Friday, July 27, 2007

We are here!

After what seemed like the longest day of my life, we have finally arrived in France. I was actually pleased at how well the kids did on our flight. I think it helped that part of our flying was done when they are usually in bed. We have checked into our hotel, and need to go explore for a bit. Hopefully it won't take to long to adjust to the time change. I really just want to crawl into bed right now, but I know that won't do me any good.

Anyhow...I don't know how much I will be able to post, but thought I would check in!

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Monday, July 23, 2007

Parlez-vous le français?

The craziest thing has happened! Shawn called me last Monday from work, and asked if we would like to go to France!!! His company needs to send him to France to get trained on a product that they have. His company was actually originally based in Europe, and over the past few years have come to the states. Nobody here knows this product so Shawn is going out there to learn it.

Now here is the shocker! We are leaving on Thursday!!! I don't think I even believe it yet. I am excited. We will be there for a little over two weeks. We are going to be in a little town called Annecy. It is in the bottom of the French Alps. It is actually about a 5 hour car drive or 3 hour train ride to Paris. I am trying to convince Shawn that we will have to visit Paris, but we will see. The pictures of the area are absolutley stunning.

The only thing I am dreading is the plane ride. If we can survive that...we will be fine. Luckily my kids are seasoned travelers, but going across the ocean is going to take FOREVER! If you have any ideas...let me know!
*I also have gone post crazy today...trying to catch up on the past scroll down I have a few new posts!*

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Yes, this past weekend I went on my first 'real' overnight since I gave birth to Caden almost 4 years ago. I say first 'real' one because I was forced on a overnight when Caden was about 9 months old...I had traded my trip down to a turn (a trip that goes out and back within the same day), but they overflew me. Anyway, I wasn't able to get rid of this I secretly wanted to keep I had to work it. I know Shawn would have liked to have me home for the weekend, but it was a great little break. Besides the break, I also got to meet Cricket of Fantastic Five and her family!

Shawn joked that that was the only reason that I wanted to work the trip...just so I could meet one of my bloggin buddies in person. That was something I was looking forward to, but I just thought it would be nice to 'get away' for a night. I also thought it would be fun for Shawn to be able to spend some time alone with the kids.

The trip wasn't the easiest one in the world, but I worked with a great crew. In my industry, there is rarely a time that you work with someone you know. There are over 1500 flight attendants based in PHX, and I could probably count on my hands the number of flight attendants that I have flown with more than once. With that in never know if you are going to get along with your crew. I have to say that even though it was only a 2 day trip...I loved my crew. Lena was absolutely so fun to talk with, and Tonya kept us laughing with her giddyness from her new relationship. I would have loved to have dinner with them that night, but I was lucky enough to have Cricket come and pick me up to have dinner with her family.

Shawn finds it kinda strange that I read complete strangers blogs. I guess it can seem strange, and sometimes I find myself wondering why I am so interested in a strangers life...but I am. I actually have quite a few 'blogging buddies'. I have no idea how I found their blogs, but I have, and am drawn in by stories about their families. It makes me feel like I really know them, and would love to meet them all in person someday. So I was so excited when I was going to have an overnight in Cricket's town. I left a comment on her blog asking if she would like to meet...I felt like a kid again....hoping she would say yes. When she responded that she would love to...I was so excited.

Our plane was running late so we got in later than we had planned, but we were still able to meet up. We decided that we would eat at the Golden Corral. With her 3 kiddos it is easier to go to a place where they can choose what they want to eat. The food was actually really good, and I had a fabulous time.

I have to say that I was a little nervous at first. You never know if the person will be the same in real life as you picture them...but I was soon put at ease before we even left the hotel parking lot. Our conversation just seemed to flow. I felt like I was meeting up with an old friend. Emma, Brigham & Reed were as cute as can be. It didn't take long for them to try to get me to do things for would have never known that they had just met me. In fact, when it was time to leave Brigham asked his mom if I could come spend the night.
The Doc had drove the kids in a separate car so Cricket was able to bring me back to my hotel. We ended up sitting in the lobby and chatting until a little after 10:30 pm. She is such a doll, and I am so thankful that I was able to spend some time with her. Hopefully, someday we can meet up with the whole family. Her Brigham and Reed are about the same age as Caden and Sydney. I think they would have a blast together.
It was a really nice refresher to work a full trip. I actually think that I may want to do it more often...not too much, but maybe once per quarter. I think it is a great break for me and the kids get to have some great 'Daddy' time. Shawn was a trooper, and did lots of fun stuff with them. He even helped pick up the house, and arranged a sitter for us so we could go on a date when I got home. I really do love my honey. He is fantastic!

