Monday, June 29, 2009

Night Riders

Yesterday (Sunday) we went to church at 8:30am. We normally go at 10:30am but the kids were singing at the 8:30 mass as part of their Vacation Bible School. I'm glad we went early because it got us up and out of the house, and we had the whole day ahead of us after church.

I had "major cleaning of house" on our list-of-things-to-do today, which I know - what an awful thing to be doing on a Sunday, our day of rest, right? But after we got out of church, and I saw the blue, blue sky, and felt how hot it was getting, and looked over across the church parking lot and saw our motorhome parked just a few feet away at our Public Storage facility....I looked over at Rich and said, "Let's just get in that thing and GO. Let's skip the cleaning!"

So that's what we did!

We drove down to Doheney Beach and set up "camp" for the day. It was an awesome day there, not too hot, but the sun was shining. I took the BEST nap on the top bunk in the motorhome while Rich watched the kids down at the water. I opened the window right next to me, surrounded myself with about 5 pillows, and the breeze coming in just put me to sleep. I bet I slept at least an hour. I so needed that!

The kids went in the water, like always. But because there was a strong riptide, they couldn't really go far, which is good. I get so nervous with the ocean.

Rich made us lunch, and then for dinner he BBQ'd a tri-tip steak and it was SO good! We headed back for home at 7pm. It was only 10 minutes away, but it felt like we were off somewhere camping.

Once we were home, we got all the kids bathed and ready for bed. Audriana and Afton then babysat for us so that Rich and I could go out a night bike ride. We put headlights on our handle bars and headed for the trails. We've been riding our bikes everyday this past week, and although we had a long day at the beach, I didn't want to skip our workout.

This was the first time we went riding at night. What a trip! You can't really see the trails except for where your light is shining. I had Rich go in front of me the entire time so that he could light the way a bit. Plus, if there were any spider webs on the trails, well then he would hit them and not me. (I know, aren't I awful? But hey, that's what men are for! Ha!)

It was kinda scarey at night. It was so quiet. And, of course, DARK. I was thinking to myself, I hope there aren't any hungry mountain lions out ready to pounce on us... because not too long ago a man was killed while biking not too far from where we live. A mountain lion just jumped on his head and attached him as he rode by! His poor friend saw the whole thing and couldn't get the mountain lion off in time. How sad, huh? That attack happened during the day, though. Maybe they only hunt during daylight hours?

We were gone an hour and went up some really hard hills. At one point I had my bike in the lowest possible gear going up this one hill that just went on forever and I kept thinking, "One more push, one more push, one more push" even though I just wanted to get off and walk the rest of the way. But, I made it. When we got home, my face was so red! Good workout.

But the bad thing about it.... is that now it's almost 1am and I'm not tired! Rich is snoring loudly (yes, he snores but only if he's on his back!) but I can't sleep. I know this is going to mess with me in the morning. Oh well.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Hairspray, anyone?

I took these pictures a few weeks back before the boys got their haircuts. I just wanted to remember what they looked like during our shaggy hair stage.

It's the shoes!!

Afton went to her 8th grade dance and this is a photo of her shoes (the silver ones) and her friend Ashlynn's.

Okay, maybe it's just me...but when I was 13 and in the 8th grade, wearing shoes like these only happened when I was in my mom's closet. Either I wasn't much of a girly-girl.... or times, they are a change'n.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Daddy Love

Daddies are so important. I'm so lucky that my kids have a great one!

Petting Zoo

There is the cutest zoo here just 1o minutes away from us! I took the kids and they loved it. They have a rabbit and guinea pig area where you can go in and pick them up, feed them, etc.

There is also an area with goats. The cutest ones were the baby goats, of course. The big ones were a bit aggressive when they knew you had food. One knocked Avery against the fence and had her pinned. She did not like that at all and refused to go back into the goat pen "ever, ever again!" (her words) I can't say I blame her.

But...the other kids had fun in there.

And we took some pictures next to the pretty flowers...just because, you know, I can never resist a good group shot!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Move Over

This is my bed.
But you'd never know this.
Because there's never any room for me.

