Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The apple doesn't fall too far from the tree. . .

Rebecca's girls seem to enjoy bruising as much as thier mother! When Rebecca was 2 she ran into a card table we had just purchased and set up in the living room to check out. She hit just below her eye and got a huge goose egg that immediately started turning black. This is a few days later! When we'd go out shopping people would see her and gasp and tell us it was the worst balck eye they had ever seen. Then they would look us over carefully to see if we were being truthful about how it happened.

How darling is this little girl? I see a bit of Paige and Claire in this picture. Maybe this is how long Claire's hair would be without her haircut.

We had to take a picture of Ben so he wouldn't feel left out. Notice our cool wall in the background?

Rebecca has always been a busy, athletic girl. I wish I had taken more pictures of her injuries over the years. A year after this, she popped open her eyebrow on a wooden chair at my parents house, and we had to take to the ER for stitches. It took 6 adults to hold her down! Craig and Dana were there as witnesses! When she was in 1st grade she fell out of the tree in the backyard and broke her arm. Then of course there were those glory years of high school/club volleyball when she was constantly spraining her ankles and getting enormous bruises everywhere. Only the threat of casting her ankle got her to be more careful and start taping it and wearing a brace. Then there was the time in college she got such "good ones" that she took pictures of her bruises and sent them to me.

Just think of all the fun she is going to have with 3 little girls hardwired just like her! I love you Rebecca and miss you like crazy.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Easy Chicken Nachos

This was a sample at Costco, and it was so good and so easy, with ingredients that are usually on hand. We made it for dinner and had sour cream and guacamole with it. It would be good in a salad or as a snack, too. The leftovers were really good.

1 can chicken, drained
1 can refried beans
1 cup salsa

Tortilla chips
4 cheese Mexican blend

Preheat skillet to 250 degrees. Pour chicken, beans and salsa into skillet. Mix and stir until warmed through. Serve with tortilla chips and top with shredded cheese.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Memories. . .

I love this quote from my Mary Englebreit desk calendar.

Today Rebecca called and asked me if I remembered when my kids were the ages of hers and did they antagonize each other? I told her that I couldn't remember them really fighting until Ben was 11 or 12 and tortured Melissa with his teasing. Then I told her I should probably look up those years in my journal and see what really happened. I have noticed that as the years have passed the good memories get better and most of the bad memories have faded.

This week I found my journal from 1973, when I was 16! Ahh, those were the days. It has been so sweet to remember friends and good experiences. And so mortifying to see how cheesey and mushy I was --- a hopeless romantic even then, and way too boy crazy for my own good! It's also fun to see how many of those dear friends I am still in contact with.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Happy Birthday, Jamie!

Our darling Jamie does not enjoy her birthday, mainly because she misses her Mom, who passed away in 2001 and also because Ben has been away for so many birthdays due to his Army assignments and training, just like this year. Of course we couldn't have that! The morning started off well with lots of, phone calls, cards in the mail and facebook messages --- including several musical tributes. She even got a card from her dog, Roxy. (good one, Craig)

Since we all have season passes and Disneyland gives you Disney Dollars for your birthday, we thought that would be the perfect way to celebrate Jamie's 30th birthday. We planned to just go for a "few hours" and leave right after preschool, since Kaylee and Luke are both in my class this year. It turned out to be the comedy of errors, with hungry, tired babies, Jamie needing to check in at the ticket booth for her birthday moola and appropriate badge, and 3 kids anxious to get down to business at Disneyland. It wasn't crowded but it was HOT and HUMID!
It seemed like a good idea to leave Melissa with her stroller so she could feed 5 1/2 week old Austin in the car in the parking structure and meet up with us. It also seemed like a good idea for Jamie to get her birthday stuff figured out while Craig took Jamie's stroller with Blake & Kaylee and I walked with Luke and Dylan. Then we hit main street and there was every character imaginable and no lines! What to do with 2 sets of hands with 3 kids plus a stroller and camera. . . . Craig hurried and got Kaylee out of the stroller just in time for our turn to visit Mickey. Dylan and Kaylee were afraid of Pluto, and Luke just humored him.

Dylan could barely contain himself when he saw Donald, and when Craig was in line with Kaylee to see Minnie, I was in line to get the boys their mouse ear hats . . . . . so I missed the photo op. We both thought we were together, and apparently we got separated. Did I say it was hot and humid?

Then we lost our window and Kaylee was done taking pictures. So Craig and I bravely took the 4 "big" kids with us to the Buzz Lightyear ride in Tomorrowland. This is the kids very favorite. Who was the brilliant person who thought of the moving conveyor belts you have to walk on to get on and off rides? Is it really that effective? Did they ever think how tricky that would be carrying a 20 lb baby and a busy 2 year old? I took this cute picture of Luke and Kaylee with Grampa. I had Blake and Dylan and they loved just just looking at everything. And it was air conditioned!
Both Mom's met us when we got off the Buzz ride, and then it was off to Small World and the Carousel. Of course, our favorite place to eat at the Hungry Bear in Critter Country was closed, so we finally settled for the next place we could find that had A/C. Everyone was hot and hungry by this point, and Kaylee did not enjoy dinner. Happy Birthday to Jamie.