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Live on Stage!

This past week Shawn and I had the opportunity to go to the Snow Patrol concert. I had bought Shawn tickets to the concert for his birthday in June. We were first introduced to Snow Patrol through Smallville. We are big Smallville fans and they have had a few of their songs played on the show. When I saw they were coming to Phoenix, I thought it would be fun to see them LIVE.

The evening started with dinner at our local Hard Rock Cafe. Our family makes it a tradition to go to the Hard Rock wherever we are on vacation. It isn't that we love the food or anything, but it is fun to see how unique each one is. We also buy their Guitar magnet/bottle opener as a souvenir. Each magnet is especially made for that location...there is no two alike. Since we were going to be downtown we thought we would eat there, and pick up our magnet.

The restaurant was pretty cool, but Shawn ended up leaving upset. When we ordered our meal, Shawn got their regular hamburger that was only about $9. Of course the waiter asked Shawn if he wanted grilled onions, mushrooms, and avacados with it. Shawn said...'ok'. When the waiter walked off, I told Shawn that those were probably extra, and tell him that he changed his mind...but he didn't. When we got our bill...we were shocked to find out that he $9 burger was now $14. Shawn just wanted to short the guy his tip, but I didn't feel that was fair to the waiter. He needed to complain or just pay him what he deserved. When Shawn went to see if we could get a magnet -which they were out of :( ...I filled out the receipt. I probably shouldn't have, but I did. Shawn was mad because he thought it was a rip off. I have to agree that I think it each of those additional items were over a dollar, but I also feel like it was our responsibility to know what we are paying. If Shawn would have complained about the charge, and then shorted him...fine...atleast the guy would know. I just didn't think it was fair to only give the guy $2 and walk away hoping he would understand that we stiffed him because we felt we were overcharged. I don't is over now, but Shawn wasn't too happy about it! What would you do in that situation?

After we stuffed ourselves we headed over to the Dodge Theatre for the concert. On our way in we filled out one of those things to go to a presentation for a time share. They gave us a free nights stay, $50 Visa card, $25 for dinner and a 5 night stay in Kawauii. We go to the presentation later in August...we figured it was worth sitting through a 90 minute presentation only to say 'no' and then get all that free stuff.

We went inside and found our seats. We were on the main floor about 29 rows back. It really was a great view. From what I hear, there really isn't a bad seat in the house. I just liked the fact that it was air conditioned! We got a security guard to take a picture of us in front of the stage before the show started. The banner in the backround says "Hot Hot Heat". They were the band that opened for Snow Patrol. I hadn't ever heard them before. I thought they were ok, but definately not one of my favorite bands. Shawn said that the lead sounded like Dori from Finding Nemo when she tried to talk to the whales.

Once Hot Hot Heat performed there was a break as they got the stage ready for Snow Patrol. After what seemed like forever...they finally came out on stage. The band is originally from the UK -- I think most of the members are either from Ireland or Scotland. The lead singer has an amazing voice and didn't dissapoint. We thouroghly enjoyed the show. In between cuts, Gary Lightbody (the lead singer), talked to the audience. This is a clip on what he thought about his stay here in Arizona. They had never been here before, and I think that it was a shocker to be exposed to our July heat. It was hilarious!

If you can't get the video to play you can view it HERE... the picture quality is not good, but it is what he says that is funny.

This is actually an excerpt from his blog on what Gary thought about had me laughing.

