Tuesday, October 31, 2006

"I Want Candy" - Halloween 2006

Well, I have never really been a fan of Halloween, but I have to say that the last three years (since having Caiden and going over to my mother-in-law and Jim's house) has been so much fun. I like this little tradition that we have started. This is the 3rd year in a row that we have gone over to Papa Jim's and Grandma Sue's (otherwise known as the in-laws house) to pass out some Mulled Spiced Cider to the adults, and candy to all of the trick or treaters. We had a blast. Caiden even broke out in song (as you can tell by the video) inspired by a Halloween toy that Gigi gave him. We ate pizza, laughed, and I even got a little work done (I had to take a Personality test for my director...wonder if I passed...it asked the strangest questions..."Do I feel my parents love me?", "Do I want to be a scuba diver"). I can't wait for next Halloween...Dave and I already have our costumes planned out. He's going to be a firefighter (big stretch I know), I'm going to be a victim, and Flash our dalmation is going to be the Fire Dog.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Pumpkin Carving - Three Bonney Pumpkins

I was SO excited to do pumpkin carving this year. Last year, Caiden was a bit too young, and he had this thing about not getting his hands gooey. This year was a little different. He's Mr. Independence (wonder where he gets THAT from), and has to do EVERYTHING himself. We each made a pumpkin. Dave's is the ghoul looking one, mine is the scared face (Caiden and I worked on this together), and then Caiden is the mini one. If you look closely there is an outline of bats on Caiden's pumpkin. We had a blast...and as you can see Caiden even got his hands dirty this time...he's growing up way to fast!

Sunday, October 29, 2006

The Halloween unveiling...A Turtle

Yes, you heard me right. A Turtle. Caiden is going to be a turtle for Halloween. Before I get the random comments...the following are my excuses...I mean, my defense:
1. I have been VERY busy lately...when was I supposed to go Costume shopping?
2. I'm not a big fan of Halloween
3. When I did go shopping, I didn't like the costumes they had for little boys...they looked like PJ's.
4. They didn't have a good selection. (I guess it's similar to #3, but I felt I needed a 4th)

Please choose the best excuse...um, I mean, defense that suits your particular argument(aka random comment).

So, my son is going to be a turtle. I guess it's fitting because he has been working very hard to properly sign turtle (sign language - see earlier video posting). Personally, I haven't seen very many yellow turtles, and the shell is really the only clue that he IS a turtle, but isn't he the cutest thing in the costume? Of course, he could wear a paper bag, and I'd be a proud mama.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

We FINALLY got the Shutters!

So for those of you who didn't know...we DID actually order shutters. We ordered them on July 23rd to be exact, and JUST got them today after much calling and complaining on the part of both myself and Dave (mostly me) :)

Basically, we were told they would take 8-10 weeks, and we put down a deposit (half of the money), and we never heard from the company again. I have been calling incessantly for the past month asking about them (I'm sure I am their FAVORITE person). I finally told Jackie (the lady I was dealing with) that I felt that they had stolen our money and that we were NEVER going to get our shutters. They constantly promised to call me back, but never did. FINALLY, after being less than polite on the phone, Jackie set an appointment for today. It took them about 2 hours, and I think they look great! But don't take my word for it - see for yourself. Oh, AND we got a discount, but only after I threatened to go out of my way to tell people not to use their company. Since we live in a brand new community and people are STILL moving in...this threat held a lot of weight. :)

Sunday, October 29, 2006

It's a jungle out there...but I tamed it :)

With the Rock people working on the pool, I have not been able to mow the yard because they had big piles of sand on our driveway and grass (or as Caiden called it "big pile o' dirt"). It's been driving me CRAZY!!! I came home the other day, and the sand was gone, so right before Dave and I met with the concrete people, I decided to mow!

I'm sure the neighbors appreciate it. I mean, they could have lost their kids in our lawn...it was so long. Anyway, I think it looks MUCH better.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Pool Update - Rocks NEARLY complete

The rocks are nearly complete. They just need to add the color. We are thinking a gray rock...I want the whole natural setting. We met with the concrete people to discuss textures and colorings. We didn't want to commit to a color with the rock guys until we had picked a color and texture for the concrete.

View of the Pool - couldn't get the whole thing in though

A view of the pool from the Jacuzzi

This is the reef that we had built. If you look closely you can see a whole for an umbrella. We thought Flash (the dalmation) would love this. He doesn't have the webbed feet like Hunter, and panicks a bit when he swims, but LOVES the water.

The Jacuzzi - pretty standard

View of the jacuzzi from the other side (imagine walking out of the house...this is what you would see). That way the jacuzzi is a bit more private).

David's pride and joy...the Rock Slide

And this is the dry grotto. The rock guys said that a dry grotto would be better than the wet one, so here it is. I have been told that you can even put candles in here. Could be fun :)

Sunday, October 29, 2006

California Snow!

For those of you who are not in Cali, I thought I would introduce you to California Snow. That's right! It's snows in Southern California...just without the cold temperatures. Well...sort of. :P

Due to all of the fires that are somewhat near the house, we have had a bunch of soot covering all of our cars. It's pretty gross. Everytime you open your car door, it flies around and sticks to your clothes.

When I was driving to work on Friday, the sky looked the same color as the mountains around me...brown. You almost wanted to hold your breath until you got to somewhere that has blue sky. The problem is that you would pass out by the time you even saw a bit of grey sky. It's pretty disgusting...makes you want to go recycle or something to save the Ozone layer.

