Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Family

Okay, so it's been pretty much forever since I've posted. No excuses. But here we are, wishing you a Merry Christmas and happy 2010!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Free Time

So, here in no particular order, I show you what we have been doing for the past 6 weeks.

Notice how it doesn't involve any cleaning.

This is me supervising that deck change. We've had one unfortunate incident and let me just say that no one really wants a repeat of that hiney flashing! Can't quite convince them to do their changing in a slightly more private place. Notice that a cousin of the female persuasion is wondering why Aunt Lori doesn't get control of the situation and make her boys change at home. Aunt Lori is wondering why she let Grandpa take such an unflattering picture of her and where is the local Weight Watchers because it's obvious she needs to go back.

Remember, I said they were in no particular order. That's code talk for "I'm too lazy to go upstairs and write this post on the computer that allows me to drag photos where I want them."

Now, didn't Gramps do a great job with these pictures? I would take awesome pictures too, if only....

Remember that really cool long lens I got for my birthday last year? I know, I know. I'm still cryin' in my virtual beer that I lost my camera bag.

Meanwhile, the boys made the most of the extra month of summer vacation they got this year, thanks to California schools starting in September as opposed to the beginning of August. We gloat now, but we'll be moaning next June when all our Arizona friends finish a month before we do.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Settling In

Heading west...

What should have taken about 6 hours stretched into 9. It was Annika's first road trip as a driver. Needless to say, we stopped a lot. Here she is multi-tasking as the official caravan photographer. I had to call her up more than once and ask her to get off my tail. I think she was afraid I was going to ditch her somewhere out in the desert. Hmmm...maybe we've threatened the kids with that line a few too many times!

Our new casa in Dana Point

In the absence of having my own camera (yep, still missing) I'm going to try to explain the layout of the house using Annika's pictures. It's a bit confusing, but here goes. This is the gate you walk in as you enter the house. In this photo we're looking back toward the street. The garage is on the left and the casita (Annika's room) is on the right.

Okay, stay in the same spot but turn around. Now you are facing the front door.

Still standing in relatively the same place, look to your right. That's the entry to the kitchen, which you can also access from the garage. The boxes are for ambience.

Entering the front door, you see the living room, as well as a few more boxes.

This is the view from the stair landing.

I don't have pictures of all the bedrooms. Well, I do, but they're boring. As are the pictures of the bathrooms.

Here is the back patio. We put the basketball hoop here just for the time being, because we can't put it in front of the garage as per the HOA. It is nonfunctional in this location also, since that wall you see behind it isn't actually a wall, but in reality the next door neighbor's house. Gotta love those California lots where they pack the houses in tight!

Another picture of the patio and our view...awesome!

Unpacking the kitchen...not so awesome.

And there you have it. We'll be here for about 4 months while we try to sell our Arizona home and find a permanent place to settle here.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

We're Here!

I once read a blog where the mom blogger (who had 5 kids by the way) moved cross country. Not such a big deal, until I tell you that she posted every day more than once throughout the whole move. She didn't miss a beat! I'm baffled and comfuzzled as to how this is even humanly possible.

I, on the other hand, am a complete wreck. Boxes are still littering every room, the whole house smells like cardboard, and the kitchen is set up in the most illogical traffic pattern imaginable. To top it all off, certain key items have not been located, the most worrisome being my camera bag and all its cool contents. I'm kicking myself that we didn't leave the camera in the shop in Scottsdale, because then I would know where it is, but no, we thought we would take it in for service once we got relocated. Well, I guess we will take it in for service, when we find it.

Meanwhile, we continue to unpack, spend time at the beach, and explore our new community.

By the way, now that we no longer live in Scottsdale I'm not worried about posting the following information. I wanted to post it earlier but, you know, internet safety and all. I wouldn't want to wake up murdered in my bed after all.

Here's my old house. We're still trying to sell or lease it. Any takers?

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Graduation, parts 3 and 4

A couple of days ago, I realized that I never finished showing off the graduates in the family. This whole moving thing is really throwing me for a loop!

Graduation, Part the Third

Tait didn't actually graduate, per se, but he did "move up" from 8th grade and so we attended a "moving up" ceremony for him. If you're wondering why there are no pictures of this event, that would be because 8th grade boys (well the one that lives at this house anyway) have a tendency to put their hands in front of their faces in every. single. picture. This sort of behavior does not make a blogging mother happy, which I think is the whole idea if you ask said 8th grader.

He does come out from behind the hand on occasion to bug his sister. Here he is at the graduation dinner doing his best.
Graduation, Part the Fourth
High school graduation followed a different pattern this year, and boy are we ever grateful! Let me just say two words about it: Air Conditioning.
Yes, air conditioning is a glorious thing.

In the past we have sweltered on the outdoor bleachers, wishing for the sun to go down just a little bit faster, hoping for the tiniest bit of a breeze, and praying that a monsoon won't sweep through and drench us. This year, as you might have surmised from the above photos, graduation was held in the Wells Fargo Arena. Yes, we were packed in like sardines and it was death for the long-legged folk in our crowd, but that inconvenience pales in comparison to the beauty that is air conditioning.
Not to mention the big screen.

Not a bad seat in the house.

Did I happen to mention that it was air conditioned?
I love me some air conditioning.

Finding the graduate after the festivities was a bit of challenge. We are used to just rushing the football field, after all, but eventually we found her and took all the obligatory after shots before she was whisked away to grad night.

With the conclusion of this event, we are exactly halfway finished getting our kids through high school. Three down, three to go!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Beat the Heat

Supposed to be 113 F today.

Which means one thing.

Being outside is not really an option.

Unless it involves water.

(This beautiful pool belongs to our friends, the Webbs.)

