April's Life Adventures


Experiences in my life that hopefully always lead to happiness. My joys, my sorrows, my kids, my world.

Monday, July 31, 2006

On this Day

On this day, at this very moment, 7 years ago, I was eating lunch. It was a chicken salad sandwich, a salad, and a chocolate delicacy for desert. Around me were all the people who cared most about me in the world, including most of all, my brand new husband. We sat next to each other, giddy with excitement for what we had just accomplished, and of course, looking forward to that evening and the festivities.

As I look back on that beautiful day, I remember many things. The beautiful surprise at the reception when my new husband surprised me by singing a song titled "Perhaps Love". The new brother-in-law turned waitor who brought us goodies and drinks while we stood in the reception line. Dancing with my Dad to the song "butterfly kisses" hoping that I could refrain from crying, even as I watched the tears pouring down his cheeks. Cutting our cake and realizing that even though fondant frosting looks beautiful, it does not taste very good. But most of all, I remember being hopelessly in love.

Most of all as I look back on this day, I realize how much more I love my husband now. The love is a deeper more abiding and eternal type of love. He is my best friend, he is my love, he is my Sultry Husband.

Posted by April_Mommy :: 1:18 PM :: 4 comments

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Thursday, July 27, 2006

Blackout

As I was placing the last dish in the dishwasher, I heard it. Silence. Nothing in the house was running. The TV was off, the dish washer was not washing, and most of all the air conditioning was not pushing cool air through the house. The power was out. I thought it a minor inconvenience, I would have to cook dinner on the camping stove in the back yard, but it would be doable.

I had forgotten how hot it is down here. Within minutes, the temperature in the house climbed by at least ten degrees. At first, we tried to keep the doors and windows shut tight but eventually we did have to open everything we could in hopes that we would catch some sort of cross breeze.

As Sultry Husband and I prepared for bed, we checked on the girls who were sleeping fitfully. Their room was an oven! As we walked into our room, we suddenly knew that none of us would be sleeping in our beds. A slumber party in the living room became necessary. Not a great night's sleep, but at least the power was restored late this morning. It was a good thing too, because I don't know what we would have done to survive if it were several days.

It takes examples like this one to remind me how much I rely on technology down here in the desert. I found myself thinking that if only we had the air conditioning last night, we could have played more games and been happy through the evening. Instead we sat around feeling hot, damp, and miserable. I hope they have the problem sorted out, I don't want to experience another night like that one!

Posted by April_Mommy :: 10:59 AM :: 4 comments

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Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Promises

We feel that it is very important to keep our promises. Especially to our children. Friday evening, the kids asked to go swimming in the local pool. We told them that we could go on Saturday. The problem was, by Saturday afternoon there were very dark clouds and scary lightening. We had to back out on our promise to take them, explaining that the weather was a problem. It was a great teaching opportunity, as we were able to talk about lightening and the dangers therein.

We also promised that if the weather was better on Monday, we could go swimming. All weekend, the girls talked about how we were going swimming on Monday. They were worked up into a frenzy of excitement. It was all they talked about. As Monday evening rolled around, we heard the ominous sounds of thunder. It was far in the distance, so we thought that we would go to the pool and ask them if they were allowing people to swim. Apparently they were, but they were also watching the clouds to see if they would get any closer. If they did, we would be pulled from the pool.

The kids were determined, so we paid our fee and entered the watery bliss. We swam, we played in the kiddie pool, we pretended to have a lemonade stand, all in the first 45 minutes. At that time, the clouds had become so dark and ominous that the lightening was quite close. The pool personal pulled us all out of the water. Some people waited off to the side, just in case they would allow us back in. We however, decided to head home. The wind had picked up and it was feeling cold. Normally I would probably have considered the money wasted, but we did not. For you see, we kept our promise, our girls were able to go swimming, even if only for a short time.

