to wake up Jeff to get ready for his trip to New York. I woke up again at 3:00 to kiss him goodbye and then at 6:00 to get the kids up and going.

The morning started with getting all the kids out the door juggling multiple school drop offs and helping the children who were left at home during the school drop off hurry along with getting ready.

After I got them to school I went into the school and finished putting together the rest of the 1,100 book fair copies to go home to every child in the school.

"No big deal" I thought when I volunteered. That's when I learned just how much copying, stapling and sorting 1,100 copies was...

Right after this I went over to the Book Fair room to start setting up for the book fair. We got as far as getting the boxes stacked and the carts placed before I had to run off to take Ashley to a dentist appointment.

I knew that Ashley had a cavity on her bottom tooth that needed to be filled and then they said there was some things that had come up on her xrays last time that they were going to look at.

I fed her lunch in the car because I knew she would miss lunch at school and probably be too numb to eat for awhile and had her brush her teeth in the car so she would be ready for the dentist. The plan was to get her filling and then get her back to school right as lunch was ending.

(She spit out her toothpaste in the parking lot and thought it would be funny thinking that someone though she had thrown up on the ground. Crazy girl)

We got her into the dentist chair and then the associate dentist (our normal one was out of town) started explaining to me about Ashley's teeth. She had a cavity on the bottom teeth but she also had a tooth that was really bad on the top.

She has been wearing headgear for about 3 years and the band for the headgear is attached to a baby molar. Well I guess the permanent molar is coming in behind it slanted and it was a good place to trap food so now the baby molar was decayed all the way to the root under the gum line and had started decaying the permanent tooth coming in next to it.

They talked about getting the orthodontist in to look at it and the only way to deal with the baby molar was to extract it...I look over at Ashley as they are telling me all this and she's quietly sitting in the chair with tears coming down her cheeks. My heart broke. She probably didn't know all we were saying but she knew enough.

I then directed the conversation to her and had the dentist and I explain everything that was going to happen that day.

They started by numbing her up really good on the top and the bottom. They got the orthodontist in (who happens to be in the same complex) and he checked it out and made his recommendations and agreed to take her headgear brackets off. After shots and more shots (it didn't numb her the first time) they drilled for a long time on the bottom tooth and got it filled.

Here is Ashley with her numb 1/2 smile.

Then we went up to the orthodontist and they took off her headgear appliance and took some x-rays. Then back to the dentist to get her upper tooth pulled. That was an ordeal too. The tooth broke and then they had to spend another 10 minutes or so fishing around for the root that was still stuck in her jaw.

Here is the tooth they pulled. You can't tell very well but the root was HUGE. She said she wanted to keep her tooth and didn't want to give it to the tooth fairy. I told her I'd pay her a dollar and she could keep it.

At this point we've been at the dentist for 2 hours, she is bleeding everywhere and 1/2 her face was numb. I decided it would be pointless and cruel to take her back to school. She had been begging all day not to have to go back and I realized she would just be miserable anyways if we attempted it.

So we went to Target instead and I bought her a sympathy toy. Luckily I put gauze in my pocket because she was still bleeding pretty good and she kept soaking through the gauze and I had to keep changing it. We probably helped a couple of shoppers lose their appetite that day.

We got home with about 1/2 hour before school let out. I sat down to finally eat some lunch and of course the door bell rings.

In the brief 1/2 hour or less segments of being home that day the door bell rang interupting the scant seconds of peace I was trying to enjoy...

I was invited to the Easter program at the Jehovah's Witness Kingdom Hall where I would hear the truth about the bible.

I was informed by the Pest Control guy that he was here to do my Pest control service (He makes me come to the door at least twice in 25 minutes every time he's here!)

And I was trying to be sold steaks from the steak truck. It reminds me of the ice cream truck...but selling filet mignon instead of ice cream bars. They always make me a little nervous. Jeff has fallen prey to their sales pitch a couple of times and I was honestly able to tell her that my freezer was already full of ice cream truck steaks. Thank you very much.

Now back to my cold food...

At 3:00 I went to the school hoping the science camp bus was going to be back in time because Jacob and Taylor now had dentist appointments at 3:30.

It was back in time. Just enough time to have Jacob say goodbye to his friends and get his gear.

He loved camp and told me all about horseback riding, canoeing, rock climbing, hiking, and doing a high ropes course where he slipped a bunch of times and finally made it so he could do the zip line.