Leaving the bursting heat of Phoenix, Arizona on the tour bus. Even walking the 100 yards to the bus from the hotel felt like the journey to the centre of the earth. How people not only live here but function too, in the 115-degree heat, is a mystery. It’s eighty degrees at nighttime. Nighttime! That’s when the sun is on the other side of the planet. I’m Irish of course so it’s no surprise I’m not used to the heat but even so this seems ludicrous. The people are lovely though and have a natural serenity that I suppose comes with living their lives at a necessarily slower pace.

Overall, it was just fun to go and hang out with the man that I love. I hadn't been to a concert in quite a while. I had a great time, and I think that Shawn did too.

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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Wordless Wednesday - Clever Disguise

This is Caden when he was only 13 months old! I can't believe how much he has grown!
For more participants visit Wordless Wednesday HQ or 5 Minutes for Mom!

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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Tackle it Tuesday - My Garage 'porch'

Tackle It Tuesday Meme

For my regular readers (all 10 of you :) maybe there are more -don't be afraid to comment!) when I wrote my post about my Unfinished Projects...I wasn't trying to beat myself up. Yes, it was kinda depressing, but I know that sometimes some things are more important than finishing things. It was nice to know that I am not alone in this department! More than anything I wrote it so that it could motivate me to do some of these and it worked!!

I started with my garage 'porch'. I call it that because I don't know what else to call it. It is a 2 or 3 foot slab directly out our garage door. It seemed to grow a life of its own over time. Everything and anything landed there and never moved.

Everytime I left my house I was reminded of this disaster. Everytime I swore to myself that I would clean it....but the mess stayed, and continued to get bigger. So even though it was smoldering outside - over 100 degrees, I tackled it!

The kids and I faced the heat and cleaned this space up in no time. I find it funny that I will put things off because I think it will take forever to do...only to find out that it really didn't take much at all.

Now it is so nice to walk out to my garage, and see how clean it is. The real question is...will it stay that way! Now I am off to work on more of my Unfinished Projects! Wish me luck! If you would like to see some other "Tackles" head over to 5 Minutes For Mom.

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Monday, July 16, 2007

The Chronicles of Narnia

After the funeral was over I headed home to pick up Shawn and the kids to head to The Broadway Palm for their childrens lunch theatre. This time the play was based on The Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe. We had a blast as usual. Even though Sydney is not even 2 yet, she will sit still the whole time! They are always captivated. This has been such a fun tradition to go to these as a family. I feel like we will have many memories of the great times that we have had here. Again…if you live in the area, and are interested in going, let me know! My sister reserves the whole front section. She has even reserved seats for next season -- so let me know if you would liek to go to any of those shows! The shows are wonderful, and the food is okay. Because it is a large group you only have to pay $15 and that includes lunch, soft drinks, the show and tip! It is really worth the money!

After the show the actors always come out to sign autographs and take pictures. Caden decided that he didn’t want to have anything to do with that, and refused to get in the pictures with me and Syd. Oh, well…maybe next time!

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Before Her Time

I often wonder why some people have to die so young. This past weekend I went to a funeral for a sister of an old high school friend. Julie had told me on the 4th of July that Rebekah and some friends had been in a car accident. I didn’t really hear her right, and asked her if Bekah was going to be okay. That is when she said that she had died instantly. She had been thrown from the car, and then it rolled over her. My heart sank.

Rebekah is the youngest of 9 children. She is the same age of my youngest brother Michael – she would have turned 18 this August. Her sisters, Brooke & Jenna, were my good friends when I was in high school. I can still recall going over to their house numerous times, and being greeted by the ever so boisterous Bekah. She was a sweet girl. It had been years since I had seen her, but the news hit a chord.

Even though I didn’t know the “grown up” Bekah my heart ached for her family. I really felt the need to go to the funeral, and I am so glad that I did. They had a “wake” for a few hours before the actual funeral so I arrived early so I could pay my respects to the family.

I wasn’t ready for the emotions that filled my heart when I saw my old friends. Tears streamed down my face as I embraced them and their family members. There is so much I wished that I could say, but I knew there really was nothing that I could do that would make it better. I was amazed at how strong their family is. I then found myself a seat, and waited for the funeral to begin.

