What it's all about...

I'm a 39 year old wife, mom, daughter, sister, aunt & friend. That should tell you who I'll be writing about most of the time.

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Goodbye 2009

I know that I am behind on posting, and as soon as the craziness of the holidays is officially over I fully intend to catch up and stay caught up. I just wanted to post a quick thanks to those of you who read my blog and a sincere thank you to those who comment. I hope you all have a fun evening tonight in whatever you choose to do. Shell is working tonight, so it'll be me and the kids as usual. The sparkling cider is chilling and we'll break out the fancy schmancy glasses to toast with. We'll watch the ball drop and after polishing off the cider we'll head to bed. I'm very happy to see 2009 end and have high hopes that 2010 will be better.
Happy New Year to all my new blog-friends and to those who might read and never comment, a Happy New Year to you too. Maybe I'll get to know you too this year?

Monday, December 21, 2009

Better Late Than Never (Right?!?!)

It's been 3 weeks since we got back from vacation and so much has been going on since then, but I really want to write about the great time we had. I also want to remember how hard this month has been for us so that I can look back next year and be thankful for how much better it is by then. (Wishful thinking here) So, on to the fun stuff...
Our vacation was great. We were very busy and some of us (my boy & Shell) got grumpy at times, but all in all it was a fun trip. This will get long, but I don't want to forget anything.
We had planned to leave Monday by 7pm. There was a storm passing through that day bringing snow to the mountains and we were a little nervous about driving through it. My boss let me leave early to get a head start, so I hoped to go home and pick up Shell to head to the car rental shop. Well, I ended up waiting a little while because she had FINALLY (after feeling crappy for about a week) decided to go to the doctor. She walked out after being diagnosed with an ear infection, a bladder infection AND walking pneumonia. LOVELY! After getting her prescriptions filled, we went to pick up the car. We got an awesome Nissan Altima and Shell accidentally dropped her phone and it broke in 3 pieces. Of course, we don't have insurance on our phones and we haven't been with this carrier very long so we'd have to pay full price for a new phone. Um, no thanks. That won't be happening until AFTER Christmas. I took the dogs to my parents house and loaded up the car while waiting for her to get back. We ended up leaving our house at 7:30, but then stopped at McDonalds to eat, putting us officially on the road at 8:00. Not bad, actually. We did hit horrible snow and ice once we passed through the Eisenhower Tunnel, which slowed us way down, but we were careful and made it through safely.
Sleeping in the backseat. Totally the best way to travel!
We made it to Las Vegas at 6:30am and met Shell's dad for breakfast. We visited a little and ate very good. We stretched our legs and the kids had a great time with their Papa.

Once the Vegas rush hour traffic died down, we got back on the road. California was right around the corner and we didn't want to wait any longer.
Our hotel was very close to Disneyland, and it was a busy week so there was a lot of traffic around the hotel. We were lucky that our room was ready early, so we were able to check in as soon as we got there. The room had 2 queen beds in the main room, plus there was a separate kids room with it's own bathroom, TV and bunkbeds. The kids loved it. We unloaded the car, settled in and Shell & I showered. Then we were off again to see a friend from high school who just had her second child at the beginning of November. It was nice to visit with her and her kids and Shell, my girl and I got to hold and love on her baby girl. From there, we headed to Shell's aunt's place where we got to hang out with aunts and uncles and cousins. Shell's mom got there soon after with Shell's brother and SIL and we ate homemade taquitos, quacamole, beans & rice. We were starving for real food and it all hit the spot.

Wednesday morning we got up early and headed to Disneyland. What a day that was! We were there from 9am to 1am. We rode so many rides and had so much fun. My best friend Eric came with his boyfriend, who we hadn't met before. Shell's cousin and her family were there, as were two other cousins who we met up with periodically throughout the day. We even went across to California Adventure (which we'd never been to) and got to see the charm of that park too. There were A LOT of pictures taken that day, and here are just a few.

Sleeping Beauty's castle & Shell on the Jungle Cruise.