Not long after we arrived home, the storm broke. It rained hard enough to remind me of a Phoenix monsoon! Not once since we have lived here have we seen rain like this. I always find storms like this amazing and a little strange. We opened our garage door and sat in camping chairs while watching the storm. It didn't take long before the water was seeping into the garage far enough that we had to protect the boxes within by closing the door again. The kids were amazed by the storm and M ended the evening by saying "I am glad we went swimming, but I am even more glad that we didn't die in the lightening". I found her words quite poetic actually. At least we were able to keep our promise.

Posted by April_Mommy :: 7:36 AM :: 5 comments

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Thursday, July 20, 2006

Modesty

I was always taught that if you teach your children about modesty while they are young, it makes it easier for them to make correct choices as they grow older. We have taken it upon ourselves to introduce our girls into the world of modesty. I believe especially in one piece bathing suits. It is a personal choice that we have made and I do not look down upon anyone who chooses otherwise.

This is becoming a problem with M. In the wonderful park that I found, there is a sprinkler type of fountain that is provided for the children to play in. They love to run around in the spray and there are always friends to play with. I always prepare for the park by either putting the girls in their swimming suits or just letting them run through in their clothes. Right now, I can control what the girls wear because I am the boss. If they don't like it, we can go home.

What I can't control is the other parents. People who think that it is alright for a 7 year old girl to be running around without a shirt on. As I said before, I do not judge the choices that the parents have made. I am mostly just frustrated in the mixed messages it is sending to my girls. L who is only 3 after all, tries to take her shirt off the second she sees even the little boys running around naked, its just her age. But M on the other hand, came to me very upset about the little girl who was older than her without a shirt. She said, "Mommy! That girl is not being modest!" right in front of the other parents. I was embarrassed to say the least. I think that I need to teach her more about keeping her mouth shut and being non judgmental... She told me that she didn't want to be this girl's friend because she was naked, I then explained that we can be everyone's friend regardless of how they dressed. She didn't quite get it. I don't know if I was clear enough, but she would not play with this particular girl. She seemed very uncomfortable around her. I wonder what kind of messages I am really sending. Am I, while trying to teach certain principles, creating unnecessary trauma?

Posted by April_Mommy :: 5:09 PM :: 8 comments

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Wednesday, July 19, 2006

The sleep deprived household

Sultry Husband is in a musical right now called "fiddler on the roof". I can't wait to see the production, it should be a good one. My main problem with this thing is that the rehearsals are at 6 am. Who in their right mind would put rehearsals in the morning?! The director claims that it is to make it easier for people who work to make the practices, but many of them sleep in then say "oh, sorry, I didn't hear my alarm." So, I really don't see the point.

SH has to be up by 5 or so to make it into town by 6. He has been going to bed early so he would feel rested for the day, but of course, he doesn't feel rested. Neither do I. It isn't that I get up with him, its that I wake up with the alarm, several times in fact (by the time he stops hitting snooze), I see the bathroom light on as he showers, I hear him getting dressed, I see the lights come on in the house as he prepares to leave. I am not the only one who can see and hear him. This morning, L climbed out of bed when Daddy arose. She cried when I told her that it was still way too early to be out of bed. She didn't understand why Daddy could be up and she could not.

After repeated attempts to get her back into bed, I realized that there would be no extra sleep to be had in this house today. She is grumpy and throwing tantrums. I am grumpy and want to throw a tantrum. Most of all, I want to go back to bed. Man, I can't wait for this play to be over and done with!

Posted by April_Mommy :: 7:51 AM :: 6 comments

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Sunday, July 16, 2006

The end of our journey

July 5 Day 7

The morning of July 5 brought a beautiful dawn. We arose at our usual time feeling very rested and excited. Today we were going on a Pioneer Trek! Our girls were actually reluctant to leave Grandma's house and the fabulous back yard. They had been ever so patient so far with all the driving. It was time yet again to drive. At least this time it was only about an hour or so away.

As we passed Park City Utah, I pointed out all the ski jumping hills left over from the Olympics. My kids thought it was neat to see, and I imagined myself jumping off of one of those to soar through the air. Everything went well in my mind till I came to the landing. If I were ever to attempt that type of stunt, I think I would put on a parachute.