Thursday, July 9, 2009


I am thoroughly enchanted by amigurumis these days, so I decided it was time to put my thinking cap on and learn how to crochet so I could make a little ami for myself. How hard could it be?

This is my tale.

First, let me tell you that once upon a time when I was in the third grade I knew how to knit. My mom gave me gigantic lime green wooden knitting needles and super chunky hot pink yarn. Did I mention that this was in the 60's? We took a road trip from Southern California to my grandma's house in Northern California, which is about a 12-hour drive. I would knit up all my yarn, then unravel it and knit it up again. I was proficient. And that is the extent of my expertise. I never really made anything to speak of; I just kept knitting and unraveling, knitting and unravelling. It was kind of addictive, I think.

Fast forward a few years. I'm a young mom. My friend is learning how to knit. She keeps knitting up a test swatch, counting stitches, and talking about tension and gauge. I'm baffled and astounded at the amount of work you have to put in before you can even begin. Looks too hard for me.

I move to Arizona. Theoretically, it's too hot to knit or sew. But I don't know anyone here, so I crank up the AC (or crank it down, depending on how you look at it) and sew a quilt. A flannel one. It's one of my most favorite things I have ever made. Finally, I make a friend. She knits socks and tries to convert me into a knitter, but I am strong and resist. I'm a quilter, I tell her. I want to focus on getting better, not flit from craft to craft. Besides, I have this image in my mind of the sweater my mom made for my dad back in the green needles-pink yarn days. It was gigantically huge, probably would have fit mom and dad together at the same time. I know that tension and gauge matter and that I don't have the patience for it.

Two days ago: Ah, but that's knitting and I want to learn to crochet. It's gotta be easier. It only has one "needle." I know I said I was going to stick to one craft, but one little foray wouldn't be so bad, would it? Besides, I just recently learned that acquiring new skills thwarts dementia, and I'm all about not being demented. So I do what any self-respecting 21st century crafter does--I turn to youtube. Yes! There is a great series that shows exactly how to make an amigurumi. The girl on the monitor actually makes it look simple and almost effortless. I decide to follow along.

And therein, I encounter my first obstacle. No matter how hard I try, I can't keep up, even though she has the patience of Job, and crochets very slowly. I'm stuck at the slip knot that you're supposed to start with. Half the time it turns into a slip knot and half the time it just slips off with no knot. I feel like an idiot.

Maybe I should just throw in this next little piece of information. If you're like me you'll totally understand my frustration. If you're not, I'm not sure I can fully express just how difficult my life can be. I'm....




Did you know we have a shorter life expectancy? Yeah, comes from living in a world bent on frustrating us, trying to conform us into something we are not. And don't even get me started on the topic of scissors. I'll just save that rant for another post!

Okay, back to crocheting the youtube way. I did another search and found someone who explained and demonstrated in slow motion (that was key) how to do a variety of stitches, including a slip knot, left-handed. And no, you silly right-handers, I know what you're thinking and I'll just tell you right now that I couldn't have just done it right-handed. That would be nigh to impossible. It would be like me telling you to just do it with your toes.

Well, the left-handed teacher got me on the right track, so after a little practice I took off. Here is my first attempt. His name is Happi.

I know the tension is off-kilter and he's got a few little problems, but overall I'm pleased. And while he's not quite suitable for giving, I'm sure he'll be perfectly content to live happily at my house. His name is Happi, after all.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Beach and Babe

We spent last weekend in San Diego enjoying the cool coastal weather. Such a nice change from the Arizona heat! The boys had a swim meet (no picture, sorry, the camera is on the fritz), then we spent a little time on Imperial Beach, followed up with our traditional fish and chips meal on the end of the pier.

The day was a little drizzly, but that just made parking easier! Dad and I huddled in the shelter of some rocks while the boys got their saltwater fix.

Later that evening witnessed the birth of this little cutie. She came out the next day to have her picture made (as my grandma used to say).

(Just a little side note: you can tell we're in San Diego because the geraniums are surviving. Here in Phoenix they're all dried up!)
*Doll pattern available at Bowls-n-Annies.

*Pictures courtesy of Grandpa Sam (thanks dad!)

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Graduation Season, parts 1 and 2

(Biola Bell Tower)

Part, the First
The day started for us with a mad dash to California. The high school kids were supposed to be at school taking their finals, but we scrambled around and got them excused for the day (no small feat) so we could make it to graduation on time. Well, we just barely made it! We changed into nicer clothes in the car, then high tailed it over to the auditorium just in time to be seated. I'm not kidding you when I tell you we sat in the back row. And let me just add that taking pictures indoors with a zoom does not lead to the most quality photos. Or at least that's my excuse....

Here are some shots inside Sutherland Hall, where the Torrey Honors Institute graduation took place.
Part of the ceremony included what we affectionately called "The Bible Bonking."

Signing the book of membership

Geoff and Drew, just a couple of Torrey grads

Geoff, Johnny, Greg, and Drew

Part, the Second
The next day was the graduation ceremony for the general population of Biola.

Biola has a tradition of honoring graduates on the 50th anniversary of graduation. Guess which old geezer graduated from Biola in 1959? Yuppers, good old Gramps. Not only was he honored at the ceremony, but the university also reserved fantastic seats for the entire family!

Here are the two grads--old and new.

We didn't know who all of Dad's graduating class would show up, but it turned out to be a special day because we got to share it with Dad's long time friend, Buck Buchanan. Get this--they went to school together from 6th grade all the way through college and theological seminary.

Finally the big kid gets his moment with the president!

And, of course, after it is all over, little brothers have to try on the gear and dream of their own day in the sun.

Here is a video Dad put together chronicling the special day: