Monday, May 26, 2008


We made it through our initiation into the ward. One word - Gualala. Camping. Dirt. NOT MY THING. We conveniently missed it last year because my grandparents returned from their mission so we went to Vegas to see them. And boy, we didn't hear the end of that from our friends. It doesn't help that some of our closest friends have been going on this Memorial Day excusion since they were in utero. No excuses this year. It was our time.

The last time we went camping was when we were dating. I hate to be dirty, to smell, and to have brown feet (or nasty shoes). I don't like walking far to bathrooms that are being shared with hundreds of other people. But most of all, I don't like sleeping in a tent in a "bed" that is not my own soft king-size monstrosity. Let me just tell you, everyone kept telling us that "Gualala is NOT camping." And they were (sorta) right.

The Highlights:
*Giant redwood trees everywhere. And even better, the electrical boxes attached to the trees. Oh yeah baby, we had electricity!
*Real bathrooms with flushing toilets! And showers!
*Our friends' site. They brought an entire kitchen (no joke). And we got to eat with them. Folks, we didn't eat boring old camp food. We had Cafe Rio burritos, homemade egg mcmuffins, ribs, and fresh abalone gathered by the brave souls who were willing to sacrifice their body temperatures in that frigid water so we could have a taste.
*Sitting in church among the redwoods. Yes, unconventional. But 2 hour church with no primary for me=happiness.
*It was cold...but we are resourceful people and brought our portable heater. We set it to 70 degrees and it ran almost constantly. We were warm and I never once entered my sleeping bag. Lovely.
*Our blow-up beds. We all had one, and slept (relatively) like kings and queens.
*National Treasure 2. I bought it last week and we watched it in Gualala next to the campfire. Great flick, especially when sitting outside.

I can't say we'll make this a definite tradition like so many others in our ward have. One of my friends is 8 3/4 months pregnant and went this year! And get this - they brought their infant seat "just in case!" Insane! My only real complaint was driving on Hwy 1 up the coast for 22 miles of switchbacks, with sheer cliffs on our side leading down to the ocean. Can you say carsick+terrified? However, there are few things more enjoyable than watching your kids experience something new, i.e. camping. And can I just say how WONDERFUL it was to 1) stop on our way home at In 'n Out for my favorite chocolate shake, and 2)be home last night in my own bed?? Heaven! We had a great weekend!

Here is a layout I made today of our first year at Gualala. See, I'm already talking like we're converted to going every year! The picture of all of us is at Point Arena, up north. There was a totally lame lighthouse there (especially when compared to the beauties on the East Coast) and it was nothing exciting. But, I can honestly say I was colder than I've ever been in my life. That wind chilled my bones. And I've lived in some COLD places. The poor kids almost blew away.And just for kicks, here are a few other pictures.

Check out those feet! She showed me in the car and I gagged. Exactly why I don't like camping! I handed her the baby wipes and she spent a half hour cleaning off her feet. Ahh, the signs of fun...

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

My Fluffy Hands

I found this little card Emma made in joy school for Mother's Day - I had stuck it on my dresser two weeks ago and it just resurfaced. It makes me smile each time I read it; Emma's answers are so random.

A Mother Like No Other
Happy is what I feel when my beautiful in her dress.
Her hands...are soft and fluffy. (What? Fluffy?)
She's funny when she...laughs and tickles us and smiles.
I love her because I like the temple.

This one goes right into her file of stuff to save.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Doctors, doctors everywhere

Do you ever feel like your family is single-handedly supporting all the doctors/pharmacies in the area? Here's this week in a nutshell:

*Tyler complained of ear pain all Monday morning. My kids don't get ear infections - ever - so I was skeptical. Finally took him in. Sure enough...he's on amoxicillin and is doing much better.
*Spencer got a HUGE cavity filled. Rare for him to even get a cavity. And guess what? It was in his wisdom tooth. Yup, he still has all 4. Hmm...maybe I should go to dental school.
*I bruised my ribs (entire right side, front and back) last weekend from the intense coughing I've been doing for two weeks. Ouch.
*I finally went to Urgent Care for the rib pain and found out I have bronchitis (with a slight chance of pneumonia). Lovely. More amoxicillin prescriptions were filled around here.
*After two days of antibiotics and still lots of coughing, I heard/felt a "pop" in my back and had extreme pain. Certain I fractured a rib, back I go to Urgent Care - after Spencer had come home from work to take me. Xrays and hours later, we find that I've either torn a muscle or connective tissue. Basically, I get to endure the pain for about a week or more. Joyful, when I have two little kids to care for and it happens to be 100 degrees this week (p.s. I love hot weather, but not without AC!)