It was baby Austin's first trip to Disneyland and he was a trooper. He is still so alert and such a bright eyed baby. He looked so darling at dinner I took this quick picture of him and his adorable Mom. Austin is growing and changing so fast. He has the cutest little round face and he has his own look now. Such a sweet boy!After the Jungle Ride we all headed for the Tiki Room, but Kaylee freaked out because last time the tiki's scared her. . . so Jamie took her kids and went to the baby place to nurse Blake while we stayed for the Tiki Room. This is a picture of Melissa and her boys after the Tiki Room, which they all loved. Luke did a fine job singing and whistling along with the birds! And he loved the "circle ice cream" ( the tasty Dole pineapple sherbet they have at Disneyland and at the Dole plantation on Oahu).

We met Jamie on Main Street after she spent her Disney Dollars and headed for home. We scored on the tram and got to sit in the front row so we didn't have to fold up the strollers. The girls brought pajamas and we changed the kids before we loaded them up and headed for home. Next time we will have to plan our photo ops better.

It wasn't quite the birthday bash we had hoped for, but it was a fun day and we got home in time to watch Vampire Diaries and the new Office. We will continue celebrating Jamie's gala birthday week tomorrow with white Texas chocolate cake and other surprises!

On our way to Disneyland we got the wonderful news that Jeremy & Stephanie Melvin had their twin boys this morning! Check out the cute pictures on Ruth's facebook page!

California Poll

The latest telephone poll taken by the California Governor's office asked whether people who live in California think illegal immigration is a serious problem:

19% responded, "Yes, it is a serious problem.
81% responded, "No es una problema seriosa."

Thanks Kelly, this says it all!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Austin's Blessing Day

Melissa caught Austin smiling! He is such a sweet, alert baby. He is 4 weeks old already and his look is changing. At first we thought he looked just like Dylan, but now he's getting his own look. He wore the same outfit his big brothers wore.

Melissa and Greg with their 3 sons.

All Greg's siblings were there except for his sister, Michelle, who is in Utah. We love this family!
Our numbers are so small these days. It was fun to have Suzy spend the day with us from San Diego.
Ben, Brian Gargalis, Greg & Austin, and Craig
Melissa is such a good Mom. She has her hands full with a newborn and 2 busy boys.

Melissa was so glad to have Ben and Jamie there. Ben left the next day for Officer Training for 6 weeks at Ft. Sill in Lawton, Oklahoma.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Austin and Dylan

Melissa called this morning and asked if I could come watch Dylan and Austin while she took Luke to the Dr. Luke's had a cold and he started complaing about his ear hurting. 2 1/2 hours of waiting later, Melissa was glad she waited because Luke did have a raging ear infection, and he was a given a prescription for antibiotics.

In the meantime, at home Austin was happy and bright eyed so I tried to take a few pictures of him since he's already changing so much. It's hard to believe he's 3 1/2 weeks old. No sooner than I was ready to snap the camera Dylan appeared in the middle of the picture to give Austin a love and he wanted to pick him up. . . Dylan is very loving with the baby, but not very soft. He starts out soft, but gets enthusiastic and forgets the soft part. The bottom line is that you never leave the baby alone for a nano-second if Dylan is near.
Look at these darling boys! You can't see Austin very well, but he is really growing and has a little round face like Luke did. He is still so alert and bright eyed. Melissa is able to pump so I gave Austin a bottle and he loved it. He was an angel today and probably slept too much. Dylan and I read every book in the family room and we watched the Thomas the Tank Engine video not once, but twice all the way through. Dylan fell asleep on the couch before lunch watching 'What's the Name of That Song" with me. Luke took a good nap for over 3 hours. The antibiotics already seemed to be kicking in and he was feeling better. I ended up spending 10 hours with Melissa and those sweet boys. A lovely day!


I have 2 sisters: Dana and Suzy. Dana lives in Canandigua in upstate New York and Suzy lives in San Diego. Our kids think our voices sound alike on the phone. We used to torture the cousins when we called on the phone, and make them guess which Aunt it was. We would all say "It's your favorite Aunt". Since we sound alike it was always funny to see what the kids would guess. We have been told that we also share the same cackle, and when we are together our cackle in trio truly alarms our children. We love that!!! Since we see each other so seldom (even Suzy & I, just 2 hours away---shame on us) we have stayed close through phone calls, mail and the rare and exciting family get togethers every 3 or 4 years. This year all 3 of us have boys at school at BYU in Provo and Idaho.
On his way to Rexburg, Suzy's son Jonathan stopped to visit Josh and Danny, my sister Dana's oldest. Her second son, Tyler, is also in Provo but missed the photo shoot. (Ty is getting married on Saturday). Dana and I keep missing each other by a few days on our trips to Provo this year. I am so sad to miss Ty's wedding! Greg and Melissa are blessing Austin the next day and it would cut things a bit too close to make it back to Sacrament Meeting in Lake Elsinore by 8:30 a.m.
I haven't seen Dana for over a year and when I saw this picture I got so homesick for her! Isn't she an adorable mother of the groom?

