Monday, July 30, 2007

I survived the girls weekend

I made it back safely yesterday from our girls weekend. We were able to use my brother-in-law's family's vineyard ranch which is totally gorgeous. We had 11 girls and two newborns for the weekend. Not everyone was there at the same time though. Both babies that were there were perfect!

Here's adorable baby Lilly...

We had lunch, relaxed by the pool, chatted about all kinds of things, had some white wine spritzers, cooled off in the very chilly pool, and had a late dinner. We weren't too wild.... I think we were in bed by 11 pm!

On Saturday morning, a couple girls left and four more arrived. We went wine tasting at three different wineries, which were all gorgeous! After this we headed back to the house, had lunch, and spent the afternoon by the pool.

Here's our group from Saturday...

And beautiful baby Katelyn...

I finally got to be in a photo!

We took a walk up the hill into the vineyards and took this photo with my tripod overlooking the Dry Creek Valley of Healdsburg....

Overall it was a great weekend. Mary (my sister) did a fabulous job coordinating and bringing all the food. We had great meals all weekend.... it seemed like all we did was eat! And thanks to Jen for doing the grilling! It was a great getaway for me....

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Girls getaway weekend!

Wine country, here we come! Tomorrow I leave for our 3rd annual girls weekend in Healdsburg. I can't wait. It will be a relaxing, much needed break! Andy will be home holding down the fort (and probably working all weekend) while the kids stay with my parents.

It started in 2005 as Mary's (my sister's) bachelorette weekend. We didn't do any of the normal crazy bachelorette type activities. We relaxed, we had a glass of wine or two, we swam, we went wine tasting, and we chatted! Last year was just as wonderful. This year's activities will be pretty similar....

Here's a couple pictures of us at the bachelorette weekend.

Mary and I (do you think we look alike?)

The whole group, at one of our wine tasting stops (by the way, in case you can't find me, I am the second one from the right... I don't wear my hair down very often!).

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


Yesterday morning, Andy and I promised the kids that if they were good all day then we could make s'mores after dinner. They tried really hard all day...

J.T. didn't like to have sticky marshmallow all over him. He liked the chocolate the best....

Abigail really liked the s'mores... even when some of the marshmallow fell out of hers onto her feet!

What is this? There is some proof that Abigail and J.T. do have a mommy. Yes, I am actually in a picture!

Monday, July 23, 2007

First rodeo for Abigail and J.T.

Yesterday we spent all afternoon at the Fortuna Rodeo. It was the first time the kids had been to a rodeo. They both seemed to enjoy it. It was really hot, though. We are not used to really warm weather around here. I bet it was at least 85-90 at the rodeo grounds. We were able to see some friends that we hadn't seen much this summer so that was fun for the kids. They especially loved sitting in the grandstands with Nolan, Caleb and Amy. It was a long day, though. It was nice to relax once we got home.

Of course J.T. didn't have a nap yesterday so he was really tired when we got home.

They look so cute and peaceful when they are asleep.... (his hair isn't really curly... he was just all sweaty!).

Sunday, July 22, 2007

It's RODEO time in Fortuna!

Rodeo Week in Fortuna is a really big deal. There are events every evening during the week, a parade on Saturday, a BBQ and dance on Saturday night, and rodeo performances on Saturday and Sunday. I took the kids to the parade yesterday and it was HOT! It wasn't just hot, it was so humid! I think it was in the mid 80's which is practically a heat wave for here.

At the parade the kids and I sat with Joy, Caleb, Cole, my mom, Andy's mom, and Andy's grandma Jane. The kids had a great time watching everyone go by, but they especially loved the floats that threw out candy. We came home with a gallon size ziploc bag full of stuff! Here's a shot of the kids (somewhat) patiently waiting for the parade to start...

None of the kids liked the fire truck or police car sirens. Here's J.T.'s solution...

There were quite a few people we knew that participated in the parade. This is our friend Tony and his dad, Tony, with their team of horses. Normally they have a cover on the wagon, but maybe they decided it was just too hot for that!

This is Andy's uncle Joe and his grandson Blue. J.T. sure was excited to see a John Deere coming down the road!