The Turley’s are a very musical family so the program was filled with many wonderful musical numbers. Bekah’s high school choir even performed a number. I was amazed at the attendance for this young girl. We laughed and cried as Brooke, Jenna, and Jessica (another sister) relayed little things about Bekah. She truly was a special girl with a zest for life. She was obviously loved by so many.

It always seems that those who are the most valiant. Those who have so much to offer…are the ones who are taken from us. I often wonder why that has to happen. I know they are in a better place, but it is so hard to see those they left behind. The pain that they have to suffer is great. I am thankful to have the gospel in my life because I feel that it at least helps to lessen the pain a little. The understanding that there is a greater purpose in this life is wonderful. To know that one day they will see their sweet Bekah once more is such a comforting knowledge.

If you can, please say a prayer for this family. They need all the strength they can get. You can also read more about Bekah at this website.

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Friday, July 13, 2007


With swim lessons and other summer activities the kid swapping hasn’t been as regular as usual. This Friday I had the Olson clan for about 3 hours. We had a lot of fun today. When they first got here we just played a bit. Then we decided to watch the movie “Everyone’s Hero” (Which is a really cute movie). We pretended to be at a movie theatre, and had popcorn.

Later the kids got hungry. They sat at the table and drew pictures while I cooked some Dino chicken nuggets (thanks Costco!) & apples. While they were eating I thought that it would be a fun treat to make cookies together. So afterwards, the kids helped me put in the ingredients for Peanut Butter cookies.

It was one of the funnest things ever. I gave them each their own fork, and they all took turns criss-crossing the cookies. It was something simple, but the kids loved it. The best thing was eating our masterpieces!

Now I have to think up some more fun activities for us to do in the future! Any ideas?

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More Swim Lessons

Karma called me up a bit ago and told me that there was an opening in Madison’s class for a semi-private swim lessons. I know that I had already spent $40 for two sessions at the public pool, but I felt this would be more beneficial. Besides Caden will get to do it with Madison, and they absolutely adore each other.

I have to say that I have seen immediate improvement. Caden is doing an awesome job. He is getting braver each day, and I am very pleased. This only solidifies my thoughts to never sign him up for public lessons again. Semi-private is slightly more cost, but they learn sooo much more.

This has been fun because Caden gets to spend some time with Madison. One day after class this week we went and spent some time at Karma’s house. Karma made them some PB & J’s and the kids climbed under the table to eat them. They are just too cute together!

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Thursday, July 12, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #3 - Unfinished Projects

I have a confession. I am a procrastinator. I don’t know why, but I am. I always seem to leave projects for the last second. I do my best work under pressure. Because of this lovely quality, I have started many projects, and they have been left in the dust. I mean, why finish something if no one is pushing you to, right!? This actually is something I hate, and would like to change it. Therefore, for my Thursday Thirteen, I will list 13 projects that I have started or want to accomplish by the end of the year.

1. Sydney’s quilt: I found the root of the design from a quilt book, and then modified it to my liking. I was so excited. I bought all the material, cut it out, and was ready to pounce! I was also pregnant with her. Now it has been almost 2 years and it sits in a box unfinished.

2. Room decorations: Years ago I bought some letters for Caden and Sydney. You know the ones that you can paint, and then hang in the room. They are supposed to make it look real cute or something. They sit in closet, and I think about them time to time. I also had a Robbie make a shelf that looks like a ladder and frame some pictures for Caden’s Fireman room that I have yet to hang! What is wrong with me!

3. Storage Room: I even had a “deadline” with this one. I did pretty good working on it for a while, but then life caught up with me and it still needs work. I really wish that I would have accomplished Laura’s 30 day Organizational Challenge. I think I am on the 365 day Challenge.

4. Kitchen Cabinets: Now this is a project that I haven’t started yet. Every time I am in the kitchen my mind starts imagining how I want to rearrange things. I would like to change where I store some of my dishes, and dejunk the ones that I don’t really use.

5. File Boxes: A few years ago we bought a pack of those cardboard file boxes. I thought that if I were able to “organize” our keepsakes, it would help motivate me to do some scrapbooking. Nope…instead they sit “organized” in our closet. Now I want to get a flatbed scanner. Atleast then I could scan all our crap in and it can sit on our computer, and not take up space in our office. Besides, I am really into the digital scrapbooking now.

