Sunday, August 29, 2010

Grand Tour Part 2: San Jose

(I vowed I would get these stupid pictures up before Maggie's birthday and since that as YESTERDAY, does it still count if I/we didn't celebrate it and won't celebrate it until Thursday night when we can do it with Eddie?)

After our trip to Yosemite, we drove to Eddie's parent's house in San Jose, CA. And I totally can't believe it, but we didn't take a single picture while we were there. Despite the lack of picture proof, we had a marvelous time! We talked and laughed and learned about family history and played with puppies and watched a new show and really just had a great time with our family. Thank you Haws' for hosting us and letting us hang out. Can't wait for the next time.

Eddie flew home on Monday and we drove over to my Dad's house to spend the week. We had such a wonderful time and I loved showing my kids all the little places I loved as a kid. They loved being able to go outside at any time in the day (unlike Texas where it is too hot to be outside unless you're in water.) They especially love going next door to play with Alisha and their dog Lily.

While we were there I got a chance to connect with some old friends.

Cathy Oliver Percepe (?) and I at her home in Campbell. Cathy and I grew up together from the time we were in Kindergarten. Her brother Mike and my brother Mike were good friends and they lived around the corner from us through elementary school. We would walk to school together and lived for the day we would be in the same class. Hip hip hooray for 3rd and 4th grade! Cathy always managed to get me to try fun and crazy things that I was too afraid to try. She would always laugh when I did stupid/silly things, teach me the lyrics to all the "popular" songs, play barbies in her killer barbie house for hours on end, she never judged me or made me feel stupid, and she always let me tag along with her and her cousin Samm when they got to do amazing things. (I will always remember the time we got to be "sweat girls" for the Stanford basketball game...It was very scary and fun and bouncy.)

Here we are with our sweet girls. The boys were too busy playing outside in the sand box. Thanks Cathy for an awesome trip!

I can't remember the order of my summer anymore, but one of the days we were in San Jose we got to go to my old stomping grounds at Oak Meadow park. My pediatrician used to be across the street from this park and anytime I would have to go to the doctor's my mom would bring me here with a picnic and some playtime. I think her philosophy was, you're already pulled out of school, let's make the most of it. ;)While we were here, I got to spend some time with Janet (Chiba) Williams and Melissa (Panabecker) Altknecht and their adorable children. And thanks to Alisha for coming along to help coral my wild kids.

Nathan and Andrew on top of the old airplane.

Nate, Drew and Claire on top of the old airplane. These three are like three peas in a pod. They LOVE when Janet comes over to play. ;)

Anson and Maggie bonding over some blanket time.

It was so amazing getting to meet Anson and to hold him and love on him...I can't believe he's already so much different from this picture.

My sweet brown-eyed girl.

After a hot day at the park, what better way to cool off than to go swimming in a freezing pool? Lol. The water was so cold the only one wanting to stay in the water was Andrew and I think it was because he has the most body fat out of the three kids. Regardless, they had a great time while it lasted. Here they are toweling off. Side note, if you look in the back you can kind of see Alisha holding Maggie in her arms. Alisha got in the freezing water and played with the kids and helped carry Maggie around and entertained the kids...And I love you Alisha and miss you more than words! Wanna come to college out here in Dallas and live with us? I'd be all for it. ;)

The kids had fun swimming, but they were hilarious in the bathtub. They had so much fun laughing and splashing and playing make-believe with the "little people" in the tub.

My dear, dear Lizzie came over one morning to read to my children. No, she came to play the "catch-up game" and got suckered into reading the boys current favorite book "Going on a bear hunt". She had the boys eating out of the palm of her hand.

Lizzie is soooooo good with children and they respond to her. It makes perfect sense to me that she is a school teacher and she is going to some day be the best mother in the whole wide world. I love her and look up to her and aspire to be as creative and patient and witty as her.

I am so grateful that while I was in San Jose, I got the chance to go to Happy Hollow with Connie and her girls and their children. It was a wonderful day filled with sunshine, laughs, and making new friends. I know this picture is blurry, but it's proof that I was indeed on this trip. The boys, okay Nate, had a great time on the carasol. Drew was scared to death until about half way through the ride and then he loved it too. I don't know what Maggie did...She was on the back. ;)

Scared, but would still take a time-out from crying to smile for a picture. I love this boy!

I think this was the boys favorite thing of the day...the maze! Nate wanted to stay in this maze forever! He loved that he could run around on his own and see me up above him.

Andrew loved the rock climbing wall. Here is Drew's attempt.

And Nate's.

Definitely a highlight of the trip for me was meeting up with Sara (Barnes) Thompsom and Kassie (Doubrava) Grey and getting to meet baby Cooper. We met up in downtown Los Gatos and walked over to the fountains where we sat on a bench and just got caught up. It was heavenly! Plus it was the perfect spot for two little boys to run wild in the water. I let them take off their shirts and go running through the fountains.

I think this has got to be one of my all time favorite pictures of the boys. It just captures their little personalities so well. Nate can be the silliest, happiest little boy when he wants to be. He definitely hams it up for the camera. And Drew just laughs and laughs at Nate. He loves his big brother and wants to be just like him. Overall, they had a GREAT time.

