Monday, July 27, 2009

You can pick your friends.....

6 years ago, a great man passed away - my dad. He was funny, but with a very dry sense of humor. He was so smart it was intimidating, and he often used his intelligence in tangent with his sense of humor, making him a wonderfully unique person. He was a great dad, husband, son, brother, uncle and friend and is missed everyday. I often miss his little quips and tidbits of humor.

One of his favorite sayings was this:
You can pick your friends,
You can pick your nose,
But you can't pick your friends nose.

He used to say this all the time when I was a kid, and I would respond "Eeewwww, stop Dad!" Oddly enough, a month or so ago Amelia started using her nose as a place holder for her finger. I can assure you I did not teach her this, nor did Alex or Paul. I can only think it was my dad, in whatever spirit form one takes on after this life, teaching his granddaughter to do all those things I used to be so embarrassed of as a kid, and miss so much now as an adult. He would be so proud of his grand kids, and would be teaching them all sorts of horrible things. I miss you Dad.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

A sudden loss

This past week has been a tough one on my family. My 32 year old cousin, Jeremey, died suddenly on the morning of July 16th. His death was totally unexpected and has sent shock waves through everyone in our family, as well as his large group of friends. While I had not spoken to him in some time, as children we were close. Being an only child I feel especially close to all of my cousins.

Jeremey is the oldest son of my (paternal) Uncle Michael's three children. Jeremey's sister, Kimberlee, is like a sister to me and I spent a ton of time over at their house as a child swimming, eating ice cream and causing the usual trouble all kids cause. Jeremey was the oldest of all us cousins and we definitely looked up to him. Kim and I have remained close all these years and over the years she had kept me appraised of what Jeremey had been up to, I had hoped to see him at our next family event. I also didn't know Jeremey's daughter, Jasmine, as well as I would have liked. My heart breaks for her, losing a father at such a young age is a terrible thing. Jeremey had been a dedicated father to Jasmine since he and his first wife had divorced, taking full custody of Jasmine and dedicating himself to her well being.

I feel such sadness for a life ended too soon. My heart breaks for my Uncle Michael and Aunt Shari who are having to endure what no parent ever wants to experience, the loss of a child. And my cousins Kim and Paul have lost a sibling, a pain that I can only imagine is debilitating at moments. As I prepare to head up to Sacramento, to assist in anyway I can before Jeremey's funeral, I have been making sure to let my loved ones know how much I love them and giving my kids one extra hug and kiss in the morning - I would encourage you to do the same.

Kim and her big brother Jeremey.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Sun, sand and smiles

We spent the weekend in Santa Cruz with my mom and her side of the family. I've said it before and I say it again - we are beach people. We belong at the beach, but our house and jobs haven't caught up with this line of thinking yet. We just love the beach, well at least Paul, Alex and I do. Amelia is still on the fence about it. Alex isn't thrilled about getting sandy but once his big cousins started running around he was all over it. Amelia however was not digging the sand and wanted nothing to do with it. She was okay as long as someone was holding her, but as soon as we tried to set her down on the sand she looked at us as if we had set her into a pit of snakes. After a little while she warmed up to the idea but as you see from the photo below, she was still making up her mind on whether she wants to be a beach baby!

Alex played so hard all weekend trying to keep up with his cousins who are almost 12 and 10. He had a blast building sand castles, digging holes and playing tackle football. My cousin's boys are such sweet kids and were quite gracious having Alex follow them around like a little shadow.

Getting to see my cousins and aunt is always great too. We hadn't seen them since our trip to Punta Cana this past March. Paul golfed with the guys and I caught up with Jessie and Ann. We all enjoyed some wine and good food, Jessie even busted out the magnum bottle of champagne she had gotten for her 21st birthday! Amelia was quite intrigued by it!

We had planned this beach trip several months ago but I had been dreading it a bit since Amelia doesn't travel long distances in the car very well. Alex is pretty easy, we just start up a DVD and he is good, but Amelia doesn't do DVD's yet and just wants out of her carseat the second she is put in it. We drove at night thinking she would sleep but she didn't....however it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be and most importantly we arrived at point A and B safely!

We were all sad driving home last night but we can't be too sad, we are headed back to Santa Cruz in two weeks for the Wharf to Wharf run and a trip to the Monterey Bay Aquarium! Still, I miss that sea air already!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

My new friend.....