I had considered going as a parent chaperone earlier but ruled it out so I asked him if he would've wanted me there or not. "No" he said because he saw how overprotective some of the mothers were there and he was afraid that I would've been like that.

Well after some of his stories I think he's right. I'm glad he had a great time on his own and did all the daring things that would've made me squirm to see. I think it was better to hear about it after the fact.

So back at the dentist office to have Jacob get a small cavity filled and Taylor and Jacob both get stuff put on their back molars to prevent future cavities.

The receptionists joked "What are you doing living here today?" Mmmmmm, felt like it.

We had a little bit of a wait but we were done with 45 minutes to spare before it was time for King High school's open house.

This was one of those days that homemade dinner wasn't happening. Don't let Taylor's look fool you he was fine with eating pizza.

After we quickly ate pizza I sent Jacob upstair to take a shower and wash off the 3 days of science camp grime before it was time for our evening stuff. He was in the bathroom 20 minutes with the water on before it was time to leave. It was getting late so we called for him to get in the car.

Well...I didn't find out until the next day that he had never actually got into the shower. He had been "going to the bathroom" the whole time....hhmmmm Taylor said he was going to the bathroom while playing his DS. (Probably making up for lost video game time). But thats another story. So I got the kids including my unwittingly filthy boy in to the car to go to King's open house.

Overlapping with King's open house we had a court of honor at the stake center. Taylor and Jacob were both getting awards at the court of honor but Taylor really wanted to find out about the engineering program and the band at open house.

Taylor's solution was to skip the court of honor he doesn't like the stake ones so I heard all day "Mom you could make this day a lot easier if we just cut one thing out...like the court of honor..." "Mom, none of us want to go anyway..." I stood strong and said we could fit in both.

So we stood on the floor through the speeches of everyone and their dog so we could be first at the tables and then get out of there. As soon as the speeches were done we realized it wasn't so easy to find out where the right tables were.

We finally found band but they didn't give us any more information than we already had so we tried to search all over to find the engineering table. We finally found it as I was ready to give up. We stood in the line to talk to the representative and it was good because Taylor was able to get good advice about his schedule for next year.

At this point my life would've been much easier if I would've just called it a day and went home.

We didn't though and we drove over to the Stake Center and got to the Court of Honor 1/2 hour late. I was serenaded the entire drive with the melodious whines of a boy in the front seat stating "It's such a waste of time...we're always last and we have to wait forever to hear all the other ward's stuff....I can just get my patch later...(he needs it for his Eagle board of review, not to mention Jacob was getting awards too)...this will waste 2 hours of my life..."

Sure enough we were the last ward to get our awards. Every ward's drawn out slide shows of every activity for the past 6 months gave my son ample time to lean over and repeat more of the same protests over and over. Every friend of his whose name was called who wasn't there only reinforced his outrage of me "forcing" him to be there. "See they aren't here...why do I have to be here!!!"

I met the resistance with as much stone silence as I could muster for fear I would crack and then really lose it.

I could tell all of us had reached our limit for the day. It didn't help when Ashley started piping off too repeating some of the things that Taylor was saying...

Anyway....I enjoyed watching Jacob getting his tenderfoot.

And Taylor being awarded his Life. He was Oh so thrilled to one of only 3 boys from our ward to show up to get his award.

I gave the camera to Jacob to take pictures as Taylor put my mother's pin on me and tolerated my hug. I got back to the chair and the camera was laying on the chair by itself. Thanks Jacob.

So here is my self portrait of my mother's pin...

As soon as the court of honor was over hanging out with JJ seemed to put everyone in a good mood. JJ told Taylor "So when are you going to turn 14 so we can go to the dances with me?" Oh my I just realized that's next month!

We got home about 9:15 and put mostly everyone to bed. Taylor was still banging around trying to finish homework that he didn't get to do because I "forced" him to go to the court of honor.

At 10:00 I left him to his homework and went to bed. I was very glad that the day was over.

The next morning started out rough. Everyone was hung over from tooooo much the day before. By some small miracle everyone got to school...even though Jacob got his first tardy because I didn't discover that he never made it into the shower the day before just as we were getting ready to leave for school. So he got his shower but he got to school late.