6. Sorting Clothes: If you have kids, you know how fast they grow out of their clothes. I try to sort through, and store the ones that they have grown out of. I haven’t done it in months. Instead I stare at them every time I put away their clean laundry. I am reminded that this needs to be done when we come home after the kids have been babysat and find my kids in clothes that are 3 times too small.

7. Garage: Now this one isn’t too bad, but it bugs me every day when I leave the house. The garage itself doesn’t have too much junk. We are able to park both cars in it. The part that bothers me is the immediate ledge…maybe I should call it the porch of the garage. The part that greets you when you walk out the door. We have two trash bins. One for recycle, and the other for trash that we don’t want to smell all day (dirty diapers). It is also the landing spot for our shoes, and a lot of other things that don’t quite make it to their destination. I want to clean it, but haven’t.

8. 100 Things I Love About Shawn: He will probably laugh when he reads this. I can’t even remember how long ago I did it. It was for some special occasion…birthday, Father’s Day, anniversary….I can’t even remember. I typed out 100 things that I loved about Shawn. My plan was to make a little collage and put it in a frame. I had seen it done before, and it was soo cute. I got as far as printing my loves, and told him that I was going to finish it for him soon. Sorry, hun…still not done. I hope you still love me.

9. Painting: This is something that I haven’t started, but want done. We have lived in our house for 4 years, and our walls are still white as the clouds in the sky. We have painted Caden, Sydney, and the office rooms…but that is it. I dream about having beautiful walls that make my house look great. In my mind I am a fabulous decorator, yet my walls are still a blank canvas.

10. My closet: Even I need to go through my clothes. I have so many that I don’t wear anymore either because they don’t fit, have stains, or are out of style. I think I have been afraid to do it for fear that I will be left with one shirt to wear daily. Now that Shawn has given me $200 to spend on clothes, I should be able to get rid of the ones that I don’t really wear anyway.

11. The cradle: When I was pregnant with Sydney, Shawn’s mom found a cradle at the local thrift store. It is really cute, but needs some work done to it for it to be in working condition. I fully intended doing the work before Sydney was born. Instead, we ended up just having the cradle on the floor instead in its base (the part that needed fixing). Now that I am pregnant again…I would like to repair it before the next one comes.

12. Curtain’s for Caden: Before Sydney was born we moved Caden out of the nursery and into his own room. I hadn’t made curtains for his room yet so I took the ones from the nursery and hung them in his room. I have been meaning to go down to the fabric store to get some fabric to make his curtains, but haven’t. Sydney has been waking up really early, and it would be nice to get her curtains back to darken her room a bit.

13. A New Blog: I am in charge of running a playgroup at my church. I have been trying to set up a blog so that we all have a central place to go for information. I want to be able to post our current activities as well as things that they can do with their children. I reserved the blog a while ago, and fiddled with it for a bit, but it still sits unfinished.

Okay, thinking & writing these things down has made me somewhat depressed! Man, I am such a flake! It really made me realize that I haven’t got a whole lot done since Sydney was born. I am sure it isn’t totally true, but it sure seems like it. Now that I have it in writing…I am that more motivated to work on them. If I have a hard time accomplishing these things with two kiddo’s, what am I going to do with three!? I don’t know how long it will take me but hopefully I will be able to cross them all of by the end of the year! I am off to start!

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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Wordless Wednesday - WooHoo!!

For more participants visit Wordless Wednesday HQ or 5 Minutes For Mom!

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Saturday, July 7, 2007

Busy, Busy, Busy!

I think that this Saturday was one of the most productive ones that we have had in a long time. Well, my house is still a mess – so it wasn’t that type of productive, but we did a lot of things together today. It was so much fun to do so many things as a family. It really is something that we need to do more often.

It started off early as usual. My boys needed haircuts so we did that right away. I caught a quick shower, and headed over to a neighbors house for a song practice. There is about 5 of us girls who are going to be singing on Sunday. We went over the song a few times, and then I raced back home.

