Friday, May 29, 2009

The Radishes are Ready

These are about the 4th and 5th ones we've pulled. The kids want the whole family to be here when we do this. It's so cute! I didn't think they'd get so into it. The garden is thriving. Some plants are doing better than others. My eggplant finally came up, but isn't getting much sun because the cucumber plant is taking over. It's huge! We're having a lot of fun with this!
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Vintage Windows

This is the latest find. Willie spotted them on his way home from work and thought I might like them so he took me back to check them out. They were still there almost an hour later. Aren't they awesome? Don't know what to do with them yet, but we have a few ideas. Any ideas you want to share?
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Bedtime for Dolls

This is the routine for every night. All the dolls and stuffed animals are put to bed by Maddie and Carina. They don't always sleep all together. They usually are grouped into 4 or five, but it must have been slumber party night.
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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Promised Update

So here we go again. Time for another update. Seems like I just wrote one the other day . . .

With another school year almost gone, the family is shifting gears in preparation for summer. Andrea is bracing herself for bored kids kicking around the house, the kids are counting down the days, and Willie's daily routine will not change a bit.

Wesley is excited to go to scout camp this summer. To help raise money for the cost of the camp, he sold tickets to a pancake breakfast his troop put on, and then helped out on the day of the event. Grandma and Grandpa came to the breakfast, which was very fun. Afterward, the girls went their shopping ways and the boys went to play nine holes of golf.

Wes has been playing about once a week at a little nine-hole par 3 course that is nearby. Burbank students play free on weekdays, and if I want to come along, they charge me 3 bucks. Weekends, the rates skyrocket to $4, and everyone pays. It's really a super course for learning: the longest hole is 90 yds and the shortest 75. It really helps me work on my short game, too. The price is right, and the kids are really enjoying it. Come to think of it, Carina is the only one who has not gone. More on her later.

Wesley is lacking a couple of merit badges for his Life rank. Tonight he received his Aviation merit badge. We've already done a little groundwork for an Eagle project idea involving helping schools start a 'no cussing club.' The club will then in turn help the city with service projects to eradicate graffiti.

Wes has also been in a journalism class in school, and has published a couple of articles in the school paper. Adjusting to a new school was hard on the kids, socially and academically. Wesley has done a great job of pulling through it and his grades are as good as ever.

Wes has found a good friend in Marshall, and the two of them are two jokers from the same deck. Luckily, they are a grade apart in school, but at church, their teachers are not so fortunate. Wesley is the only deacon who regularly attends, and Marshall was just ordained a teacher. The two of them are lucky to have found in the other such a good friend. Both sets of parents feel blessed.

This summer, he and Maddie both are signed up for a water polo program with the city. Maddie has been busy, too, making new friends, doing well in school, and getting completely lost in books.

For the past couple of months, she and Zach have played in a Boys and Girls Club soccer league. It's super informal: they practiced once at the beginning of the season, and none since. They play weekly at their own school each time, and both have really enjoyed it. Zach said the other day, 'I just like soccer 'cause I get to run non-stop." But more on him later.

Maddie is quite a sculptor. She's been making stuff with her clay, and she really gets into it. Her latest creations are little teddy bear looking guys. She's made 6 of them, I think. We'll be placing some pictures of them on the blog soon.

A couple of days ago, the whole family went to my work to see some of the sculptures and other fine art. Maddie really studied the sculptures and you could see she was keenly interested in the artistry. Maybe she'll go Maddieangelo.

Maddie, too has made some friends at school and at church. The group for activity days is a good group of girls, and their leaders do a super job at having activities the girls love.

Maddie participated in a dance festival at her school last week, and her class dressed up in 70s era clothing. She had a blast doing that, and I think we'll be posting some video of that dance.

Maddie, more than any other in our family, devours books. It's getting to be pretty common that we'll notice Maddie is not around, and we'll call out to her, figuring she's in her room reading. After a few long seconds, she responds, but we know she's really not here, but somewhere far away, lost in a book.

Zachary has recently earned his Wolf rank in Cub Scouts, and he has earned his gold and four silver arrow points. Periodically, he will go 'wolf crazy' and just knock out a ton of stuff. He'll resist us if we suggest he work on something, but every time we get started, he doesn't want to stop.

This evening, for the monthly pack meeting, Zach's entire pack went out to a nearby nature center and hiked up to a viewpoint overlooking the valley. We've done the hike once before, with the Lane family. It was lots of fun, and we picked up trash on the way down to 'leave no trace.'

Zach is also attending Camp Akela cub scout day camp this summer. They also have a sibling camp, and Carina signed up for that. She gets to do some of the same things Zach gets to do. Also, they were looking for youth leaders to help out, and Maddie and Wes volunteered. So every morning for a week, Andrea will be dropping off all four kids at camp!