And my darling niece Katie is there too! I'm really missing all the fun. . . Dana sent Suzy and I pictures like this on our cell phones yesterday. I am so glad Josh posted these on facebook so I could see them more clearly and borrow them for my blog! Thanks, honey.

Even though these pictures make me homesick for my son, my sisters, my nieces and nephews, they also fill my heart with so much joy to see what good friends these cousins are . They have truly blessed each others lives. Josh roomed with Danny this summer and they had too much fun. Jonathan and Ty are 23, Danny is 24 and Josh is 22.

Josh and Jonathan reported to the MTC the same day. They were in the same district in the MTC and their missions in Monterrey & Tampico, Mexico shared a border. Danny served in Romania and Tyler served in Las Vegas West. Dana's youngest son, Cameron, just entered the mission field in May and he is serving in San Antonio, Texas.
The picture above is Suzy and I in July, when I spent the weekend with her (while Craig was moving Nick and Renee to Idaho). Not one of my better hair days, but it is such a pretty picture of Suzy.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Disneyland Days

Jamie wanted to do something special with the family before Ben leaves for 6 months (on Sept 7). She thought it would be fun to stay at a hotel near Disneyland for a night or two. . . and once she started checking prices and details, she scored at the Disneyland Hotel with an amazing military discount. We ended up staying three nights, so we were were there last Monday-Thursday. We had adjoining rooms so we could help watch the kids. One night Ben and Jamie went back to the park after dinner and went on the big kids rides and watched the fireworks.
The double stroller was heavy and bulky to fold up on the monorail and on the train( which we did at least 4 times a day), so we brilliantly decided to rent their nice light-weight strollers. The only drawback was no cup-holder. . .
The Disneyland Hotel couldn't have been a nicer place to stay. There is so much to do there even if you don't go to Disneyland! We walked to the Monorail station several times a day and that was lovely to avoid the craziness of entering the park at the ticket booths.

One of the fun things we did was have breakfast at Goofy's Kitchen. They have a lovely buffet all day long and the characters mingle around the tables. It was so much fun for Kaylee, who is usually shy around the characters.
Jasmine was so dear and spent lots of time with her. Kaylee picked out her pink Minnie Mouse hat. And don't call it a Mickey Mouse hat either, or you will be corrected!
All our grandkids love Jessie, Woody and Buzz from toy story. This was a big milestone for Kaylee waiting in line and then actually taking her turn to take pictures with a character. Usually at this point she freaks out and changes her mind! While we were waiting in line Woody was waving and blowing kisses to her. It was adorable!

It was so wonderful to be able to return to the hotel in the afternoon for the kids to nap and the adults to recover! I wore my pedometer and we walked between 4-10 miles a day! We timed it perfectly when we made it back in time for the parade. Kaylee got to go in the conga line just like Paige did last spring. We were amazed she participated, and she loved it! 7 month old Blake was an angel the whole trip. He is such a mellow baby and he has the cutest smile and brightest eyes. People were commenting on how darling he was all week long. One night we ate at the Rainforest Cafe at Downtown Disney. It was a fun place and the food was surprisingly good. I can't wait to go to the one in Ontario and have Sweet & Sour Stir Fry again.
All Kaylee wanted to do was go on the "pirate ride in the boats" . That was the first thing we did and she said it was "too scary for me". Kaylee had a blast and loved Small World, The Tiki Room and the Buzz ride, which we rode several times. The last time she went with Grampa so that's how she refers to that "go to Disneyland on the Buzz ride with Grampa". We walked clear across California Adventure to wait forever for Toy Story Mania. It was fun but probably not worth the walk or the wait for little ones. Let the record show I got the highest score!

There were no lines, except for Pixie Hollow and Toy Story. It was a great time of the year to be there. It's so nice that our season passes black-out- days are over. It didn't get hot until our last day. We got to see everything we wanted, and the 3 days were just right. The only change I would make is taking an extra day off from Disneyland to just veg during the day at the hotel and enjoy the adorable Neverland Pool, then go back to the park at night. When our ship comes in it would be fun to have a family reunion there and stay in the time suites or time shares. One of us will have to get the big bucks to do that, but it would be a blast. These pictures give you an idea how cute the pool was. There were 2 small water slides and a jacuzzi. At night the sails on the boat lit up and it was really magical. The sign on the boys bathroom said, "LOST BOYS".

Thanks Ben & Jamie for a great week! Jamie will update her blog soon with tons more pictures. I think we had about 175 between our 2 cameras, and Craig also took some cute video. I forgot to mention these beautiful waterfalls just outside our windows. They were beautiful and sounded heavenly.