The night before we had tried to get our oil changed at Walmart, but they were closed before we got there. So we decided that we would go first thing in the morning. We would drop off the cars and walk down to the theatres. We figured once the movie was over the cars would be done. So we dropped off the cars by 9 am, and headed on over to watch Ratatouille.

The movie was actually quite entertaining. Caden really loved it. Sydney still needs some time before she will actually sit still for the whole thing. Shawn got a little frustrated because she wasn’t as cooperative, but we were able to stay for the whole thing.

Afterwards the kids were hungry so we stopped at Souper Salad for lunch. It is relatively inexpensive, and the kids are free! You really can’t beat that! Then we walked back to Walmart, did a little shopping, and picked up our cars. Sydney fell asleep while we were shopping. I never get over how beautiful, and peaceful my children look while they are asleep. I think I could stare at them for hours.

When we got back home, Shawn contacted his boss. They had invited us over to go swimming at their house. We hadn’t met them yet so it was a nice opportunity. Shawn really wanted to go so we packed up our things and went over there for a few hours.

It was nice to be able to meet their family. I am thankful that Shawn is finally working with someone that he feels that he can really connect with. Scott is a little bit older, but they really seem to mesh well. His family is nice, and his house is beautiful. We really had a good time.

From there we went over to the Brinton’s for Mason’s 6th Birthday party. I always love going over for Julie and Robbie’s family things. I think that they have one of the coolest families ever. It is fun to catch up on what everyone is up to, and just hang out.

This year Matt, Robbie’s brother (he also shares Mason’s birthday), brought one of those blow up water slides. Caden absolutely loved it. He went on it over and over and over. It makes me want to get something like that, but they are so expensive. At least it was a nice treat for him.

After we ate it was time to open presents and eat cake. Stacie, Julie's sister, made Mason the most awesome cake. Mason loves monster trucks, and so it was made like the arena. She made a treasure chest last year. I need to take some lessons from her because she is fabulous as making them!
Caden was sitting in a chair to watch Mason open his presents. Nanette had asked Caden to sit on the ground so the adults could sit in the chairs. I think that Caden got confused. Instead he followed her, and ended up here. Food really is on this kids brain 24/7!
Sydney found herself a new boyfriend. Usually Sydney can be really clingy and shy when there are lots of people around, but somehow Brian found a way to her heart. Brian is Julie’s younger brother, and he is such a cutie. He really took a liking to Sydney too. They were just chillin while Matt was enjoying one of his new toys – a remote controlled helicopter. I took a few photos of them while they were watching it fly around the room.
Near the end of the evening we were in the kitchen when we heard something hitting up against the window. It turned out to be a huge dragonfly. Mason loves bugs, and actually has a bug board, so Robbie went out to catch it. It did end up getting it, and even put it in a jar, but in the end they decided to let it go. I did manage to get a few pictures of it beforehand. I still can’t believe how big it was.
So as you can see. We had a really long day, but it was full of a lot of fun. I had such a good time doing things with my little family. I hope to have more fun filled days like this. It was so enjoyable. As if I didn't have enough pictures in this post...I thought I would add this last one. We went looking for Caden throughout the night, and at one point I caught him with these! He had taken them into another room so that he could have them all to himself! He is so sneaky sometimes.

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Thursday, July 5, 2007

Last day of Swimming Lesson’s

Today was Caden’s last day of swim lessons at the public swimming pool. By the end of this 2 week session he has shown some improvement. I do have to say that I think that he would do much better in a semi-private environment. Next year when I get my mailer from Courtney (my neighborhood swim teacher) I will not hesitate to get my kids signed up. She is a little bit more expensive, but I feel that they learn soooo much more.

The last few days of the swim class they took the kids over to the “big” pool to practice floating, and other things that you can’t really do in the other pool. I remembered to bring the camera and took some photos of Caden. I really wish that they were in this pool the whole time because I think it was a lot more effective.

It was also nice because I was able to get a lot closer, and “cheer” Caden on. He seemed to try harder when he saw or heard me. Overall, I think that he had a fun time. It will be nice when he really gets the hang of it.