Last night we went to the BBQ and dance at the park/rodeo grounds. The kids came with us to the BBQ and then went home with my parents. Thanks Mom and Dad! It was pretty cute when they left... off they went, through the park, pulling their suitcases and carrying their Doodle Bears. I wish I would've had my camera...

Andy and I had a good time at the dance. I think we are getting old though... the dance was too hot, the music was too loud, and we left before it was over! We made it home safely, though. Thanks Christina for the ride home!

Today we are taking the kids to the rodeo. We haven't been in so long. I am pretty sure it was when I was pregnant with Abigail (in 2000) that we went last. Wow, that's hard to believe!

Friday, July 20, 2007

The beach was WINDY!

The kids and I went out to the beach in Ferndale today to try to get some photos of them. We didn't have a whole lot of luck. I thought it would be a pretty good day for photos because the weather was warmish (70 degrees), but not overly sunny. We still had major squinting problems and it was very WINDY (you can tell by Abigail's hair blowing everywhere)!

I am not terribly excited about any of the photos (in terms of portraits), but they are cute snapshots. Here's my favorites...

J.T. was being a stinker and would either make a funny face or keep his eyes closed. And to think he used to be my more cooperative model. Oh well... we will try again another day!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

What goes around, comes around...

I am a firm believer in the saying, "What goes around, comes around." And there is never a better example than when you have a child that acts JUST LIKE YOU! Unfortunately some of the qualities that I don't like about myself, she also has. Andy says that my least favorite qualities are just a little more polished than Abigail's. He also says that he loves that I have these qualities because that's what makes me who I am.

I would imagine that my parents have a good laugh about this "what goes around, comes around" irony quite often. They don't even have to do anything to show me what a brat I used to be... there is a little girl living in my house that does it for them!

I know the reason we butt heads so much, is because we are so alike. I can't count the number of times Andy has said to me, "You have no idea what it's like to live with two of you!"

My 100th post!

Just wanted to quickly say thanks to all of you that read my blog. I can't believe that since I started this in January of this year, that I have posted 100 times! I really appreciate you taking the time to keep up on what's going on in the Albin household! Thanks...

Penny scramble!

Have you been to a penny scramble? I heard someone say last night, you haven't really experienced Fortuna, if you have been to the penny scramble! It's Rodeo Week here in Fortuna. With that comes nightly activities all week, and the rodeo on Saturday and Sunday.

Last night was the penny scramble! For those of you that don't know, a whole bunch of kids are herded into one small area and a thousand dollars worth of pennies are tossed on the ground. You can imagine what happens next! Mass chaos, of course! Thank goodness they do it in age groups. J.T.'s age group went first. I am pretty sure he had a good time. Here he is busy at work, collecting as many pennies as he could...

Abigail had to wait through J.T.'s age group plus the 4-5 age group. When she finally got her turn, she got her share of pennies too.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Four generations

On Sunday night we had a pizza dinner here for all the kids' grandparents that were in town. Andy's mom and step-dad are on a trip so they missed it. My dad also brought my Grandpa John. Here's a quick picture we took of the guys.... four generations.

From left to right, my Grandpa John, J.T., Andy, (Andy's dad) Chet, and (my dad) Walt.

Weddings on the brain...

Abigail has always loved weddings. This past month has been no different. When we got back from Hawaii, she wanted to know all about, and see pictures of, Clint and Christina's wedding. She was excited she was able to come to the reception we had over the weekend.

The next day, when the rest of us were cleaning up, Abigail and Caleb (Clint's nephew), decided to dress up and play "wedding." Here's a picture of the event...

Aren't they cute? Doesn't Caleb look about as happy as any "groom" during his wedding photos?

Monday, July 16, 2007

Great wedding reception!

Sorry I haven't posted lately, but last week we were busy getting ready to host a wedding reception for our friends Clint and Christina (the couple who's wedding we attended in Hawaii). We held the reception in our backyard on Saturday. We spent most of Friday and Saturday decorating and setting up. The reception had a luau theme, for obvious reasons.

I am not sure exactly how many people were there, but I would guess between 200 and 250. Thanks to our neighbor Tami for letting us use her field for parking.

The newlyweds...