I just had to blog about my new friend, her name is Cricut and she rocks the house! My new Cricut scrapbooking machine arrived Tuesday and I was like a kid on Christmas morning opening up the package and checking out my new toy! I have only made a few projects so far and am still learning all the tricks on this machine, but it is damn impressive!

Here is a thank you card I made for my mom tonight. She paid for the kids swim lessons this year so I wanted something special to give her as a thank you (other than the fact that her grandkids are now a little bit safer in the pool). I got a cartridge for the machine that is all beach/water themed. The machine cut out the card and then I used it to cut out the little saying and scuba boy, cutting out additional colored pieces to layer the card and add color to the scuba diver and saying. I am sure to get a lot of use just out of this cartridge since we are off to the beach again this weekend!

Monday, July 6, 2009

4th of July weekend

The smell of BBQ is in the air, the sound of kids splashing in the pool, and it is over a hundred degrees outside - must be 4th of July!! We spent the 4th at we do most years, hanging poolside at our house until mid-afternoon when we head over to Dave & Debbie's for dinner and good seats for the local high school's firework show. This year Amelia did not make it to see the firework show though so I watched it from the roof of Paul's truck (hence the tree to the left hand side of the above photo!)

We all worked up an appetite swimming all day, which is a good thing because we had quite a feast prepared! Paul used his smoker to smoke some ribs and I made Butterfinger ice cream in my ice cream machine. I also made this red, white and blue appetizer which was a big hit! It has blueberries, cranberries and brie cheese wrapped in a crescent roll. I decorated it with some cute out stars to make it extra festive for the holiday!

All the kids had a great time playing with each other. After swimming they ran around to kill time until it got dark enough for fireworks. Amelia loves to watch the kids, and actually all three kids are very sweet with her and include her as much as possible in their activities. She loved watching them run around and would stand there and laugh to herself as they ran around her.

The three older kids all looked especially cute in their patriotic outfits!

We also managed to get some cute family pics during the day as well....

When it was finally dark enough for the firework show it proved to be worth the wait! It was a great show and then we did a few little fireworks of our own. Alex was unsure about the Morning Glory's though!

All in all it was a happy and safe 4th of July! Hope everyone else out there had a happy and safe holiday as well!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Scrapping my time away....

When Alex was 13 months old I finished his baby scrapbook documenting. All his special events were documented, starting with my pregnancy and then tracking all his special milestones. When I was done with it several people looked at it and said "Gee we feel sorry for your next kid because there is no way you will be able to do another book like this with two kids!"

Ah, this sounded like a challenge! Being an only child I don't have experiences with sibling rivalry but have heard about it from plenty of my friends and was determined that Amelia would have a baby scrapbook, and in a timely manner as well. Over this past year there have been several days where I would pack up all my stuff and haul off to either my scrapbook store here in Clovis or go down and scrapbook with Channone. And now....drumroll please....I am proud to announce that Amelia's baby scrapbook is done!!! And it was completed one week shy of her turning 14 months. I posted a couple of pages just for you to check out! I am very happy with the way it turned out and hope she will enjoy looking at it as she gets older. Alex already loves to look at "baby Alex" in his scrapbook.

I finished up Amelia's book two weeks ago when I went to visit my dear friend Channone and we went to a crop at her scrapbook store from 4 until midnight. I even managed to get a few other pages done for my 2008 scrapbook. Now I just need to finish 2008 and move onto 2009, since it is already half over! Argghh! Never enough hours in a day!

While at Channone's scrapbook store in Visalia I used the store's Cricut machine several times (for those of you who don't scrapbook out there, the Cricut is a very nice die cut machine that cuts out letters and shapes, really just about anything). I had used it a few times before, Channone's mom has one, and LOVE it. When I returned home I was showing Paul my pages that I had completed and how nice the Cricut had cut out letters and items for me. I was going on and on about how much I loved it. Somehow, catching Paul in a week moment perhaps, he agreed to let me buy one right now. I was hoping for a birthday present but like I said, must have caught him at a weak moment! I have ordered my machine and am anxiously awaiting it's arrival!!! Channone and I are attending a 12 hours crop in a few weeks (yes, I said 12 hours) and I hope to have more pages done to share with you soon!