Sunday, June 24, 2007

We're back in town!

We spent the weekend in Chico for a family reunion with my mom's family. Most of the weekend was hosted by my cousin Alison and her husband Chad. They have a huge backyard with lots and lots of things to do for the kids.... sand box, bounce house, kiddie pool, lawn toys, swing set, etc. It was awesome!

Here is a picture of my mom and her siblings (left to right, in age order)... Tom, Barb, Becky (my mom), and Gary.
We all had so much fun catching up, visiting, and celebrating many things. The weather was great.... it got a little hot in the early evening, but overall it was very pleasant. Abigail and JT had a great time playing with their cousins. Here is a couple pictures I took of the kids....

Most of us arrived by dinner time on Friday. We had a great BBQed burger dinner. The guys got up early on Saturday morning to golf. The ladies and kids went to the park, relaxed in the backyard, jumped in their bounce house, played in the kiddie pool, drank a few wine spritzers, and got lunch ready.

After the guys arrived back to the house, we watched a slideshow with pictures from the 1960s until now. We all loved making fun of different hairstyles, clothing, sunglasses, facial hair, etc.

We had a great "surf and turf" dinner (tri-tip, salmon, and halibut) with a great corn side dish (thanks Uncle Gary!) and a chinese chicken salad. Fabulous dinner! After dinner, we attempted a family photo before some of the little guys went to bed.
We also took a girl cousin picture...

I hope everyone enjoyed the weekend as much as I did. We hope to do it every year!

Adorable couple...

You know how you can tell how much a couple loves each other just by how they look at each other? Well I had the opportunity to take engagement photos of my cousin Jacqueline and, her very soon-to-be husband, Jeff.

They live in Texas, but are getting married on July 7 in Belize. We won't be able to make it to the wedding, but I was glad I could at least meet Jeff this weekend and get to know him a little bit. And I could definitely tell that they love each other very much by being around them.... Here are a couple of my favorites...

Congratulations to Jacqueline and Jeff!!

Thursday, June 21, 2007


"Don't walk in front of me, I may not follow.
Don't walk behind me, I may not lead.
Walk beside me, and just be my friend."
-Albert Camus

The other day I was thinking about my girlfriends. I am very lucky to have different woman that play different roles in my life. I want to describe some of my girlfriends (these are in no particular order)...

There is one who has known me for almost ten years and knows exactly how I will react in all situations. She knows me better than anyone (except for maybe Andy). We've worked together, planned our weddings together, been bridesmaids for each other, been pregnant together, spent many hours scrapbooking together, and many other things. I know we will always be friends even with our busy lives.

There is one that has been in my family since I was two years, seven months, and 1 day old. She lives in San Francisco with her wonderful husband. I wish we could see each other more often, but I enjoy the time we do have together. We talk on the phone almost everyday, unless she is out of the country. She is my sister.

There is one that survived living with me for three years in college. And we still like each other! We've both gotten married (and were bridesmaids for each other) and had kids. We only see other every couple of years, but when we do, it's like old times. I wish we lived closer, but that will probably never happen. I know we will always be friends even with the distance.

There is one that I met online and shares my love of photography. I have actually never met her in person, but we have spent countless hours "chatting" online or on the phone. Who knows if we will ever meet in person, but I hope we do. She has been very supportive of my photography and helped me grow as a photographer. I hope to make it to Arkansas someday.

There are several that I went to high school with. We are all married with kids now. Sometimes we get together for a "girls night out" or a coffee chat session. We all agree that a coffee chat session is much easier on our bodies. It is so fun to remember how we used to be, but it is pretty amazing to see where we have ended up.

There are several that were my sorority sisters in college. They were my "family" when I was 500 miles from my real family. They helped me get through homesickness, boyfriend break-ups, tough classes and sorority pledging. I could not have made it through college without them. I don't get to see them very often.... thanks goodness for email!

There are several that are moms of my kids' friends. It is great when you have something in common... not to mention the fact that we see each other every day of the school year! I see them the most out of all my friends. Now that it is summer time, we don't see each other quite as often. One I saw today (and will probably become Abigail and/or JT's mother-in-law) and one I am going to Hawaii with for her wedding.

There is one who used to live here, but moved to be with her new husband. I haven't seen her since her wedding in November. I really miss our nightly walks and sushi dinners. She shares my Nascar passion and someday we will make it to a race! I hope to see her soon.

There are several that I have known my entire life, or for as long as I can remember. Some have moved away and some still live here. Some are married and some have kids. They all give me good memories of growing up. And when we get together we have lots of catching up to do.

There are several that I have met fairly recently. We may not get to see each other or talk to each other too often, but I feel lucky to have them in my life.

I feel very blessed to have different types of girlfriends in my life. To all my girlfriends, thank you. Thank you for being you. Thank you for being part of my life. Thank you for being my friend.

Swimming lessons started

On Tuesday the kids started swimming lessons. They both really enjoy them. Abigail had a big smile on her face the entire time! They each go for 30 minutes, twice a week for four weeks. Today was the second day. Abigail's class goes first. Here are some shots I took today...