We had lots of great food at the party. Clint's mom, Kelly, made a fabulous pot of beans that was enjoyed by all! Clint used his own organic, home-grown brisket, which was wonderful. Check out his website if this photo makes you hungry and makes you want to get some ....

The appetizers and salads were prepared by Hot Brew in Fortuna and they were a huge hit, especially their famous chinese chicken salad (a personal favorite of mine)!

The beautiful cake was made by Ray's in Fortuna. I think everyone enjoyed the pink champagne cake with fresh strawberries and cream in the middle.

The happy couple keeping up with the cake feeding tradition...

A few members of Clint's family...

To get this photo I had to climb up on the kids' swingset, which I am sure was quite a sight...

A few members of Christina's family helping out behind the bar...

It seemed like everyone had a great time at the party. I know that Andy and I did. We feel honored that Clint and Christina let us do this.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

I've been tagged!

I have been "tagged" by my friend Shelley in Arkansas. I have to tell you eight random facts about myself...

1. I was so mean to my sister when we were growing up that I am surprised she still speaks to me. I am very glad she does because she is one of my best friends.
2. I sucked my thumb until I was nine years old!
3. I had three sets of braces... I wonder why! :) (see #2)
4. When I moved away to college, I gained 25 pounds. Good thing that I lost it all, plus some!
5. I sleep on the left side of the bed (if you are facing it).
6. My mood is greatly improved if things are neat and orderly in my house.
7. When I was a freshman in high school, I tried out for JV volleyball and didn't make it. That was my only attempt at school sports.
8. My first car was a 1978 VW Rabbit.

Now I get to "tag" some of my friends. Since Amanda is the only one with a blog, I tag her and anyone else that would like to join in!

Saturday, July 7, 2007

What I learned while traveling...

Here are a few things I learned while on our trip to Hawaii:

1. Upgrading to first class was probably a mistake because now I am spoiled and never want to fly in coach again.

2. On a related note, I REALLY like being handed a glass of champagne when I sit down on the airplane.

3. Everything always takes longer than you think it will (picking up luggage, getting a rental car, getting to your hotel, etc.). One should just expect things to take longer and not get stressed out!

4. When there is a time difference (Hawaii is three hours behind California), your body will finally be adjusted on the day you leave to go home.

5. Being on vacation with friends is a whole different experience, but in a good way. Sometimes Andy and I don't like to do all the same things on vacation... it was nice to have others that like to do some of the same things I do.

6. At home, I make my bed everyday. While on vacation, I LOVE the fact that someone else makes the bed!

7. A paper towel can be an adequate substitute for a coffee filter, in a pinch. (Andy's idea.)

8. Tropical drinks just taste better with a view of the ocean.

9. Eating a cheeseburger for breakfast is acceptable... especially if it's accompanied by a lava flow.

10. There is a different feeling to a tropical wedding. There is nothing like the sounds of the ocean, the smell of tropical flowers, and the rustle of the palm trees. It just makes it that much more romantic.

11. Photos cannot do justice to the beauty of what we saw... the ocean is a more beautiful color of blue... the sunsets are more vibrant... the flowers are more colorful.

12. Double bag a can of aerosol sunscreen. I had three almost full cans of sunscreen that leaked/sprayed all over the inside of my suitcase. When I got home, they were totally empty.

13. Sometimes it really is too foggy to land in Humboldt County. It's okay (actually a lot of fun) to spend an extra night in San Francisco. When you do arrive home and the pilot says, "Wow, that was close," you know that you are lucky to be on the ground safely.

14. Seeing a San Francisco sunrise out of a huge picture window is awesome!

15. Expect things to be a little chaotic when you return home. It takes some time to unpack, do laundry, pay bills, etc. Things will return to normal sooner than you expect.

16. Enjoying the memories and photos of a vacation is almost as much fun as the vacation itself!

Can't wait for the next one....


This is a little challenge to those of you that read this.... please post a comment in the comment section. There is one person that posts comments regularly, but other than that, I have no idea who reads this. I am just a little curious. Just humor me, please!!! Thanks so much. All you have to do is register with your email address and a password. Thanks.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007


**Here's the journal I kept when we were in Hawaii. I added the photos when we got home**

Well we made it to Hawaii. We are on the island of Maui. Andy and I have been here before but it's been over five years. We are here for our friends', Clint and Christina's, wedding!