On this night, there is Afton, Alex, Aislynn, Andrew and Aria in my bed. (You can see Afton stretched out there in the top left of the photo -- yep, even at the age of 13, she still winds up in my bed some nights!)

Alex and Aislynn flop together....

I might get pushed out of my bed from time to time, but Lord, I am SO grateful for my crowded bed!!

Now, THAT's a lot of kids!!

This is a rare photo of Tony (our oldest) with ALL of his siblings!! Eight are from Rich and myself, and the other five are from Tony's other mom and her husband. (for those of you who don't know this, Tony is actually my stepson)

This photo is in age order from oldest to youngest! What a cool picture - I love it! This was taken last Saturday at Tony's high school graduation.

From left to right: Tony, Audriana, Afton, Skye, Jared, Alex, Avery, A.J., Faith, Gabriella, Aislynn, Andrew, Phoebe, and Aria

::::: whew!! ::::

Now, that's a lot of kids!

The Gang

Tony with Audriana and Afton

Alex, Jared, A.J. and Andrew

Skye, Avery, Faith, Aislynn, Gabriella

Father's Day

Today we went to the fire station to visit Rich on Father's Day. It's a bummer he had to work on his special day, but he didn't seem to mind. He loves when his family visits him at work!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Number Nine

Aria is our entertainment around here lately. Everything she does is new and fun. She is starting to walk, so whenever she gets up in a standing position, the entire room stops and 5 or 6 different voices say, "Oh! Look at the big girl...." and she smiles and looks from face to face. Then she takes her steps and when she plops down or makes it to her destination, she gets a thunder of applause from all who watched her. And she loves it. She knows she's the baby in the family, and she loves every second of it.

Here are a few photos taken of her the other day.

The foot-on-the-table thing is a practice of hers that I know I should nip in the bud now... but it's just so darn cute. It won't be cute when she's four, though.

Her favorite thing to do is take out ALL our bowls and plates from the cabinets. She does this at least 20 times I could put locks on the doors so she can't do this and save my back from bending and picking them up all day long... but why would I take away her fun? She's exploring. This is fun for her. And although annoying for me, it's not a bad thing or dangerous. So this is just what our kitchen looks like most of the day. No biggie.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Laughter Therapy

One of my most favorite things to do is to laugh. If something can make me laugh, I'm a fan. I love comedies. I love funny sitcoms. Most of all I love people who can make me laugh. And my sister tops that list, big time.

Kelly is one of the funniest people that I know. Her sense of humor is something that I "get" and we can spend hours on the phone just bantering senarios back and forth, each adding onto the last, seeing how far we can push it until we are both sore in our guts from laughing too hard. She is 5 years younger than me, and I can't remember a time or an age when she did not make me laugh.

One time when she was around 12 and I was 17, I was in my room sitting on my bed reading a book. My door was open, and she started to come into my room and I quickly said, "Get out." very calmly but sternly, without even looking up from my book. I noticed from my peripheral vision that she was still standing in the doorway, but I refused to look up from my book to make eye contact. "Get out", I repeated. I seriously just wanted her to go away and not bother me. But yet, she stood there. And I continued reading, refusing to let her bother me. I never looked up at her, didn't want to give her that satisfaction that she was "bothering me". I thought I would get her by simply ignoring her. So I just read, and she didn't go away. It was like she just froze there. I was curious, but I did not look up. Okay, -- not kidding here or exaggerating all -- about 10 minutes passed and she was still there in the doorway, as still as can be, and I just HAD to look up to see what in the world she was doing there, and when I did... I burst out laughing. There she stood, with her face turned to the side, and she had somehow managed to flatten her face to look as if she were pressing her face against a window looking in at me. Her hands were posed at her face as if they were pressed up on the window as well. I could not believe that she had held that position for so long, just being patient until I looked up at her. She was a mime looking in at me through the invisible window to my bedroom. I can still see her like that, and I still laugh about it, so many years later.
Oh my gosh, how she entertains me, just by being her. I love that.