Like usual with any sport, Abigail is very concerned about smiling for the camera.

The teacher gave them goggles, flippers, and a foam "noodle" to help them get used to the water.

JT was pretty antsy to get in the water while Abigail was having her class. He finally got his turn...

He wasn't crazy about floating on his back.

JT and the little girl in his class loved to splash each other...

Monday, June 18, 2007

Five beautiful kids!

I don't think I have ever seen five more beautiful kids in one place! I took some photos this morning for my friend (her three kids) and her sister-in-law (her two kids). They were so adorable. Here's my favorite shot of the day....

Can you believe that all these kids are in the same family!! Aren't they cute?

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Happy Fathers Day!

I want to wish all the fathers in my life a very happy Fathers Day....
Especially to Andy, the father of my children. He is a great Daddy and much of the time, Abigail and JT would much rather go somewhere with Daddy than stay home with Mommy! Here are a couple of pictures of Andy with the kids.... the first is on Easter 2004. Abigail was 3 1/2 and J.T. was 6 months old.

This picture was obviously taken around Christmas 2005... he is much better at being silly with them!

To my Dad for being a wonderful father all these years, even when it hasn't been easy... and for being a great Papa! Here is one of my dad and I when I was about 8 months old.

To Chet for being a great father, father-in law, and grandfather. Here is one of Chet and Andy when Andy was almost two.

We will be celebrating with our families with a BBQ tonight. Hope all the other fathers out there have a great day!

Friday, June 15, 2007

Last day of school!

Summer vacation is officially here! I know I haven't done a very good job lately of posting many pictures. Well I am going to make up for it (hopefully) with this post. Today was the last day of school for both Abigail and JT. JT doesn't normally go to school on Fridays but he did today so I could go to Abigail's field day at her school.

Here are a couple before school this morning. I didn't have time to set up the tripod so needless to say, I am not in any of them...

And then we were off to school to drop Abigail off and deliver the teachers' gifts. Then JT and I headed to his school to drop him off. JT had a great year and didn't want to be picked up today. Here he is playing on the playset for the last time this year...

Abigail had a school-wide field today where they rotated through eight different activities. She said her favorite activity was this bucket water relay.

Another one of her favorites was this activity called "Parachutes and Popsicles." First they played a couple of parachute games and then they each got to pick either a Popsicle or Drumstick.

And if I can brag a little bit (yes I have to be THAT parent for a minute).... Abigail got certificate for having perfect attendance for the year! There were only 13 kids in the school that achieved this. Congrats to Abigail!

Since we are officially into summer vacation, my "cool cats" want to wish you all a very fun summer vacation...

I am hoping to have lots of pictures to post throughout the summer.

JT and his girlfriend

Here's a quick picture of JT and his "girlfriend" Amy today.... Aren't they cute?

We are in TROUBLE!

Yesterday when Abigail and I were coming back from our shopping trip, she asked me why some people get married more than once. I told her that sometimes it takes people a while before they find the person they are meant to be with. You can imagine what came next..... She said, "But it didn't take me very long to find Nolan." What do you say to that? I tried to explain that she has plenty of time to find the person she will marry. However, in her mind, she already has! Are we in trouble or what?

Here are a couple pictures of Abigail and Nolan from the last day of school....

In any case, we can use these pictures to embarrass them when they are older....

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Let's talk about our day...

The boys' day
Today J.T. had a Fathers Day BBQ at his preschool. Andy was able to go and even talked J.T. into trying a hot dog... and he liked them! After the BBQ was over, Andy and J.T. went to work. They were able to do all kinds of fun ranch things... ride a 4-wheeler, sort cattle, doctor a cow, etc. They had a great time.

The girls' day
After Abigail got home today, she and I went to Eureka to do a little clothes shopping. She needed a few summer things, and it was a good excuse to have a girl bonding shopping trip. We were only there for about an hour but we found her some summer pajamas, three tank tops, and a pair of shorts. I got a couple things that I needed for our Hawaii trip. After our productive shopping experience, we had to get a snack. It was fun to spend some girl time with Abigail.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

It's been a great 10 years!

Tomorrow will be the 10th anniversary of my and Andy's graduation from Cal Poly University, San Luis Obispo! I can't believe it. On one hand it seems like ages ago, but it also seems like it was just yesterday. There are parts I really miss, especially seeing my friends.

I know these photos are not very good scans, but it's the best I could come up with. Here are Andy and I...

This is my roommate, Kristen, and I. We lived together for three years.... and we still like each other! We don't get to see each other too often, but when we do, it's great to catch up!

I feel like quite a bit has happened in the past ten years. Here are the ten biggest things:

  1. Andy and I were married in October 1998.

  2. We bought our first home in Loleta at that time.

  3. We were able to go to Hawaii for a week to celebrate our 1st anniversary since our honeymoon in Cancun was interrupted by Hurricane Mitch.

  4. We started our own ranching operation in 1999.

  5. Abigail was born in September 2000.

  6. We decided that I could be a stay-at-home (more like a work-at-home) mom.

  7. We moved to Fortuna in October 2002.

  8. JT was born in October 2003.

  9. I celebrated my 30th birthday, which was difficult for me. At the time, I didn't like the thought of not being in my 20s anymore. I am okay with that now.