The Haunted Mansion & the Rocket Ships at the entrance to Tomorrowland.

The kids with Pluto & my boy looking for something?

The kids in Toontown & us

Thanksgiving Day was spent with Shell's side of the family. It was only the second time she's ever been to her grandma's house, so she was a little apprehensive at first. But it ended up being a fun time. The kids played outside with cousins that they've only heard about and we spent time with people who love us. We were only there for a few hours, but our time was spent well.

3-Legged Race and Potato Sack Race with the cousins.

My girl and I & Shell with her cousins, her brother and her grandma.

The rest of the evening was spent in our hotel room just relaxing. Shell was starting to feel the effects of her illnesses and was running a fever. My boy complained of a sore throat and we thought that our remaining time in CA might not be as fun as originally hoped for. But we persevered.

We visited my grandparents on Friday. Shell hadn't ever been to their house, so it was a big deal to me for her to be there. My grandpa bought pizza and we had 7-Up with it. When I was young, I used to spend the night on Saturday nights so I could go to church with my grandma and they always had 7-Up. I think it was the only soda that they ever bought. So it was kind of neat to share that memory with my family. Then my grandpa served us ice cream, which was another tradition from my overnights there. Shell says that I was grinning from ear to ear. I probably was. After we ate, I walked them through using the DVD player that my sister hooked up for them and then we went in the backyard to take pictures. Shell doesn't usually take pictures, but she did a great job getting this shot of me with my grandparents and my kids.

Shell's aunt took our kids shopping at Toys 'R Us then we went back to her house where the worst part of our trip happened. Worried that with 2 more days of vacation still ahead of us my camera's memory card might get full, I moved the pictures to a flash drive for storage. Then, I rotated the ones that needed it and decided to delete the very blurry ones. Well, unfortunately the ones I had rotated were still highlighted and I inadvertently deleted those too. In an instant my heart dropped and my eyes welled up. I went to the recycle bin and found nothing. I couldn't restore them, as they were deleted from the flash drive and not from the computer. When we got home I tried again with photo recovery software and the files were found, but had been corrupted when they were rotated. 42 pictures gone. I am still heartbroken about it.

After having a moment to berate myself for my stupidity, I picked myself back up and we headed to have pizza with Shell's family for one last hurrah. We wouldn't be seeing them again before we left for home.

Shell with her brother & her mom and aunt.

After leaving the pizza parlor we went to Shell's brother's apartment and visited more with them. It was 11:00 when we got back to the hotel that night and Shell was running a fever again and we were all worn out. But we still had two big days ahead of us.

We slept in a little on Saturday and then went to visit a lady who lives on the street where Shell grew up. Alice pretty much was Shell's safe haven when her own house was full of chaos. When we first started dating, Alice welcomed me into her house and listened when we felt like it was us against the world. She is a very special lady and we love her to pieces.

Shell with her Aunty Alice & me with my boy.
Then we headed to Thanksgiving Part 2 at my Grandma's house. We had a houseful! My grandma, my aunt, my sister and nieces, my oldest cousin and her family and my youngest cousin were all there. Eric & Jake came later to make the day complete. We had a great visit by a cousin on my dad's side that I haven't seen in 20 years. We ate and visited all day. Jake brought fuse beads for the kids to work on and it kept them entertained and quiet. Eric brought the MJ stuff that he bought for me at the memorial service. My boy had a reaction to something and was getting some hives, so my aunt found some Benadryl. For the first time, he successfully swallowed medicine in a pill-form. It was an accomplishment. By the evening, Shell was feeling really yucky and her fever was back again. I really didn't want to leave, but we did end up leaving earlier than I would have liked. It made me feel very lucky to have the people I love all together like that after so long and I wanted to bottle the feeling and take it with me.

My nieces, sister, newly found again cousin, me and my kids & the 11 year olds doing fuse beads.

Eric and Jake & the kids.

My grandma with her granddaughters.
We had one last day in California on Sunday and were heading home that evening. The story of that day and the days since then to come soon.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Spreading the word

Heidi at Thinking Miracles is having a giveaway for an adorable bib & barrette set. Go check it out here to enter.

We got back from California on Monday and I am playing mad catch up at work. I have a lot of pictures and great memories that I want to post, but there is so much to do at work and at home that I am overwhelmed. After a week, there is SO MUCH to catch up on in my blog reader too. I'm slowly making my way through it all. I will write soon, I promise.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

I'm a bad blogger...

It's so ridiculous that I think about blogging EVERY DAY, and don't. And then I get overwhelmed thinking about how long it's been and what has happened and what I've missed writing about. And then I turn around and it's been almost a month since my last post which was just a filler anyway. When I saw that NaBloPoMo was this month I thought perfect, that's what I need. Then realized that I will be gone for a week over Thanksgiving and why even sign up for it if I already know I won't be able to do it. Excuses, excuses...I know.
So, what HAS been going on? I'm sure I'll forget something, but here goes...
  • Since the sudden loss of her much loved chinchilla, my girl has adjusted to her new normal with a lot of tears and an admirable strength. We cleaned out Noel's cage, but it still sits in my girl's room. She isn't ready for it to go yet, and that's okay. She talks about her a lot and misses her fiercely, but she's moving on. It's been very hard, and I'm so proud of her.
  • Halloween was fun. My girl went as a dragon lady with decorated kimono & sash and Chinese fan. Her hair was crimped and she looked great. My boy was The Joker and absolutely loved his costume. We trick or treated for about an hour and a half and they got a good amount of candy. My girl had a friend over who went with us and stayed overnight.
  • November 1st we saw "This Is It". Shell, Dana, my kids and I all went and we loved it. I cried a few times, not because the film is sad but because of the loss of all that talent. It's a wonderful film. When we walked out of the theater I told Shell I wanted to see it every day until the run ended. She had no doubt that I was serious. But since I have neither the time or the money to do that, I waited until my parents went on the 7th and tagged along. I didn't cry as much the second time. I left that to my mom. I still wish that I could see it in the theater one more time, but if I don't I'm happy that I got to see it twice and I will eagerly await the DVD release.
  • F*cebook is taking over all my free computer time. The applications that I participate in are growing and I love them. And I love the connections that I've made on it. But I need to find a way to share my extra time with my blog as well.
  • Went to a fun book signing in Denver on the 2nd. Ree Drummond (The Pioneer Woman) was here to sign her new cookbook, The Pioneer Woman Cooks. I was there about 2 hours before it started, and it was already filling up by that time. The bookstore was not prepared for the turnout she got, and it was packed. But I got my book signed and chatted with her for a few minutes. She is adorable and sweet and courteous and genuinely appreciative of her followers. I met interesting women and just had such a nice time. Definitely not my typical Monday night.
  • Shell and I have fallen in love with two new shows this season. The Good Wife and Modern Family. They are both very good. We are about halfway caught up with the episodes that are in the DVR of both and can't wait to catch up. But we are on a mission to get as much watched as possible before we leave for vacation.
  • Ah, vacation. We have 2 weeks left before we'll be in California. We are driving (rented a car) and will leave Monday evening on the 23rd, arriving midday on Tuesday. We are taking the kids to D*sneyland on Wednesday, Turkey dinner with Shell's family on Thursday, visiting with my grandparents and other casual visits on Friday, Turkey dinner with my family on Saturday and a fun excursion to Los Angeles and Hollywood on Sunday before heading home Sunday evening. We will be exhausted, but it will be so worth it.
  • 2 weeks after we get home, I will hop on a plane back to CA for my little sister's graduation. She has worked so hard to become an R.N. and I'm so glad that I get to see her achieve it. I'll only be there Wed-Sat, but I'm looking forward to it so much.
  • And that will take us right to Christmas. Of which I can't deal with thinking about too much. I think we are somewhat in denial, because we really have no plan of action. Usually we tackle a big portion of our shopping the day after Thanksgiving, but we won't be home on that day and certainly aren't shopping while in CA. Should be interesting.
  • I will be on vacation when my company does it's year-end inventory. So, we are going to do a preinventory in my office before I leave to try to pinpoint any problems ahead of time. Which means that I have about a week to get prepared for this. Plus knowing that I'll be gone for a week, I want to get my desk in order. I have A LOT of filing that needs to be done. A soon as I get done posting this, I'll start to tackle the August filing and make my way to the October stuff. Fun times!
  • We are going to see Wicked this Sunday with Dana & Jeannie and are so excited. We love it so much and can't wait to share it their first time with them.