Our exit came up before us and we turned off the highway. Anxious to see this place where my parents were staying. There they were, sitting on the gate waiting for us to arrive. I found it very amusing to see my Mother sitting on a gate for some reason. Perhaps because she didn't seem the type to sit on a fence. But then, after spending time there on the mission with her and my Dad, I realized that it totally fit. This rural setting and my parents. They both seem so happy there. I have already blogged about our adventures on Trek, so feel free to read them again :-)

June 6 Day 8
Morning comes early in the mountains. A fantastic breakfast was cooked in a Dutch oven by my Dad. The kids were happy, I was happy, and Sultry Husband was happy. It was a great morning. We returned to the "depot" where we were able to shower before leaving for my parents home again. We discussed at length what we should do with our day. For at this point, we had the only free day of the adventure! We drove down the mountain, and decided upon hitting one of our favorite restaurants for lunch. This is a place that we have not been able to visit since leaving Idaho. We enjoyed ourselves, then realized how tired and worn out we really were. At which point, we went back to the house for a relaxing and carefree afternoon.

When I was 6 years old, my oldest sister entered into cosmetology school. Since that time, I have learned to really love and cherish having my hair styled. It is very relaxing and gives us all a chance to talk. I had two other sisters who followed the example of the eldest and therefore I have three sisters who are all fabulous hair dressers. At family get together, we usually have one day set aside for the hair party. As the evening approached, my sister arrived home from work. We started a short hair party, where she cut and colored my hair. It has been far too long! She also cut my girl's hair. I was in heaven.

June 7 Day 9
We arose early and repacked the car. This was to be the last leg of our journey. As we rented our car in Saint George, we could not take the usual turn off to get to the other side of the mountains and our faster way home. When we arrived, the kids really seemed to be frustrated with driving. SH had a fantastic idea, and we stopped to see Superman! I was a little nervous to see how my kids would react to the scary parts, but they were absolutely fine and they are still talking about it. M addresses Daddy as "Superman". It is very cute.

We finally pulled into our driveway around 10 pm. Our kids were asleep in the back, so we quietly carried them to their own beds. Our journey was completed. We survived, we conquered, we loved every minute. The next big trip is already in the works, for you see, we learned that driving long distances is not as bad as we thought it would be. The world is at our fingertips.

Posted by April_Mommy :: 7:58 AM :: 3 comments

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Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Continuing on our Journey

July 2 Day 4
We awoke early as usual and hurried to get dressed and jump into the car. Waving goodbye to our friends, we headed down to my Brother's house for a few days. My girls were anxious to play with their cousins, and especially excited to go to church with them! "You mean, I get to go to class with my cousin?!" After church, the kids all played together while my Brother and Sister-in-Law made us a fantastic dinner. This crazy good spicy chicken...mmmmm...

July 3 Day 5
My poor brother had to work on Monday, so we headed off to an adventure without him. His family purchased season passes to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. They also had a couple of guest passes, so we ended up only paying for the kids... yay for discounts! It was actually pretty difficult to hang on to our kids, as they are rarely in a crowd of that size. The cousins showed us around and we were able to see all of the amazing things there. And I swear that they knew the names of every single fish! We touched sting rays, we handled star fish, we saw sharks... We only left the aquarium for lunch, which was at this fantastic Mexican restaurant that was right on the water! Our table had these monster windows that the kids could look out of while we waited for our food. It was really fun to hear them squeal when they would find a sea lion in the water.

When we had visited every single aquarium attraction, and our feet were well worn out, we hopped back into the car after hugging our cousins good bye and started the drive over to fishermen's wharf in Monterey. There was a little traffic backed up to get through this smallish tunnel (it fit about 25 cars), which was built out of tile and concrete, so it was one that had a very nice echo. We opened up the sun roof to make it more fun for the kids, then bleeped the horn. We were bumper to bumper in there, still moving, but slowly. As we meeped along, other cars also began honking. M and L laughed so hard as every single car started honking because Daddy did. As we emerged from the tunnel, they asked if we could go back in.

