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.