Tuesday, December 11, 2007


Ryan had a Thanksgiving "feast" at his school...dinosaur chicken nuggets, cheetos, carrots and dip, and oreos. Ryan didn't eat anything but the Cheetos, and Kate ate pretty much everything.

Kate's favorite part of any holiday...the food.

I don't know who this kid is, but his hat was cracking me up!! LOL!

Of course we can't leave without a pass at the preschool playground.

I'll race you down!

Come here Kate and smile real big!

Thanksgiving Day at Kevin's brother's house. It was a fun day.

Mom, Dad, Kate & Ryan.

I feel kinda wild and crazy in my leopard skin pants. Come and dance with me!

The tradition at our house is that the day after Thanksgiving, down come all the Autumn decorations, and up goes the tree, outside lights, and all the Christmas decorations. It's a 2 day undertaking.

We're gonna help you, Mom!

Just think of us as your little elves!

You can trust us!

Do you think she was serious about that no-skateboards-in-the-house' thing?

A little cutie in front of the finished tree. (well, minus the tree skirt). She's been pretty good about not pulling the ornaments! Good girl. :)

Saturday, November 24, 2007

The October Fires

It was Sunday, "almost-Halloween" time. We were at a little girl's birthday party down the street (a friend who has adopted 2 little girls from China, and lives a block and a half away!) I had been in the house for a bit and came outside to a "cloudy" sky in the afternoon. It had been a warm day, so the clouds caught me off guard. "The sky looks kind of funny...almost looks like smoke..." The few people standing outside smiled at me as if to say, 'where have you been...haven't you heard the news?' Come to find out there was a fire in Ramona...20-30 minutes away. I hoped that it was no where near my friends' houses up there, and had no idea what was in store for us that week. I looked down and saw ashes on the princess astro-jump.

We were near the Witch Creek Fire, the largest one in California. I wish I had taken a picture of the sun late that afternoon. Colton (almost 9) and I went to the grocery store and were amazed to see the sky when we came out. The sun was red. Not orange, or even a deep orange, but red. Colton said, "I don't think that's the sun." It didn't look real.

The fires still seemed pretty far away, so I went to my sign language class that evening. Our 4 year old, Ryan, opened the door to say good bye and turned his head as if standing near a bonfire. I didn't realize it was that smoky until I got 20 minutes away and closer to the ocean and got a good look at what I had just come from. Half the sky was glowing a smoky orange, and the rest of the sky was a beautiful blue at dusk. As ominous as it looked, it was really quite beautiful!

Usually a Santa Ana means it will be hot, when it shouldn't be hot, and with a bit gusty winds. Well on that night, the winds were just howling. Windy like you would expect with pouring rain and thunder. Except there was no rain and no thunder, and it was warm. My poor windchime on the balcony about blew off the hook, and the trees were bending in the wind. A horrible time for a fire.

Well the Santa Ana winds blew from 50-70mph, and within 8 hours had blown the fire westward from the Witch Creek, (east of Ramona), to Escondido...10-15 minutes away. So 5:am I'm watching the news wondering if I should call my sister about her evacuating, not realizing that we were the ones who were going to have to evacuate. Kevin goes to work (!) with a casual 'Let me know if anyone has to evacuate' comment on the way out the door. The phone starts ringing....Are you guys OK? did you know they're evacuating your area? Need a place to go? I'm really tired and just want to fall back asleep. Getting up, packing up the tribe and all my worldly possessions was not on my list of things I was hoping to do today. (Kevin came home an hour and a half later.)

Well the Lord was watching over us and we went to my brother and sister-in-laws house that morning. They live near the beach, and have 3 kids. Our little ones had cousins and toys to play with, the big kids had a lovely pool to swim in (I know it's almost November, but don't forget it was a Santa Ana, and very warm). Kate had a crib to sleep in, and the rest of us sacked out on the couch or in sleeping bags. I think it was more of a campout for the kids! Murphy and the three cats were welcome, too. (We took Murphy and the kids to 'Dog Beach'...pretty funny. Murphy kept trying to bite the waves. It was his first time in the ocean!) It could not have been better, but was still an exhausting week. I kept wondering what it would have been like if we had had to go to the stadium. (Yikes!!!) I'll always be grateful they let us move in for 3 days. Their neighbors all seemed to have a houseful of people staying too. I guess that's what happens when you evacuate 25% of a city the size of San Diego!