  10. We bought out my dad's cow-calf operation in November 2006.

I am sure there are other important things, but these are the things that stick out the most. It really is amazing how fast time goes by...

Monday, June 11, 2007

Last week of school!

This is Abigail and JT's last week of school. And then it's onto summer vacation. I can't believe how fast the summer calendar is filling up already! Right away, we start swimming lessons for both kids. I hope they like them. I will post more about our summer plans soon.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

I've been tagged.... do I know my ABC's?

Okay this is how this works. One of my friend's blogs (Shelley from Arkansas) had this posted on her blog. She "tagged" me so that means I have to post it with my own answers. Here we go... here are my ABCs...

What annoys you? flaky people, the mole wrecking our yard, people that don't pay their bills on time

Are you available? as in dating? no

Birthday? March 18

Best Friend? Sara

Favorite candy? too hard to choose... love lots of things (red licorice, Twix, Kit Kat, sour gummies, etc)

Last time you cried? not sure

Do you own a dog? we have four, but Molly, our border collie, is around home the most

Drink of choice? bottled water

Essential Item? camera

How do you like your eggs? scrambled

Have you ever flown in a plane? yes (as a passenger, not as a pilot)

Do you use fly swatters? when I need to

Grilled steak or smothered in gravy? definitely grilled

Gummi bears or worms? I like both

Hair color? red

How are you? getting hungry because its almost dinner time

Favorite ice cream? vanilla

Ever ice skated? nope

Favorite jelly bean? Jelly Belly watermelon

January or July? both for different reasons

Kids? Abigail (6 1/2) and J.T. (3 1/2)

Who do you want to kill? that really is a terrible question. Although I really want the mole/gopher in our yard that is tearing up the lawn to go away...

Are you laid back? not really, but I try sometimes

Do you lie? only to protect someone's feelings

Melons or mangos? neither one

Favorite movie? Pretty Woman

Number of siblings? one sister

Night or day? both

How do you like your onions? I really don't.

Do you wish this was over? we're over halfway

Phobias? snakes

Paranoid? nope.

Favorite quote? "Everything happens for a reason..."

Are you quick to judge people? probably too much

Reason to smile? great husband and kids

Do you think you're always right? depends...

Favorite season? early fall (best weather here)

Steak eater? silly question... we raise beef cattle so I hope so!

Last time you slept in a tent? before we had kids

Tag three people: none of my friends have blogs...

Unknown fact about me: I had braces three times (third set was free because the orthodontist messed up!)

Wearing underwear? um yeah

Least favorite veggie? brussel sprouts

Last vacation? Phoenix, AZ for a wedding last November

Where do you live? Fortuna

Worst habit? being judgemental

Ever had an x-ray? not that I know of...

Own a xylophone? nope

What's one thing you yearn for? pretty happy with my life so I can't think of anything right now.

Yuckiest thing? lots of things... can't think of one specific thing

Favorite zoo animal? bears

Zodiac sign? Pisces

Friday, June 8, 2007

Teeball season is over.

Abigail's season of teeball ended this week. We were supposed to have a game on Monday but it was rained out. Our final game was on Wednesday evening. It is amazing how much all the kids have improved over the course of 5 weeks. They all seemed to have a great time and that is really what's important.

On Thursday night we had the team pizza party and awards ceremony at Round Table Pizza. Each player received a trophy with their name and the team's name (the Mariners) on it. They were all very excited to receive these. Here's a picture of Abigail and Coach Andy with her trophy...

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Here's a few more...

Here's a storyboard I put together of baby Saige...

Isn't she adorable?

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Newborn photos today

I went to visit my friends Deanna and Tony, and to take photos of their little Saige. What an experience! You would think taking newborn shots would be easy.... no way! It was so much fun, though, to be around a newborn again. You really do forget how little they are... And no this doesn't mean I am getting baby fever!

Here are a few that I took today.... The first two were taken with Saige's big sister's Emily's new saddle. So obviously this is a kid's size saddle...

We had to have a little snack break in between shots so she is quite content here....

Friday, June 1, 2007

Learning about JT

JT's preschool teacher, Miss Monica, put together this really cool memory book for the end of the year. There are a few pictures, but the greatest part is where she wrote down what he said. She did one page that has a big blue star on it. In each point of the star, she asked him something and then put down his answers. She put his name in the center. It says My name is... J.T. (it is spelled "J"-"T", he said.)

Here are the five things in the star's points....

I live in... Fortuna
I am a .... Boy
I know these letters... J.T. and A was Abigail
I can count to.... 12
When I grow up, I want to be... Cowboy (Andy said, "uh-oh, we're in trouble!").

Miss Monica also asked about some of his favorites. Here they are:

Color: blue, pink, brown
Food: strawberries
Animal: elephant
Show/movie: "Cars"

I just thought I would share some of these funny little tidbits.... I probably need to try to ask him these things every year to see how his answers change!