And poor Maggie just sat in her stroller. This was in the pre-crawling era and plus there wasn't really anywhere for her to sit without eating dirt or sticks or grass. She was still adorable and all smiles.

Not a very good shot, but you can see where the boys were running. We'll definitely have to come back to this spot on our next summer grand tour.

I was truly blessed in highschool to have the greatest friends...and to still call this sweet woman my friend. Kassie you are an amazing mother and I can't wait to see Cooper grow and to see you grow as his mom and the wonderful journey you're on. I'm so happy for you!

Sara, Cooper, Tracy and Kassie. Thank you girls for such an amazing afternoon in the glorious California sun. I had a great time and I can't wait to do it again soon. I'm so beyond blessed to have such wonderful friends in my life.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

My Babies

Dear Nathan, Andrew, and Maggie,

There are a million and one things I should be doing right at this moment, but nothing more important than what I need to do, and that is tell you how much I love being your mother. I'm honored and blessed. Come what may in your life, never doubt that I love you and that you are cherished and special. You are my world; and it is a world of light and laughter and joy and tears and overwhelming hope. And the love I have for you is but a small fraction of the love your Heavenly Father has for you. He allows me to have a small token of His love in my heart.

I don't know when you will read this letter...where you will be in your life, what struggles or trials you might be facing, what accomplishments you will have reached, what dreams you may hold, but know my love and never let go. I am not perfect. I make mistakes every day. And I pray that your Dad and I will have taught you through our mistakes to whom to look for forgivness. Life is hard. Really hard. And at times your heart will hurt, your faith may waiver, you will see injustice and pain as well as happiness and joy and kindness. But let me tell you that there is one source of healing and peace and it lies in the arms of our Savior. He lives. He loves you. He is my Savior...He saves me.

You won't remember your Grammy Cherry, my Mom, but it's been almost 3 years since she's been gone and I still ache to see her. And it's hard. Really hard. But I have found solace and comfort. The ache doesn't go away, it's not taken from me, but somehow I breathe through until the ache lessens and my heart is filled with peace and love and an assurance that God lives. We are not on Earth for an easy life or one filled with no turmoil, but we can do hard things. "Come what may, and love it."

Love you. I miss you already thinking about you all grown and out in the world on your own. Don't grow up too fast. And try to listen the first time. :)

Love always and forever,

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Grand Tour Part 1: Yosemite

I've uploaded entirely too many photos of our trip to Yosemite and I refuse, REFUSE, (are you listening blog spot!) to go back and put them in the right order. They loaded backwards and I'm tired. So here for your backward viewing pleasure, is the first installment of our Grand Tour 2010.

Alyson holding Maggie while I packed the car. Thank you for always being such a wonderful helper and sweetheart. We miss you Aly! And Mags, that tongue!

All the cousins/friends having a blast pushing around the "babies" in the strollers.I think that was the longest Drew sat in one location the entire time we were there.

Speaking of my Drewbie, he LOVED throwing rocks down into the water and couldn't resist telling Mom all about the witch on the path and how there were two paths she could go on. I love how imaginative my kids are and I especially love how it aides Mom in getting two very slow walkers down a mountain much quicker...Gotta love distraction techniques!

This was how Maggie spent the hike back from the waterfall. She was such a trooper on the whole crazy adventure I put her through. She was exhausted and cold and yet never cried.

Yosemite Falls and the Haws family...I think we might have a Christmas card in the making.

I love this one close up where you can see the bright grin on Maggie's face. I love my angel baby and the boys too of course. They were amazing little hikers.

This was how we started out our hike to the base of Yosemite Falls...The boys in their PJ's drawing "pipes" in the dirt. Once we had Maggie loaded up into the backpack, we had to wait another 10 minutes before the boys were ready to relinquish their sticks and drawings.

Here is Nathan on top of Sentinel Dome. The pictures don't do it justice. The sheer power and overwhelming glory of that valley is indescribable. And Nate was loving every second of it. It was a moment of glory for this little 4 year old who hiked to the top all by himself and was a little nervous at first to look around but quickly realized how awesome it truly was.

And really, this hunk of man is the reason we all made it to the top of the mountain alive. Eddie is so patient and kind and has a way of helping me adjust my expectations and attitude without telling me to. I love him. (side note for Maggie when she's older: I promise immediately following this picture I made Dad take you down off the mountain for fear of you getting hypothermia. You can see in this picture how shiny and numb your little arms and legs are. We had no idea it would be so cold up top and I promise your Daddy warmed you up right quick!)

I kind of like this one for our family Christmas card.

Maggie: The adorable, non-crying even though she is freezing and breathing rapidly baby after my heart.

Drew: the flamingo dancing, quick to laugh 2 year old after my heart.

Nate: the pine cone collecting, million questions asking 4 year old after my heart.

Ahhh...melts my heart every time I look at this photo. I have the best boys in my life.