Hopefully, the fires will be out soon, and the California snow will let up a bit. See...and you guys in Boston thought YOU had all the fun! :)

Friday, October 27, 2006

Teaching and Inspiring Creativity

As many of you know, Caiden and I are ALWAYS on the road. The above is a picture of us driving to work and school this morning. During the long car ride, we often listen to what Caiden affectionately named "Caiden's song" AKA Veggie Tales, sing at the top of our lungs, while talking about our surroundings.

As any good mom, I believe that breakfast is a very important meal for a growing boy. Notice the nutritious breakfast that I have provided. (No, it's not a corn dog...it's a pancake - and a chocolate chip one at that...with sausage in the middle). Ok, so today was not the best example of a healthy breakfast, but if you were to look down you would see a nice, tall glass of milk for Caiden. See, I have it right...sometimes :P

Anyways, so oftentimes I am struck with a guilty conscience. Am I in the car too much with Caiden? Did I make the right decision to hike 2 hours or more one way in the car just to live in a nice house surrounded by family in California? What was I thinking agreeing to drive so much - I don't like traffic?

All of these things go through my mind on any given day...and then something like the below happens, and I am struck with the realization that I am doing just fine. You see, although we have a long drive, I am teaching my son patience (because you are going to get to your destination when traffic allows you to, flexibility (I'll move over a smidge so this very annoying motorcyclist can squeeze through the lane that he shouldn't be using), and above all...creativity! Yeah, you heard me right. Creativity. After all, whose kid is bored enough that they take their socks and shoes off and make hand puppets out of their socks and thoroughly enjoys himself? That's right...my kid does. I'm a good mom for driving 4 hours a day with Caiden. I am teaching him lifelong values as well as developing his artistic side. Well, that's my story, and I'm sticking to it! :)

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Happy Birthday Mimi...you will always be in my heart.

My Mimi's birthday was Friday, October 20th. I'd tell you the date, but she'd kill me. Plus, I don't think I even know it. It was always a top clearance kind of secret in our family. :) I know that I'm a few days late in posting this, but to be honest I wasn't sure if I should. I didn't want to make people sad, and it's highly personal to me. For those of you who don't know, Mimi was my grandmother. She passed on a few years back, but my heart has never healed. I have been a bit depressed lately, and have tried hard to lock it away and hide it, but it's not working. So, I thought I would try a little therapy on myself. After all, I WAS a pyschology major :)

I cannot really put into words what Mimi meant to me. I have no idea to show you or express to you what an incredible person Mimi was - Just think of the most amazing person (and I'm sure you are all thinking of women...I mean I did say the MOST amazing person), and then multiply that by 100...that's my Mimi.

I wrote the following eulogy as I sat by Mimi's bedside through her last few days with us. You don't have to read it. If it makes you sad, then skip to the cutesy pictures I posted just a few moments ago. However, if you want to know a little about the most amazing women that I have ever met then read on a little. Hopefully, by sharing a little with you, it will lessen the sadness that I have been feeling.

Have you ever looked into a darkened sky and found one lone star shining brightly in the sky? The strength of this star is so intense that light radiates from every inch – with enough light to guide you and help you find your way back home when you may feel lost or misguided.

The brilliant star encompassing my life is Mimi, and she not only guided me back home, but she taught me how to shine! Mimi has this uncanny way of making the worst of times seem like nothing more than a simple inconvenience with a simple raise of her eyebrow and a smile. She is the source of all of my creativity, as we sat countless hours in her house making crafts and perusing her collection of photo albums. I never tired of the stories and pictures, for as you may know, Mimi has lived a very exciting life!!

It’s hard, given the opportunity, to document a lifetime of memories, laughter, support, inspiration, and meaning behind the strength and power that Mimi’s life has had on my own. She has influenced me and opened my mind and my eyes in so many ways. No matter how much I try to convey my exact thoughts and feelings regarding the impact that Mimi’s life has had on my own, I find myself at a loss to do so.

If you could be me for a moment, living in my heart and my mind you would see not only a loving and dedicated grandmother who supports and loves her grandchild… you would see two friends watching “Golden Girls” together, trying on party dresses and dancing on Mimi’s dance floor, hanging out at the movies, or going on vacations together…

You would see a confidant helping me to survive the tough times, reveling in the good times; someone who listens to me without judgment or pretense with the purest of intentions…

You would see a teacher guiding me down my correct path in life all the while allowing me to choose my own path; never pushing or prodding me in a particular direction…

You would see two women gossiping about boys and life…

You would see a shrewd businesswoman imparting her knowledge, wisdom, and work ethic to a younger version of herself. Mimi was a successful pioneer of her field defying odds by becoming the first female title representative in her area, and top producer at that! Is there any wonder why I strive for the same type of excellence in my life –I have some large shoes to fill…

You would also see a historian providing me with a glimpse into the past, introducing me to past relatives and the richness, beauty, quirkiness and history that makes up our family…

But most of all, if you look deep within my heart and mind you would see a little girl who gazes lovingly at her grandmother with such love, admiration and incredible respect. A little girl who wants to grow up to be “exactly like her Mimi”.

Mimi, I love you so completely! Thank you for the many wonderful memories that you have given me. I am so fortunate to have had you in my life. And although you may no longer walk this Earth, you will live in my heart and my mind forever.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Colorado Dreams....Family Realities!

Boy, am I thankful that we didn't move to Colorado. Is it because I don't like snow, green trees, beautiful blue skies? Are you kidding me...I would LOVE that! It's because of moments like below. Here are a few pictures of a few family gatherings we have had as of late.