So the thing that gets me is when my sister calls me from Austin, TX at night after I've put the kids to bed. I love when she calls me, but I also know that the rest of the night is a wash because a normal phonecall with her is seriously no shorter than 2 hours. I feel for her because as late as it is for's two hours later for her! But yet, she always calls me at around 9pm or 10pm my time.

So she calls tonight at around 10pm, and we just got off the phone at 1am .. which is 3am her time. And she has two small boys to get up with in the morning.

Ah...poor Kel. But you should know better than to call me late like that.

And it's not like we have anything to talk about, really. We spend most of the time talking about the past, things we did when we were little, comparing what she remembers to what I remember. We recite old cartoons. Tonight it was Tom & Jerry ... is you is, or is you ain't my bay-bay -- Tom! Do you want the neighbors to think you're crazy?!! and movies that we love: "...of course when I say 'we' I mean 'you'... (the Grinch) or "Roooooney....erh!!" or "How come Andrew gets to get up? If he gets up, we'll all get up... it will be anarchy!"
(Ferris Beuller's Day Off and Breakfast Club for those of you who don't recognize those lines)

Just basically wasting time on the phone, is what it is.

But it's so much fun! And necessary. We need this from time to time. We are both busy moms of little ones, with crazy schedules and little time to ourselves. We both have our husbands and our friends, but there's just something about the connection you have to someone that has been raised with you in the same home from infancy to adulthood. It's unique, and no one can touch it or compete or take the place of.

So yea, I'll be a throw-away tomorrow with bags under my eyes, but -- I still look forward to the next late night call I get from her, when we will do it all over again, sometimes talking and laughing about the same exact things as we did the last time.   You know what it's like? It's like a good rerun that you can watch over and over again because it just makes you laugh no matter how many times you watch it, and laughing feels good.

Yea. It's like that.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Avery's First Holy Communion

On May 2, 2009, Avery made her First Holy Communion. She looked so beautiful !! The above photo is my absolute favorite of her. The camera has always loved Avery:)

Avery with Grandma Barbara at the church

We were so proud of Avery on this day. She wasn't even nervous. She wore the same dress that her two older sisters wore on their First Holy Communion, but Avery picked out her own veil.

Right here I think she's thinking, "Enough with the pictures already -- let's eat some cake!!"

Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Haircut

Depending on who you are, these next photos will either make you scream, "Oh, no! Not his beautiful hair!!!" or "Thank God, it's about time!!! as I had some Andrew hair fans, and an equal amount of people who wanted us to cut it a long time ago!

Yep, it was pretty long. I finally made the decision to cut it when he started to ask for a haircut! He didn't like it being washed, he would run away from me when he saw a brush, and he was just tired of all that hair, I suppose. So, at almost 3 years old, we took him to get his FIRST haircut!

Okay, he definitely looks like a little girl in this photo!

and from the back.....girl !!

He sat very still the entire time.

I love that face!

Ta-da! The new Andrew!!

After his haircut, he kept running up to people and saying, "Look-it my haircut!"

Friday, June 12, 2009

June Gloom

It wasn't exactly a sunny day, but we decided to take a short trip down to our local beach in our motorhome for a few hours before sunset. We bundled up and made the best of the famous "June Gloom" -- the kids didn't mind at all. Alex, Avery, A.J. and Aislynn all got into their swimsuits and went into the waves, got all wet and cold, full of sand. You know, all that fun stuff that you like to do as a kid but not so much as an adult (and I'm talking about getting wet, cold, full of sand on a cold day when you don't have clothes to change into -- kids don't seem to mind that!)

Here is Afton, all cozy in her sweatshirt.

Aria had fun playing in the sand.

Aria was very interested in the waves

Me and Andrew

Afton, Alex, Avery, Andrew, Aislynn and Audriana with Dad.

After a quick run in the waves, A.J. spent the rest of the time in the motorhome. He was tired for some reason, and a bit grumpy and not wanting to get into any of these photos. Oh well... there's always one!