Wes, Zach, and I went to the Father and Sons overnight with our stake this past weekend, and we had lots of fun. We got up there just before nightfall, set up camp, and threw together some burritos. Lo and behold, guess who's camping with us? Napoleon Dynamite and his twin brother. We had been told we'd prolly see him at stake events, but my boys never dreamed we'd be on a campout with Nap! Once we walked past him (his name is Jon Heder, sounds like 'heater') and I was having a conversation with Zach. We were 30 feet past Jon, and I realized Zach wasn't listening. I look over at him and he's still walking with me, but his neck is craned around looking backwards, marveling that it's really him. Pretty funny.

The next morning, after breakfast, we had a really fun game of capture the flag. Boys, young and old, all participated, and it was really intense. We were all on the same team with Jon, and I was happy to find that he was really friendly and fun (unlike Ramses, who turned out to be a real dirtbag.) Also, tonight, at the court of honor Wes and I attended, there he was, in uniform, the assistant scoutmaster.

Anyways. Whatever.

Zach and Carina both are taking swim lessons this summer. Zach's nervous because the pool is outside, like the one in Sierra Vista where he was stung by a bee. He's a strong swimmer, and we think this will be the summer where he'll no longer judge the swimmability of a pool by how deep it is.

Zach is still happiest when he is doing something dangerous. Today he fell off the wall at our house, and on the way down scraped off a good portion of his elbow. And it was just two days ago that we were finally able to remove his last bandage.

Carina, on the other hand, likes to play it safe. She's happiest when she is engaged in some creative outlet. She likes drawing, mostly drawing people, but she's been delving into animals, and mazes are another of her favorites. These are no simple mazes: there are obstacles to avoid, keys to find which unlock doors, etc. She really gets into it.

Carina has still shown very little interest in riding her bike. The training wheels are still attached, and I'm feeling like I've let her down. She's pretty speedy on her scooter, and she's improved on her bike, but she is just not interested.

Monday our family hiked to Switzer Falls in the Angeles Crest mtns, and it was really nice. The weather was much cooler up there, and we worried that it might be a little chilly. We had no complaints, the weather was fantastic. I expected very little water, but there was actually quite a bit. We hiked down the lower falls and back up again, a round trip of around four miles. Andrea and I were so surprised at how well Carina did. We carried her on and off right at the end, for maybe 10 minutes total. She was a real trooper, and seems to be showing us in a lot of ways that she's not our little baby girl anymore.

She was recognized today for her outstanding reading, and Abuela was able to be there for that special moment. Carina is sharp as a tack, and nothing gets by her. She's still sweet as can be (unless she's hungry) and she'll always be my sweet beej.

Me? I'm a bona fide employee now at my job. That's a relief. It started off as a temp-to-hire, and then midway through that they put a hiring freeze in place. So being hired despite the freeze was good.

Andrea is a walking fiend. She walks for miles around this hilly neighborhood, and likes her 'me' time. She's usually run ragged by shuttling the kids all over, but she does a uper job taking care of our family, and we love her to pieces for that.

We're also really enjoying having our parents and other family close enough to participate in the stuff we do, and vice-versa. We spent Monday afternoon with Wayne and DD, Jan and Jan Bennett, and Jen, Alex and Carrot. We had FHE with them (Maddie taught the lesson, and did super) and then watched the Lakers get waxed.

Also, this coming Saturday, we're off to see the Lanes to celebrate Claire's birthday. We can't wait!

For the 4th of July, we've got plans to visit Q, Shelly, and Boyd. That guy is one good-looking dude. So we're looking forward to that, too.

We're busy but happy, and I've said nothing of our callings at church. We each have two callings, and I've spoken twice in sacrament meeting now. We're not in Arizona anymore!

I'm sure I've left stuff out, but that's going to have to do for now.

Cut + Cut + Paste

As most of you may know, the operation described in the title of this post will result in the Pasting of the second thing Cut.

So what happens to the first thing that was cut? Gonzo.

The other night I was feeling like I should post a family update. Twenty five minutes later, I had put together an update I was pleased with, and went to post it. Only, I had typed it in an e-mail and needed instead to post it via Blogger.

No big whoop. I highlighted, and then cut the post, went to the appropriate window for a new post in Blogger, and pas . . . oh but wait . . . I've been meaning to change this other thing, uh-huh, that's what it should say . . . highlight . . . cut . . . paste . . . there, perfect . . . and now, back to what I was doing . . . Blogger, right . . . paste . . . *gasp* . . . my . . . up . . . date . . . ! It's Gone!

I . . . are . . . idiot.

For the next 20 minutes, I channeled my inner geek, hoping against hope that there is a way to salvage my lost post, hoping that windows keeps the last several clipboard items in some dark recess of the registry or something. No such luck.