I do have to say that today was a little crazy. Sydney has been having such a hard time lately. She breaks down crying for no apparent reason. Some of the littlest things set her off. I think part of it is due to the fact that she is getting about 4 different teeth all at the same time. She has had only 6 teet forever. Today she was upset that she couldn't play with the camera. Then when we were ready to leave she had a massive meltdown. I had to carry her out kicking and screaming all the way to the car. Getting her into her carseat was another battle. This is her on her way home. What do you think I did with her when I got home? I think it is written all over her face! She was tired! Don't you think she has the cutest. chubby, little legs!? And no...her shirt isn't that just rode up after all of her fighting!

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July 4th Recap!

We started our day off with a bang by having my family come over and watch our kids so that Shawn and I could go and see Transformers. We went to an early morning show, and it was awesome. I know alot of girls out there that have no desire to watch this film, but I really enjoyed it. I thought it was action packed, and exciting to watch on the big screen. It was nice to get away in the morning for a few hours.

While we were gone, my mother was nice enough to do my dishes and mop the floor. I love it when my house gets cleaned while I am away. We were having our Annual 4th of July BBQ at our house that evening, and my mom thought she would help out so that I would have less to do when I got home. Thanks Mom!

I spent the rest of the day getting ready for company. I cut up fruit for a salad, made homemade salsa, and did some last minute cleaning. I look forward to this Shindig every year. We had no idea when we bought our house 4 years ago that the nearby church held a huge event for the 4th. With us being so close, all we have to do is walk outside plant our camping chairs and enjoy the view. We have made it a tradition. Everyone brings their own meat and a side dish to share. We all get to have fun together, but don't have to be in a huge crowd or deal with the traffic. We absoloutely love it!

We had a great turn out this year with a mixture of friends, and family. We really had a great time. We ate grub, and those anticipating the upcoming premier of Harry Potter watched the last installment of the movie. (I personally can't wait for the last book, but I am just as excited for the movie). Once it was dark enough the fireworks started and we filed out our front door, and sat and watched the fireworks.

Sydney was a little scared at first, but then she relaxed and was able to enjoy some of the fireworks before she fell asleep. Robbie & Julie had brought some glow sticks for the kids to play with, and they had alot of fun shaking them and running around in the dark. Before we knew it the show was over, and everyone headed home. It was a fun filled evening surrounded by people I love!

I am so thankful to be a citizen of the United States. My life would be different if I lived elsewhere. We really are so blessed! I think I often take for granted the freedom that we have. It is nice to have this subtle reminder every year.

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Thursday Thirteen #2 - Birthday Freebies

My birthday turned out wonderfully. I don’t think I could have planned it any better. I took Caden to his swim lessons in the morning, and then headed off for lunch at Joe’s Farm Grill. My Mom, Michael (brother), Cathy (sister) & Baby Dylan, and my Aunt Sheri & Uncle Norm joined us. It was really nice to have them all come out to eat with me.

After we ate, we headed over to Costco to return some items, and then pick up some last minute things for our Annual 4th of July BBQ. My Mom, and Michael were with me so it was nice to have a little bit of help with the kids. Our drive home was pretty long so my kids fell asleep! It was wonderful! They transferred well to their beds, and I was able to relax a bit. That is a rare thing these days because Caden doesn’t really take naps anymore.

I got numerous phone calls & comments on this blog from friends all wishing me ‘Happy Birthday’…it really is great to feel loved! Once Shawn got home we planned on going to Joe’s Real BBQ for dinner, and met up with Julie & Robbie. Robbie had just quit his job where he had worked for the past 7 years in order to start his own business! If you live in AZ and need a good place to go for framing…I know just the place! I am really excited for him and his family. It is such scary yet exciting adventure. Robbie is so good at what he does, and it is awesome to know he gets to be out on his own now.

While we were there Shawn gave me his present! He took my advice from my last “Thursday Thirteen” and wrote me a letter, but also gave me a $200 budget to go out and buy myself some clothes! I am so excited to have a guiltless shopping spree!

Julie also reads my blog, and is going to take me to get a pedicure! It was fun to go by myself, but I can’t wait to go with a friend! Thanks Jules! You really are the BEST!