My thoughts:
*Thank goodness for Spencer's great job and his wonderful health insurance. 5 co-pay's in one week stink, but that's better than paying $1000 for an xray or $15 for a dumb prescription (instead of $2).
*Good friends continue to be my life-savers.
*I'm so glad I have a great husband who is so conscious of how I'm feeling. Now if he could just go to medical school...
*Next weekend is our ward's massive camping trip up the coast. I really want to go, so please cross your fingers with me that I heal fast!

Sunday, May 11, 2008


Pride is...

Watching your 4-year old Sunbeam sing for the first time in church on Mother's Day. It is watching her BEAM and sing her heart out, so proud of herself being up in front of everyone, with no shame or embarrassment to be singing directly to one person out of hundreds. It is fighting back the tears because crying would be silly, wouldn't it.
Pride is listening to your kids BEG their dad to take them shopping for a present for Mother's Day, then hearing their squeals as they get home, calling you out to see your new beautiful flower pot for the front porch...and listening to them ask again and again if they can water it so the flowers will get bigger and bigger. Pride is hearing "Happy Mother's Day" and "I love you" more times than I can count, and realizing that they are what it's all about.

Have you seen a cuter delivery boy?

On this Mother's Day I am doing a lot of reflecting and hopefully improving. A few weeks ago, Emma came to me and asked: "Mom, do you like kids?" I was a little surprised but of course I said yes. Then she said, "A few days ago when you were on the phone, I heard you tell someone you don't like kids." I could tell she was concerned, and felt this pang of guilt. I knew she had heard often do we express to one of our friends, half joking, that we like our own kids, but not others? OK, probably not as often as I do (guilty!). I want Emma to one day desire to be a mother; I know she desires it a great deal right now, but I really want her to experience the joy that I have and do experience with them as my children. So, I am watching my words very carefully from now on.

Lastly, I got to attend RS today. Gosh I sure appreciate the two times a year I get to go there. Our wonderful teacher read us HER favorite quote from Sister Hinckley and it struck me, probably because of the exact point I am in my life:

“I don’t want to drive up to the pearly gates in a shiny sports car, wearing beautifully tailored clothes, my hair expertly coiffed, and with long, perfectly manicured fingernails. I want to drive up in a station wagon that has mud on the wheels from taking kids to scout camp. I want to be there with grass stains on my shoes from mowing Sister Schenk’s lawn. I want to be there with a smudge of peanut butter on my shirt from making sandwiches for a sick neighbor’s children. I want to be there with a little dirt under my fingernails from helping to weed someone’s garden. I want to be there with children’s sticky kisses on my cheeks and the tears of a friend on my shoulder. I want the Lord to know I was really here and that I really lived.”

And to me, this includes Emma (and Tyler) knowing that I love children and am here for the whole ride. And I love what I do because of two special little stinkers. Happy Mother's Day!

P.S. I got my laminating machine! I guess Spencer can take a not-so-subtle hint! Now my job charts can look super spiffy.

Thursday, May 8, 2008


It's almost comical (more like ironic) to me that every single time Spencer goes out of town, someone gets sick. Yesterday, after cleaning a large amount of vomit out of MY BED (which came from an otherwise cute 2-year old), I decided he can't go out of town anymore. He's been gone all week but gets home tonight, thankfully. In his absense I have tried to be somewhat productive. I decied to make job charts for the kids, from a template I got online several months ago. I think they turned out cute and they're at Costco printing right now. Emma's actually really excited about having a job chart. When I showed it to her (on the computer) she said "Woo hoo, jobs!" Clearly she doesn't know what she's saying. I told her if she does everything for two weeks straight, we can pay a visit to the now infamous ice cream truck, that seems to be perusing our neighborhood more and more often. After I put her to bed last night, she called me in and told me she wanted to do a "job" right then. I asked which one and she told me she wanted to read. :) So we turned on the lights, read a book, and she went back to sleep.

The great thing about this format is that I can so easily change the jobs based on their ages and what they're involved in at the time. Hopefully they'll be a little more motivated to help me pick up their crap; it only gets harder and harder to clean up after growing kids! Oh, and it's only like $1.49 to print (each) at Costco! Pretty good!

Template by Brooke Kemp.