Feeling sickened at having spent my motivation to post for naught, I used that last bit of energy I could muster to ensure this would never again happen to me. I sought, and found, a little program that does what windows should do already: keep old clips.

In an effort to redeem the horrible waste of an evening, I present my solution, that you too might never have the same sick feeling in your gut when you mis-cut or mis-paste:

Download and install the link that says: Latest stable version: ClipX for x86

It is easy to do, and only with your help can we make my loss into our victory.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Beautiful Maddie

Maddie had a photo shoot with my sister-in-law Jennifer (Diego's wife) a couple of week's ago. This is just one of the pics she took. If you want to see more visit her website :

Jennifer did a really great job! Maddie enjoyed herself too. She liked it more than she thought she would. I think she just really enjoyed some girl time alone with Aunt Jennifer. After all, she is so cool! Thanks Jennifer, you're awesome!
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Kindergarten Sweetie

The kids school holds a dance festival every spring. The kids have been practicing and anticipating this day for over a month. The kindergarteners performed "Hot, Hot, Hot." They were all so adorable! Carina is such a cutie pie and she really knew those moves!
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Our Handsome 3rd grader

Zachary's dance was so fun. He really got into it! Those are paper bag vests that they each made. Very stylish! These are Zach's buddies. Back row: Arman (his best friend) and Hakob. Front row: Armen, Harout, and Zachary.
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Groovy Girl

The 5th grade classes each danced to a different era. Maddie's class performed "Jungle Boogie" and they all looked far out! The girl in the fro is Maddie's friend Alexis. Doesn't Maddie look so Marcia Brady? Yes, she was wearing shorts under that dress. How did girls walk around in those mini dresses?
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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Countdown to Summer

The kids have officially began the countdown this week.
They feel it's unfair that they have to go to school longer than everyone else in the country. They
started early because of Arizona, but finish later, because of the move to California. Poor babies!
We are starting a new tradition. I have done it once, years ago, but didn't keep it going.
After the kids get home from school on the last day, we are celebrating with anyone who wants
to join us by having a water balloon fight in the front yard. Hello Summer!!! Yeah!!!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Dia de la Madre

We had three Mother's Day this year. We're not used to that, but now that we have so much family nearby, it is the only way to do it. We had such a nice time seeing so many people we love. Last Sunday we got to go to Abuela's house. The kids pics are of Diego's two boys, Gavin and Renzo, and the cute boy with Strudel is Jake, my cousin's son. She is in the photo with Jennifer and I. Noelia and I hadn't seeing each other in almost 9 years. Crazy huh? She now lives in Phoenix, but was here visiting friends for the week. She actually grew up in Burbank, only a few blocks away from where we live now. Small world!
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My Portrait

My Mother's Day present from Carina was a painting of me. Carina was so excited for me to open the giant envelope. She said "Doesn't it look exactly like you?" I think she is right. I love my portrait!
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Weekday Fun

This is what we do twice a week after school. Maddie and Zach each have one game a week and Wes and Marshall play basketball and usually challenge whoever is there. Carina plays in the sand and the play structure and always makes a friend. Sometimes we bring along Hailey, who is Marshall's sister. Last week Maddie's team was short one player and Zach got to play with the fourth and fifth graders. They really had a good time being on the same team.
It's been pretty fun because it gets everyone out and moving around, even Strudel.
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Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Sallie and Aubrey's Shower

Saturday we went to a baby shower for Baby Aubrey. She is Sallie and Ray's new little girl. She is such a doll! We had fun holding her and watching her big stretches. She slept through the whole thing, so she missed out on all those cute little dresses. Our chubby blue eyed nephew Boyd and little man Garrett were also there to meet Aubrey.
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Saturday, May 2, 2009

The Golf Craze

It all started out with us discovering that the golf course close to our house( it's a professional 18 hole course) also has a smaller course ( a 9 hole) that is free for kids under 17 on the weekdays. Wes and his buddy Marshall have been going once or twice a week for over a month now. I don't have pics of Wes because I just drop him off and it would be terribly embarrassing for his mom to be there snapping photos. This has been a big deal for Wes to do something without his parents. He LOVES golfing! He is getting pretty into it and wants to take lessons and be on the High school team in just over a year. Yikes! High School? Crazy!!

On Monday I took Maddie and Lizzy (Marshall's sister) and the girls had a blast. I was impressed to see that Maddie had the terminology down and knew what she was doing. I was their caddy and just followed along.
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Zach in Action

Zachary and Maddie are playing soccer for the Girls and Boys club. They have games once a week and hold no practices. It's pretty low key and it gets them exercising and having fun an extra day a week. They are both really enjoying it. Zach is so intense. He takes his soccer very seriously. He is all over the field. He's a very fast runner and is very focused. He has scored a few goals in the three games they've played so far. Most importantly, Zach is having fun and making new friends. I just love watching him play. He's such a cute boy!
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