I'm keeping up with the blogs I read, but sometimes am a few days behind. I have pictures on my hard drive at home, so maybe now that I've updated I'll just do a post of pictures to accompany it. I do appreciate whoever reads my blog and love the comments, so thank you.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

A little different meme

Easing back into posting with a meme I saw on GR-E-G's blog.

1. What is the color of your toothbrush? Pink
2. Name one person who made you smile today. My daughter
3. What were you doing at 8 am this morning? Working
4. What were you doing 45 minutes ago? Still working
5. What is your favorite candy bar? I love the Snickers with Almonds
6. Have you ever been to a strip club? A few times, yes.
7. What is the last thing you said aloud? "Thanks" to a coworker
8. What is your favorite ice cream? Mocha Almond Fudge
9. What was the last thing you had to drink? Water
10. Do you like your wallet? I guess. It's a wallet, nothing special.
11. What was the last thing you ate? Breakfast burrito
12. Have you bought any new clothing items this week? Yes, a pair of pants and 3 shirts for me and a bunch of clothes for the kids at the Macy's sale last weekend.
13. The last sporting event you watched? Back-to-back football games last Sunday
14. What is your favorite flavor of popcorn? Hot air popped with real butter poured over the top. No extra salt.
15. Who is the last person you sent a text message to? Wife's best friend
16. Ever go camping? Haven't since I was a kid when we used to go every year.
17. Do you take vitamins daily? No
18. Do you go to church every Sunday? No
19. Do you have a tan? No, sun exposure is not my friend
20. Do you prefer Chinese food over pizza? yes. unfortunately though, pizza for a family of 4 is much less expensive than Chinese for a family of 4, so pizza wins out 9 times out of 10.
21. Do you drink your soda with a straw? I don't drink much soda, but if I order it and it comes with one, I'll use it.
22. What did your last text message say? "ok I had only mentioned it in passing so I wasn't sure"
23. What are you doing tomorrow? Working of course.
24. Favorite color? Right now I love various shades of green
25. Look to your left; what do you see? Filing cabinets
26. What color is your watch? I don't wear a watch.
27. What do you think of when you hear “Australia”? dream vacation
28. Would you strip for money? hmm. it would depend on so many factors-for whom, where, how much....
29. Do you go in a fast food place or just hit the drive thru? usually drive thru
30. What is your favorite number? don't have one
31. Who’s the last person you talked to on the phone? customer
32. Any plans today? same ole, same ole..
33. In how many states have you lived? 2
34. Biggest annoyance right now? work
35. Last song listened to? Seasons of Love from RENT
36. Can you say the alphabet backwards? not quickly
37. Do you have a maid service clean your house? haha. hahahahaha. no.
38. Favorite pair of shoes you wear all the time? I like my new black mules. usually I don't think of my shoes in terms of favorites. either they match what I'm wearing or appropriate for the weather is what I'm most concerned with.
39. Are you jealous of anyone? I try not to be
40. Is anyone jealous of you? I doubt it
41. Do you love anyone? every day with all my heart, yes
42. Do any of your friends have children? Yes
43. What do you usually do during the day? sit in front of the computer, answer the phone, enter data. and wish I could afford to stay at home.
44. Do you hate anyone that you know right now? no
45. Do you use the word hello daily? yes
46. What color is your car? silver
47. What size wedding ring do you wear? don't remember
48. Are you thinking about someone right now? yes, friends who are going through tough times
49. Have you ever been to Six Flags? once
50. How did you get your worst scar? by having my twins via c-section. worst scar=best reason