A little while later, we arrived on Fisherman's wharf where we found pizza by the slice for me and the kids, and a very large sour dough breadbowl with clam chowder for Sultry Husband. We all tasted it and M actually seemed to like the taste... Silly girl! Then we went into my all time favorite store. One of the candy shops on the wharf actually has a taffy pulling machine and makes it's own candy! The girls each got to pick out something that they would like (L insisted on getting gummy sharks because we saw some sharks... M chose some sour fruits). My all time favorite? Caramel apples. There is just something about the tartness of the green apple inside that mixes so well with the sticky sweet of the outside. They have improved upon this carnival classic however, for they first dip the apple in caramel, then chocolate, then roll it in mini M'n'M's. The only thing better would be if they had dipped it in Canadian chocolate and then rolled it in Canadian smarties, but this was tasty just the same.

We finally climbed back into our car and started on our long journey for the night at about 7:30 pm. Which to us was actually 8:30 pm... Not a good omen. We drove and drove, the original plan was to get halfway to Utah by the time we stopped, but we only made it about a third of the way before we looked at the clock and it said 3 am. It was time again to find a small motel in a small town. Lovelock Nevada seems to have many charms, but the best of all was a clean room, with a very comfortable bed, and get this, a clean shower! I knew that the birthplace of my Grandfather would take care of me! It was a total accident that we stopped there!

July 4 Day 6
We awoke around 8. Thankfully, the girls had switched to California time while we were there and they let us sleep. SH was totally exhausted from the drive the night before (I slept for a few hours on the drive), so it was my turn to take the wheel. He napped for a few hours while I kept shushing the kids. We were trying to make it to Evanston Wy by nightfall so we could see some awesome fireworks, but somewhere along the road, we changed our plans. We would go no farther than my parents house (they are not there right now, but my sister is living there while they are gone). We surprised her, as I had forgotten to call and tell her of the change of plans. She still seemed happy to see us, and we all went to bed early without even missing the fireworks. There is just something about driving all day that makes you more tired than you were before. We fell into a blissful sleep in a very comfortable bed with clean sheets... See, I am learning to be less picky as we go! No really, it is a great bed, and a familiar place as I grew up there.

As usual, this has gotten away from me again... Way too long for a blog post! I will continue again tomorrow. For now, I am exhausted just remembering how exhausted I was!

Posted by April_Mommy :: 8:46 AM :: 6 comments

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Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Our Trip

As I have been reading Julia's and ABQ Mommies blogs these past few days, I have realized that I need to give a day by day accounting of our trip as well. We did a LOT of driving, so not every day was fun filled and packed with adventures, but we did enjoy ourselves.

June 29 Day 1
Sultry Husband ran into work to drop off a few things and give our pets to the care givers. Copper didn't even seem to care, Phnarph was up for an adventure, but Tiki the parrot was incensed. We would find out just how angry he was later on. He was home by 3, the car was packed by 3:30 and we were off to Saint George to pick up the rental car.

I had reserved the car two weeks earlier, and the internet promised unlimited miles (which we definitely needed), and a cheap car. The first thing that the lady at the rental counter informed us, was that she had no car whatsoever that we could pick up! Not one! We would have to wait two hours for a car to come onto the lot, oh and she "could not" give us the unlimited miles we were promised. Um, hello? False advertising?

We walked up to another rental agency counter in the tiny airport, the lady felt very sorry for us and therefore, gave us the "reserved early" rate (we had reserved the car early, just not with her). She also gave us the rate for a compact car, even though she had to give us two upgrades because she didn't have one on the lot! So we ended up with a very nice car for a fabulous price... But you had better believe that soon the first rental agency will be getting an ear full. 5:00 pm, we are finally on the road to California. Drive on dear husband, for it will be a long night.