I had to include this picture because it sums up not only the entire hike but pretty much the entire Grand Tour! I would say that we spent close to half of the entire hiking time spent on the side of the trail so one or either or both of the boys could relieve themselves of both urine and the other stuff. All I have to say is, thank goodness Eddie was there or I would have had two boys hiking back to the car in their own poop. And not just once, but I do believe it was 2 times for each kids to make a little visit to the back of the log. Nope, I take that back. Drew went 3 times and each time was amazed how much there was. And just for the record, my children are the most "peeing-y" kids ever to roam the earth...I have friends who will back me up in this. It was on this road trip that Nathan learned to pee in a bottle because Mom was not about to stop for the 20th time after having just stopped 2 minutes before and in those 2 minutes the other kids fell asleep.

I love this picture, and let me tell you why. Nathan had found "the perfect pinecone" after having ditched the first 15 "perfect pinecones" (we still have it actually...but what to do with it is the question) and Andrew was feeling left out that he didn't have anything special to hold while hiking. He didn't want to hold a pinecone because somewhere he heard or thought he heard that bees live in pinecones, so he opted for a stick. When I got out the camera to take a picture of my boys they immediately strike a pose with their treasures. Voi la.

Maggie on my back. Lovin' the do!

Nate say "cheese".

Drew say "cheeseburger".

The start of our hike to the top of Sentinel Dome. Notice the smiles on our faces? Yeah, after the 2nd mile, not really there. Although, I have to say that our two little novice hikers did a really good job. It wasn't too hard a climb for the majority of the hike and what parts there were that were hard they took it like champs. We were so happy to be together as a family in "God's Backyard" and to just enjoy the journey. Hopefully we'll get back to Yosemite before another 3 years pass.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Our Grand Tour 2010

This post will be a work in progress...but before I lose all my links, here are few videos for your viewing pleasure.

While we were at my Dad's house visiting, the boys saw the "Going on a Bear Hunt" book on the bookshelf. They LOVE this book and my Dad read it to them one night at bed time. The next day, I discovered Nathan "reading" this book to Drew. I wish I could have gotten it from beginning to end and in better light, but it's still precious to me.

We were able to spend a few days with Kristi and her kids and while we were there my boys fell in love with the barbie movies. (Thanks was a blast!) Here is Elizabeth and Drew dancing to the mermaid barbie movie (sorry, no idea what it's called). At the beginning of the clip Maggie is rockin' out to the music too.

Unfortunately, Nate and Drew got really sick at Aunt Kristi's house and we left early to come home. That meant Uncle Mike and Aunt Natalie and the boys got the shaft this trip. We rushed to get out to Yosemite on the way out and we were rushing to get home on the way back. We did however get to spend a little time in the morning before we left for El Paso to play and goof around outside. Here are the boys driving a mini-jeep for the first time.

This was taken at a McDonald's somewhere in Texas on our way home. We got stuck driving in a storm for close to 3 hours and my nerves just couldn't take it anymore. I pulled over for two screaming boys that had to go potty, one baby that needed a diaper change and a Mom that was losing her mind. You can tell we are all drenched in this video, but after a little food and some "run-around" time, happiness prevailed.

Nate swimming

This summer the boys took a 2 week swim course and in those two weeks learned how to dive from their knees (although they won't do it for us, just their teachers), how to swim with their faces in the water and how to dive for rings. Here is a short video of Nate swimming to me and Drew showing off his mad diving skills. ;)

Eddie's Birthday Party

I really need to be better about documenting major family events as soon as they occur, rather than waiting two months...Maybe then I'll have more memories to share. Eddie celebrated his 30th birthday on June 17th and I had kind of last minute decided to throw him a surprise birthday party. His actual birthday was on a Thursday and I decided to throw him a party Friday night. Oh but not just any party, an 80's themed party. Some day I hope to have discretionary funds to spend on a killer party; but until that time, we'll make do with slap bracelets, jelly bracelets, 80's music and movie trivia, awesome prom back drops, hand made posters (thanks M and J!) and totally wicked awesome friends that would come dressed up and partake in the festivities. I wish I had gotten more pictures of the actual par-tay but you can go check out Jeanette's Facebook page for more. ;) We played "The Dance Family Game: 80's Style" and laughed and reminicsed about our childhood, watched parts of "Ferris Bueller's Day Off", played with Eddie's new remote control helicopter, ate pizza and snacks and for his birthday cake (he doesn't like cake) we did a strawberry short cake truffle.

I think my brother Mike owned this very shirt...but proud to say, never, never, never these pants.

You can't see it, but the back of my shirt has a heart cut out.

J & M were gracious enough to let us use their house for the party and to help me dupe Eddie into thinking we were just doing a double date. (Side note: when planning a suprise party last minute, it helps to cry a lot and make your husband think you failed in planning him a suprise party for his birthday but in reality you're having it the next day. But the tears have to be real and convincing so that when it's obvious something is going on he still won't have any hope alive that you're doing something special for him.)

A & J. A had the quincessential boots...Loved it!

M & J. I don't know how she did it, but M had the perfect lipstick for the occasion!

Pregnant and still the life of the party! J & N.

M & M. truly the best authentic 80's outfit M! this actually was her mom's workout gear from the 80's.