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Our Loss

Last Thursday, my daughter's chinchilla Noel passed away. It was the worst day of her life and the hardest day I have had as a parent. We're not exactly sure what happened, but it appears as if her liver failed. We are still reeling from this as a family, and my girl is still grieving the loss of her baby. I made the mistake of referring to Noel as her pet and she corrected me- "Noel was not my pet, she was my baby and my best friend." And she is right, of course.
Noel was still very young. She would have turned 3 next month. She was just 2 months old when we brought her home, a Christmas gift for my girl. She was instantly in love and took great care of Noel. She hand tamed her and talked to her all the time. She read out loud to Noel and confided all her secrets to her. She was a very lucky and so very much loved chinchilla.
About 2 weeks ago, my girl told me that Noel wasn't acting like herself. As we tend to do with our kids, our pets and especially ourselves, I told her she was probably okay and would probably be acting like herself again soon. Here is where my guilt sets in, because this response was purely money driven. In order to take a chinchilla to the vet, you have to find one with experience dealing with exotic animals. And then you pay for that specialty. And again, as with ourselves and sometimes our kids I hated the idea of taking her in and then paying a ridiculous amount of money to find out that she was fine. Big time regret here. My girl trusted that I was probably right and expected that Noel would bounce back. She didn't, obviously.
On Tuesday of last week, my girl told me that Noel was worse and she NEEDED to go to the vet. I went in to check her out and realized that something was definitely wrong. She wasn't bouncing all over her cage like normal and when I reached in to pick her up, she just sat in in my hands and then my lap. She was thinner than before too. I held food up to her mouth and she ate a few bites so I felt better about that, but still worried. Since it was late, I decided to call around in the morning to find out what I should do. I found a vet who could see her, but he was only working the walk-ins that day so I couldn't make an appointment. The girl that I talked to listened to the symptoms I told her and we decided that I could bring her in after work as the vet would be there until 6. Relieved, I went about the rest of my day. I left a little early, went home to pick up Noel, swung by to pick up the kids from choir practice and then headed to the vet's office. Noel was more lethargic now, but I was hopeful that the vet would be able to help us out. Unfortunately, he had decided to leave early for the day and since we weren't an appointment and they didn't have our information there was no way to reach us. We weren't sure what to do. The only other exotic vet in our area was already gone for the day and couldn't get us back in until 8am the next morning. We had the option of going to an after hours hospital, but none had doctors familiar with exotics. After talking about it, we made the very hard choice to take her home and go back to the other vet at 8 the next morning. I didn't sleep very good that night, afraid that she would die and my girl would find her in the morning. Every time I checked on her, she was always in the same spot and still breathing, but it was very obvious that she wasn't doing well. When it was time to leave for the vet, we took her out of her cage and she just laid down in the box. My girl asked me if she was dying and I told her that I thought so. She asked if we could still try to take her and I told her of course. As long as she was alive, it was worth trying. We drove as fast as we could, both of us crying the whole way there. They took her back as soon as we walked in and within 10 minutes we got a room and the vet was giving us his assessment. She was still alive, but her body temperature was very low and she was dehydrated. They needed to put her in an incubator to warm her up and would give her fluids. If she responded to that, they could examine her. But as for right then, she was too unstable even for that. He would call in a few hours and let us know how she was doing and then we could decide what to do from there. We left knowing that she was being taken care of, but were scared. We knew it didn't look good, but felt she was in good hands. I took my girl home by her request and I headed to work. I figured I could work until the vet called at least. Less than an hour after leaving Noel, she passed away. Shell called me right after she got the news from the vet. I could hear my girl crying, wailing was more like it. It ripped my heart out. She got on the phone and through her sobs asked if we could go back and see her. And if we could bring her home and bury her in the backyard. I left work and headed home. We took a plastic box with us that she put a pillowcase in and brought Noel back home. She carried the box with her baby in it around for a few hours and so many tears were shed. I dug a hole in a nice spot and she wrote a letter to put in the box as well. Between bouts of crying, we talked about memories of Noel and there were many. I think it helped her to focus on the good and not only the bad. After my boy got home and was able to say goodbye himself, we sealed up the box and my girl placed it in the ground. My boy filled in the hole part way, as did I. My girl wanted to finish and through her tears, she did. We spent a lot of time that night and in the days since talking about what happened and the what-ifs. We both feel guilt and regret, but we're working through it. She is very glad that Noel is at home, so she knows where she is and can visit her. She sits in the backyard every day and talks to her and has started to read to her. She goes out every night before going to bed to say good night.
It's been less than a week, but while my baby is still very much grieving for her baby, I see little bits of healing happening as well. She is smiling more and crying less. This life lesson is such a hard one to learn, and while I wish she never had to learn it I am proud of how she is coping. Shell, hoping to ease her pain, asked if she wanted to get another chinchilla. My girl said that it's too soon. She's not ready. But maybe after the first of the year she'd be ready to think about it some more. She wasn't ready last weekend, but I think that this weekend we'll take the cage out and clean it up. My girl asked if she could keep it in her room for a while, so once it's clean and dried out, it'll go back there. A couple of days ago, she took what was left of Noel's food to my mom (she has 2 chinchillas) and threw out the remaining hay. She's making baby steps, at her own pace. It breaks my heart and fills it at the same time. She is a loving, sensitive, caring, empathetic and compassionate person who usually wears her heart on her sleeve. This has been a devastating blow to her, and I am so proud of her grace and strength. She is an amazing person and I am lucky to get to witness it every day. And Noel was lucky to have her as a mom, even if it was for too short a time.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The 22nd of September? Already???

Ugh. I woke up with a headache this morning. Then, in an attempt to eat a good breakfast of oatmeal instead of the breakfast burritos I've been consuming, I started warming up milk on the stove. Went downstairs to get the clothes out of the dryer and heard my boy yelling at me. "Mommy! The stove! I don't know what to do!!" Of course, I knew exactly what happened. The milk boiled over and burned instantly to the cook top. The bottom of the pot had scalded milk stuck to it. And a lovely smell now filled my house. Wonderful... After cleaning up the cook top as best I could and scraping out the burned milk from the pot, there was no time for starting over. So I finished getting ready, grabbed two donuts and we were out the door. So much for that good-for-me breakfast. Maybe tomorrow...
~I have to call tonight to see if my juror number is called to report tomorrow. It won't break my heart if I have to sit in the jury room and read all day instead of being at work. But if I'm chosen, I'd like for it to be a VERY short trial. I've got too much that needs to be done every day at work to miss too much.
~My kids brought home their 1st quarter report cards last week and apparently middle school agrees with them so far. Both had all A's. I'm so incredibly proud of them. Now if they could just clean their rooms, they'd be perfect...
~The new season of TV shows are mostly starting back this week and while Shell is over the moon excited about this, I'm feeling pretty blah about them. I think I might be content to stick with my Monday shows (How I Met Your Mother & Big Bang Theory), Thursday show (Bones) and Friday shows (Ghost Whisperer & Medium). Since she starts out watching many of the new ones, I'm sure I'll get a taste as well and maybe pick up others. But, probably not.
~I am not thrilled that my office will probably be moving. Our lease is up in this building at the end of October and the owner is wanting to find a smaller space with considerably less rent. While I understand the necessity, I'm really happy with where we are. It is less than 20 minutes from my house and 5 minutes from my kids school. Just 6 short months ago I finally got a new desk, one that was custom built to fit the space that I got to move to in my office. It's not right in front of the door anymore and not in the middle of the room. I love it. And I don't want to move into a new building where I might not be able to have my own space again. Or one that may be much farther from my house and the school. I know that I've been lucky, and complaining about these things is petty and whiny. But it's how I feel. One of the buildings they are looking at is actually closer to my house and one is much farther. I know which one I'm hoping for, but my opinion is not a deciding factor. It all comes down to money. And really, what doesn't these days?
~We are driving to California for Thanksgiving. We've been talking about it for a month now, but it is finally decided. We will leave here Monday night, arriving there sometime before noon on Tuesday. We will have Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday with Shell's family and then on Saturday we will have Thanksgiving dinner with my family. Then we'll drive home Sunday night. We will be sharing a hotel room with Shell's mom, and renting a car to drive there in. We want to take the kids to Disneyland either Wednesday or Friday and fill in the rest of the time by visiting family. It's going to be a vacation with no rest, but one that is badly needed. Other than Shell's parents, our kids haven't seen her family since they were just turning 5. They don't remember them and every year on their birthday they have to ask who is the person sending them a card and money. So, we will go and make a memory for them. I'm very excited to be spending a holiday with my extended family. Haven't done that since we moved here 14 years ago. Plus, I'll get to see Eric and finally meet his boyfriend. Being with her family will be good for Shell and I'm happy that we are all going out there together. My mom agreed to keep our dogs at her house, otherwise we couldn't do it. I'm a little nervous about how we're going to split our time on the 2 days we'll have left, so neither of us (or our families) feel left out or neglected. More to come on that, I'm sure.
~I'm still planning to go back out in December for my sister's graduation from nursing school. And I still have NO idea how we're going to be able to afford it. But it is a priority and since I will be the only one going, that helps a lot. I'm so proud of her and I'm really looking forward to seeing my little sister become a nurse.
~Lastly, how the hell is it the end of September already??!! Yesterday, the temps dropped into the 50's and we got rain. More of the same for today and tomorrow. It snowed in the higher elevations. I think Fall is really here. Halloween is next month and the kids have been asked to choose inexpensive costumes this year. They are being very understanding and have almost made their choices. Christmas will be very light this year. Maybe everyone who we see at Thanksgiving will consider our visit as their gift? They may have no choice...

Happy Autumn Everyone!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Snake Eyes

**I thought that I had already posted this, then found it in my list. So it's late, but here you go anyway.**

My babies are 11. Their birthday was the 30th and as they refer to it, they're "snake eyes"(11). Last year they were "double-digits"(10) and apparently next year they'll be "numerical"(12). After that they'll be teenagers, and that name alone is enough.
We had a party for them at the rec center so they could invite friends and go swimming. It was fun and they swam FOREVER!

My wife & kids LOVE the water. I do not. Thus, they swim and I take pictures. It's a good trade. Happy Birthday my babies.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Bear Country USA

Go to Bear Country USA. Trust me, just do. Wait, you won't have to just trust me because I'm going to SHOW you why you must go.
You drive through the first part. As we entered the gate, this is what greeted us.
It was so gorgeous. We were blown away. Here is more of what we saw as we drove through. Keep in mind that very few of these pictures were taken using the zoom.

So that was all very exciting and the animals were so beautiful and so close, right on the side of the road sometimes. And then this bear walked up to our car. We saw a grasshopper jump onto the hood and the bear caught sight of it. We all held our breathe as he sat up and then the grasshopper jumped off the car and the bear relaxed. But then he stood right in that spot for several minutes. It was very cool.

After the bears, we also saw:The donkeys were the conclusion of the drive through part. Then we parked and walked through the area where the smaller animals are and visited the gift shop.In this same area is where they keep the bears under a year old. They were freaking adorable!Then, this happened....That, my friends is my sister and I walking INTO the cub enclosure. We entered a drawing to feed the bear cubs and I was chosen. You had to be over 18 to go inside, so the kids were out of luck. To be honest, I'm glad because I don't know how I could have chosen between them!

Here they come!

The kids were able to be in a gated area just outside of the enclosure. Here is from their view.Not bad. So, this is us feeding and playing with the babies. It was so awesome and unexpected. We will definitely go back, even if I don't get to feed baby bears next time.

That concludes the vacation wrap-up. Wow, I might actually get to the rest of August yet. Thanks for being patient!