We drove until about 2 in the morning. We could go no further, but we had not banked on one thing... No motel in sight and Sultry Husband was really tired. We drove and drove hoping to find one, and finally, a sign. A cheap, terrible motel. But it was about the only thing we could find and we were tired. The mattress was hard as a rock, and the sheets and blankets felt greasy. We were only given a thin blanket on top of a sheet, so I froze all night...

June 30 Day 2
We were up by 6:30 am and I decided to take a shower. That is, until I saw the shower. It was a terrible concrete shower, the walls and floor were peeling and what did I see all over the floor of it? Black algae!!! Gross! I washed my hair in the sink.

Drive, drive, drive! As we approached Livermore California, we decided to take a favorite old highway instead of the larger and possibly faster way to Antioch. This is the wonderful time when we found the strawberries that we gobbled at a nearby park. M did the monkey bars for the first time, and I captured it on video. It was a favorite park from SH's childhood.

Later that afternoon, we stopped at a friend's house. This is where we would be staying for a few days. We had just enough time to wash up, change clothes, chat for a bit, then leave the kids with them for the evening as SH and I headed to the play. A fabulous show, we both loved it. Afterwards, we were invited to stay for the cast pizza party. SH was a resident celebrity... He was asked for his autograph over and over again. I almost laughed, but thankfully contained myself. We didn't leave the theater until about midnight (which is actually 1 am to us) and I was already moving on about 3 to 4 hours of sleep... urg. It was a fantastic night though, so I felt that the exhaustion was well worth it.

July 1 Day 3
We awoke to our children playing at about 8 am. Thankfully they had slept in a little for us. We both arose and entertained our children for a while. SH was so tired that he went back to bed at 9:30, and we decided that our day would be best spent taking turns for naps. The kids played in our friend's back yard and wading pool all morning, in heaven because they were not in the car... Around noon, it was my turn and I conked out for a couple of hours. At which point, M and L were getting a little stir crazy, but luckily, we had been invited to a pool party that afternoon, so we headed out. I was nervous for L because she doesn't swim well yet, and thus I shoved floaties on her arms. It is a long story, but I didn't swim. I was not feeling well, and lounging in the shade felt more comfortable, not to mention that I really would not have had time for a shower before the next performance of the play. L jumped in the pool over and over again, getting a false sense of security from the floaties. She would always bob right back to the surface... As I was loading up the car and caring for M, L told SH that she was "done". She was shivering so he took off the floaties and wrapped her in a towel. He put his shirt on and turned to say his goodbyes to our friends. He then heard a faint splash and turned around to assure himself of L's whereabouts. He didn't see her, so he ran for the pool. At the bottom, flailing and looking scared was L. Of course he jumped in, shirt and all to pull her out. She had swallowed a bit of water, but was unharmed. I freaked out when I was told about what had just happened, but she seemed fine, so we decided to play it cool so she would not be scared. I hugged her for an extra long time.

We then dropped L off with the babysitter, under strict orders to watch her like a hawk and make sure she was really alright. M was old enough to see the play, so she got to have a special outing with Mommy and Daddy. We had other friends and family coming that night. All told, we had 16 comp tickets... We didn't feel bad at all about this, it was our play after all! M loved it, and still talks about daddies play.

Thus ends the Antioch portion of our journey. This has become longer than it should have already. So I will share the other adventures another day... The play was a success and I got to eat strawberries. The trip was well worth it. Even if I did have to be exhausted.


Posted by April_Mommy :: 7:55 AM :: 3 comments

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Monday, July 10, 2006

Trek 2006 Pictures

I tried and tried for the past few days, yet blogger has refused to allow me to post the pictures that I wanted to. This will be yet another attempt to get the pictures up.


This one, is by far my favorite. The girls tried on some old cowboy hats that were left behind by someone, and then decided that climbing up on the rail fence sounded like fun. They sat like this for about 15 minutes, which is a really long time for them! Just beyond them on the left is the handcarts used by the trekers. In the distance is an old "shearing shed" which was used to sheer the sheep for the summer months. It is no longer in use, but I thought that this picture was just the best!