By the time everyone was coming home from school all was forgiven and forgotten as we apologized to each other and we had a peaceful rest of the week until Jeff got back from New York. Thank Goodness!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Feeling like spring

So it's feeling a lot like spring here in our area. I always love when it starts to warm up and I get some new flowers for the porch (since most of them don't survive through to the next year.) It always makes me happy to see blooming flowers when I walk in the door. Now I just need to remember to water them :)

Ashley's butterflies have finally come out of their cocoons. We were lucky enough to see about 4 or 5 of them emerge from their chrysalis. Once they split it open they pop out quick! Their wings are all crumpled and it takes awhile to get ready to be able to fly.

Here is a few of them once they have come out. (They blend in with the pattern on the floor of their "house"

One thing that is weird that I never knew as they are recovering from their chrystalis state and getting ready to fly they excrete this red fluid that looks like blood (scary looking). I read about it and it's actually left over dye!

Once all nine of them came out there wasn't much room in their habitat. They were bumping into each other and knocking each other upside down. Ashley being the good pet owner that she is decided to let them go. (Luckily the weather warmed up enough for them to be let out)

It was actually harder than we thought to coax them out. I actually had to let some of them crawl on my hand to get them out. Then they all just sat here on the plate.

This guy attatched himself to Ashley's foot and didn't want to leave. "Watch your step Ashley!"

When a couple of them fell to the ground we realized the cats were an issue! We quickly shoed the cats away and I ended up taking them one by one to a bush and put them up high so nothing could get them.

Eventually they started flying away. They were neat to look at up close until they were ready to fly away.

This week we had our Relief Society birthday dinner. The turn out was good, the food was good and the decorations were great!

The committee did a great job this year. It was a "purse" theme. They had cute purse invitations, we had games with the purses (we weighed them all and got a prize for the heaviest and lightest and had a purse "scavenger hunt") and there was purse decorations on the tables.

For the program we had women representing Relief Society through the ages.

Including Emma Smith, a pioneer from Salt Lake, a sister from the 20's and from the 80's. I represented the modern day Relief Society sister. It gave me the opportunity to look through my ansestors journals to get a sense of what life was like for them. It was great to be able to appreciate their lives better by reading about them.

After the program women headed over to the DI trade table. We had a table where you could bring stuff and take DI stuff. I think it was a lot of fun and some people left with some things they were really happy with. (One of Jacob's halloween costumes has now been inherited by a boy in the ward who put it on immediately and wore it the rest of the night. They next day at the school open house he was still wearing it! :)

This last Friday was the middle school's end of the trimester and Taylor had a day off. I decided to take him to Knotts Berry Farm and arrange for Jacob and Ashley to play at friends houses after school.

We are buying passes this year. From now through April 11 you can buy passes for $85.00 that gets you into Knotts Berry Farm, and water parks in Palm Springs, across from Knotts berry farm and in San Dimas for the rest of the year. The best part is there isn't any blackout dates.

I know that Taylor will be busy a lot this year with King Band so he will be missing some of our excursions so I thought I would bring him on his own to be able to go on all the big rides.

Andrea agreed to buy passes too so we brought Mclain along too so he could enjoy his day off (and go on the rides with Taylor if I wanted to sit one out ;)

Goint to Knotts reminded me of my younger days when I used to go there all the time. When I was little we used to live near by and my mom would bring us over to play on the playground all the time. It's changed a lot but there is still a lot that I remember.

I was proud of myself for going on all but a couple of the rides that the boys wanted to go on. There was a couple that I was happy to go on only once. After boomerang for example...

Once a day on the Silver bullet was good for me too.

This ended up being the boys favorite ride. It was a good one but I ended up queasy and dizzy at the end so once was good for me...

though the boys went on it like 6 times!

While we were there Mclain was interested in the Geodes that you can pick out and they cut for you. We figured if we bought one for $10.00 Taylor could get 1/2 and Mclain could get 1/2 and they would only have to spend $5.00 each.

"Taylor show us your geode!" ..."You don't look very excited about it"

"That's better"

The boys ended up getting another one to split to bring home to their siblings. How nice of them. (Ashley and Jacob loved it:)

Throughout the day Mclain was brave enough to go on everything without hesitation. The one that took more courage than the others for him was Supreme Scream.

It's pretty high up there. We asked the workers if they get a kick out of watching people get scared riding this ride all day. They said "Oh yes, all the time!" Ha ha.

It was also our last ride of the day before we came home right in the middle of rush hour traffic on the 91. The boys both said it was a very fun day. Much better than being in school :)

Yesterday we sent Jacob off to science camp. Jacob was excited and nervous at the same time. He is going to be gone for 3 days. The house already feels too quiet but every time I think of that I know that Jacob is having a lot of fun with his friends.