By the time the Witch Creek fire was out, it had burned more than 200,000 acres, and destroyed about 1500 homes. We drove home in a "dusty" car, to what looked like a dusty house, where ash had made it inside. But when you would clean, the dust rag was black, as were the bottoms of your feet. Oddly enough, even near the beach, where the air was relatively clear, everyone's feet were black from the soot in the air/on the ground...even inside the house!

I drove to the mall the other day in Escondido, a 15 minute drive. On the way, you drive past the spot where the fire jumped Hwy. 15, an 8 lane freeway, with a width of 400 feet....greater than the length of a football field! I realize we were very lucky that the fire was stopped by all the firefighters in San Diego, and all the f.f. from different cities and states who came to help. My heartfelt 'thanks'!!!

Even at the beach, the sky was hazy with smoke.

Murphy making friends at the beach! :)

Friday, October 5, 2007

Happy Fall Y'All

Well, our computer has been out of commission for almost a month, so I am now typing the entry for early October!

We went to the somewhat-local pumpkin patch called Bates Nut Farm to pick out a pumpkin...Mommy, Ryan and Kate (while the big kids were at school) and we met my sister and my nephew there.

It quickly became evident that we (and everyone else there) had not dressed warm enough! It was a very chilly day!

Kate and Ryan.

Hold on, wait for me guys!

Oh, good grief, I hate it when they make me do things like this....

Doesn't it look like she's climbing right out of the pumpkin?

Yeah, that sounds fun, let's see the horsies!

Oh my gosh, I change my mind! These things are humongous up close! Get me away, get me away!!!

Okay, I'm getting sort of freaked out by all this, and this hay is scratching my legs!

Ryan is holding his Woody and trying to console, and cousin Theodore is just having a good old time. Kate cries as she signs, 'mommy, mommy'.

This one. Yes, definitely, this one right here.

Ever just want to do the chicken dance in the middle of a pumpkin patch?

Honestly! A woman's work is never done!

Monday, October 1, 2007

Kate and Starbucks

Oh my gosh, have you ever heard of this place called Starbucks? My big sister Amanda came down from Seattle for a visit and took me there and she said,

"Uh, yes, we'll have a Strawberries and Cream Frappaccino...extra whip cream, please."

...and I tasted it...

Hold on, just one more drink....


It's like a strawberry Instant Breakfast, but all slushy and cold with whip cream.

Yeah baby, now that's what I'm talkin' 'bout!

This is just delicious. Why hasn't anyone taken me here before?

This is lovely...sitting in the backyard, enjoying my Starbucks drink, with the kids at school. Aaah...finally a chance to relax for a moment.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Gettin' Down & Dirty At The Park

In early September, Kevin's aunts came for a visit from Boston. They're his dad's sisters, Mary Lou and Nancy. Kevin's sister's family, brother's family, our family and his parents all got together at the park. The weather was perfect (and had cooled down a bit, thank goodness). Lots of food, shady trees, and a stream with polywogs. What's not to love?

Here, let me help you get the foil off those brownies...oooh! They look wonderful!

...Mmmm...and delicious! (That's my Grandpa Dick behind me.)

No one's watching...might as well try one of the cookies.

Just kickin' it near the desert table...

Did you need something?

Family and lots of food. Isn't life great?!

Much of the day was spent following Kate as she would saunter off (or run off) to go explore, or follow her brothers.


Kevin's aunts, Mary Lou and Nancy. (We just love both of them - they're fun company!)

I'm holding Kate, but she threw herself forward to latch onto her brother's necks! :)

Look how sleepy I am Mom...I need a nap! (...and she did fall asleep within 2 minutes of being in the car!)

I love this big guy!