As most of you know, my daughters love flowers. The meadow's provided ample opportunities to pick flower upon flower. The girls invented a new pretend game, called M and L's flower farm. When grandma walked up and asked what they were doing, M flung her arms around her and said "Oh, Grandma! Welcome to M and L's flower farm!" So cute!


This was our handcart for the trek. Daddy and Grandpa decided to give the girls a short ride in the cart, not usually permitted, but we allowed it just this once. L was pretty nervous so Grandma walked behind and held her hand. The night before, we loaded up all of our things and pulled the cart along the track. We stopped and our guides (grandma and grandpa) told us some pioneer stories. I think that my favorite moment was later on around the camp fire, M asked Grandma if she would tell us more stories... Then L asked for one with a "L pioneer girl" in it. I don't think that she understood that the stories we were telling were all true...

There are more stories and pictures of our adventure, that will hopefully be coming in the future... For now, blogger has decided that I have posted enough. Sometimes I get so frustrated with it! Ah well, at least our adventure was a fantastic success, and our kids are still talking about what Grandma and Grandpa are doing out there in the wilderness.


Posted by April_Mommy :: 10:02 AM :: 6 comments

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Saturday, July 08, 2006

Home at Last!

We have finally returned home after our wonderful vacation! All told, we put over 2,000 miles on our rental car. Here is my recap of the trip, which was a fabulous experience.

Starting out by driving up to Antioch California, we watched Sultry Husband's play on Friday night. It was an exciting yet overwhelming experience for him. That night was just the two of us, as he wanted to enjoy the play without any distractions. Saturday night we took M with us to see the play. She seemed to really enjoy it and talked about the many twists and turns within the plot for days afterward.

On our way into Antioch, we stopped in Brentwood. That town, above any other I have visited, has the best produce. It is all locally grown and sold at small fruit stands all along the road. We visited our old favorite stand for some strawberries, which I have to admit, are the best I have ever tasted.

The fruit is always allowed to vine ripen, and they were picked the very day that we purchased them. There has to be something about living in a place with such wonderful produce!

The next leg of our trip took us a little further south within California. We visited my Brother and his family. M and L absolutely loved playing with their cousins, in fact, they have taken to calling each other "cousin" because it is more fun to play with cousins than sisters... Interesting. Anyway, we spent a day at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, but my camera didn't charge the day before... Therefore, the pictures will not be posted here. We borrowed my Brother's camera, but I have not had the chance to have them sent on to me yet. I will post a few when we get them.

My parents are serving a mission for our church. They are living up on a very huge ranch, and providing a way for the youth to go up and experience a real pioneer trek. For those readers who don't know what I am talking about, there is a long history of our church and handcart pioneers who traveled to Utah. There is way more history and experiences there than I could share, but there is a fantastic book for any who are interested called "Fire of the covenant" by Gerald Lund, if you are so inclined to learn a bit more... To make a long story short, we went up to the ranch, and went on a little mini trek with our girls. They loved the experience and our guides (my parents) told beautiful and poignant stories of the crossing of the pioneers. It was a fantastic experience, one that I hope to repeat again. I wanted to post a couple of pictures from the trek, but blogger doesn't seem to want to let me do it... Perhaps a post for another day.

Driving along for that many hours in a row, would have felt tedious if it were not for a few wonderful ideas we had. We purchased a portable DVD player that had two screens to attach to the backs of the two front seats. Both girls watched movies on their own screen. No fighting, no complaining about not being able to see, just happy girls. We also read a book. Sultry Husband would drive along as I read out loud to him. We didn't quite finish it, but we plan to in the next week or so. The miles seemed to just melt away before us.

It was a fantastic journey. The ease and happiness we felt along the way has brought us closer together as a family, and has definitely hit us with the travel bug. I wouldn't be surprised to see us packing up the car again in the near future... what will our next destination be? Unknown at the moment, but I will tell you this, Sultry Husband needs to acrue some more vacation days before we can hit the road... till then, we shall continue to enjoy fond memories of this road trip.


Posted by April_Mommy :: 1:42 PM :: 7 comments

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