On our way home we stopped at Hollywood Video, and picked up a DVD. We rented The Fountain, and I wish someone would have told me how terrible it was! I think it is one of the weirdest movies I have ever seen! If you haven’t seen it…don’t waste your time!

So on that note, I wanted to let you know of Thirteen Different Freebies that are available on your birthday…or should I say the month of your birthday because some of these deals last all month long. I love it because I get to ‘party’ throughout the whole month…not just one day! I have to thank my sister, Nancy, for all the info. She sends out a email every year of a list she has compiled…it is fabulous! I have linked up to all the websites so just click over and register for their programs. They are location specific so make sure there is a location near you. If you live here in AZ you are lucky because all of these are available to you!
1. Joe’s Real BBQ: You have to go there on your actual birthday, and show your drivers license. You get your choice of sandwich, one side, a drink, and a piece of lemon or root beer cake for free! The food is fabulous, and the atmosphere is wonderful!
2. Joe’s Farm Grill: This is owned by the same people as Joe’s BBQ, but the setting and food are entirely different. The fun thing about this place is that it used to be an actual family farmhouse. They converted the place into a restaurant! They actually grow most of the stuff that is served in the farm located behind the restaurant. I just love everything about the place…even the bathrooms! You also have to go here ON your birthday, and you are given $10 off your meal!
3. Hollywood Video: They will give you a free movie rental on your birthday. We actually rent from Blockbuster because they are closer, but every year on my birthday we head on over for our free movie…it’s great!
4. The Keg Steakhouse: If you haven’t been to The Keg you are missing out! You have to go to the actual restaurant to sign up for their birthday club, but when you do they will send you a postcard that is good for the month of your birthday. It is good for a “Steak and Lobster Tail Dinner”, but they actually let you choose pretty much anything from the menu it is a $30 value!
5. Red Robin: Get a coupon for a free burger on your birthday. The great thing is you can use it for anything on the menu if you are not a burger fan!
6. Daphne’s Greek Café: Get a coupon for a free plate! This is a great little restaurant. The thing I like about this place is it is a quick order restaurant, but you get real silverware, and plates. Their food is really good, and relatively inexpensive.
7. Z’Tejas: Get a coupon for a free meal or $10 off your order!
8. Souper Salad: Get coupon for a free buffet to use within 7 days of your birthday.
9. Cold Stone Creamery: Get a coupon for your own “creation” for FREE.
10. Pasta Pomodoro: Get a coupon for a free entrée.
11. Baskin Robbin’s: Get a free ice cream scoop!
12. The Vine Tavern & Eatery: Will send you a coupon in the mail for $10 off your meal and it is good for the whole month! They have some really good wings that I got last time I was there.
13. Famous Daves: Join their Pig Club, and you will get a coupon for a SURPRISE birthday gift! ( It can be anything from a piece of birthday cake, an appetizer, some ribs or even An All American Feast!) When you bring it in to the restaurant they will tell you what you got! Either way you can’t beat their food! I don’t think I can say enough good things about it!

There is actually a ton more offers, but I thought I would list my favorites. If you would like the complete list just let me know, and I can email it to you. Birthdays are so much fun, and you deserve to celebrate for FREE!

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Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Wordless Wednesday - An Art Masterpiece

For more participants check out Wordless Wednesday HQ or 5 Minutes for Mom!

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Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Happy Birthday to Me!

So the celebration started on Sunday. We had Shawn's family over for our monthly dinner and F.H.E. (Family Home Evening). My sister in law, Tori, had made a cake. Caden was so excited because it was "someones" birthday. It was so cute to see when he realized it was mine. He even took this picture...he really enjoys taking pictures.

This morning turned out pretty nice. Sydney didn't wake up until around 6:30 am (compared to her normal 5 or 5:30), and Caden slept through the night (lately he has been waking up during the night, and wanting to either sleep in our bed or I have to go lay with him until he falls asleep again -- yes a habit that needs to be broken!). Shawn jokingly said that he told them that it was my birthday today, and they needed to sleep in.

I plan on running around and getting my "free stuff." I will tell you about it later! I still can't believe that I am only a few years away from 30!

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