Day 1 (Tuesday, June 26):
We left the Eureka airport around 2 pm today. We boarded our second plane around 4:15 pm and we were able to upgrade to First Class. That was a new experience for us. Let me tell you, that 30,000 Mileage Plus miles was worth it! The moment we sat down, they handed us a glass of champagne. Then it seemed like they were always bring us something to eat or drink... from the warm, toasted nuts to a full dinner (with linen napkins and placements and real plates and silverware), to the praline ice cream sundaes.

I actually felt a little guilty about being treated so well. When we arrived in Maui around 7 pm, Hawaiian time, it was windy and misty. It was plenty warm and humid though. We got our bags (they all made it... yay!) and picked up our rental car. We then headed to our resort near Lahaina, called the Papakea Resort. We have a two bedroom condo that we will be sharing with Shane and Kristina when they arrive on Thursday. When we arrived at the Papakea we hung out with Clint, Matt, and Carolyn for a while. We didn't make it to bed until about midnight, Hawaiian time (3 am, our time.... yikes!).

Day 2 (Wednesday, June 27):
This morning we were up early because of the time difference. We went to Clint and Christina's room for coffee and muffins. The guys took off to check out the fishing boat they are going out on tomorrow. Some of us girls went for pedicures. It was quite the experience trying to find this place! We made it though.

A bunch of us walked down the beach and found a beachside bar and restaurant to get some food and tropical blended drinks. I had a "Blue Lemonade" which was about the color of Windex, but it sure was yummy! After this, we headed for the beach. The water was so nice.... Andy and I floated on a boogie board out a little ways and then floated back. Some snorkeled and the kids played in the water and the sand.

Tonight we had a great barbecued dinner. Our chef was the groom-to-be, Clint, and he did an awesome job on the New York strip steaks. We were eating while the sun went down and it sure was beautiful. This has been an awesome vacation... and it makes it even more fun to celebrate with our friends. Here's a photo of the sunset:

Day 3 (Thursday, June 28):
The guys got up really early to go out on a fishing boat. They caught two fish and were able to bring one back for our dinner. The type of fish is called Ono. I got up early when Andy left so I had a little time to myself. I walked up the road to get a latte. I also did a little souvenir shopping for the kids.

Later in the morning, the ladies and kids went into Lahaina to do some shopping. We had a good time looking around and buying a few things to take home with us. We ended our morning at Cheeseburger in Paradise. The burgers and fries were fabulous!

Christina's dad did a great job barbecuing the fish that the guys brought back. We also had steak, salad, fruit, and bread. All this went great with the pina coladas we made. We sat around 'till way too late, but it was fun.

Day 4 (Friday, June 29):
Today was the BIG DAY for Clint and Christina. Early this morning, Andy and I walked across the street for a smoothie and croissant. Then we went to brunch in Clint's parents' room. We all got to eat and visit before starting to get ready for the wedding. After this, Andy and I took a walk down the beach and took a few pictures.

Around noon I drove Christina to her appointment at the beauty salon. Then a bunch of us walked down the beach to the resort next door for lunch and a beverage. They guys played on the putting green in the courtyard to see who had to buy lunch.... the groom lost! Thanks for lunch, Clint!

I picked up Christina from the salon and brought her back to get dressed. She looked so beautiful with her hair curled and flowers in her hair. Everyone got ready to go and we got the guys in the limo headed for the wedding location. They had the tough job of waiting in the bar next door before the wedding.

The limo driver made three trips and got us all there on time.... early actually. It was held at the Old Lahaina Luau. The wedding started at 4:30 and was one of the most beautiful, emotion-filled weddings I have been to. We are so happy that Clint and Christina found each other! After the ceremony, we all went to the luau dinner and show. It was great.... the food was excellent, the beverages were flowing, and the show was fabulous! After a quick stop at the bar across the street, the limo picked us up and brought us back to our condo. Here are some photos from the afternoon...

Day 5 (Saturday, June 30):

Andy and I went to grab some breakfast at a place called the Rusty Harpoon. We had a great meal and were able to watch the parasail boats leave from the beach right in front of the restaurant. I would consider parasailing, I think. I think I would want to do it tandem with Andy though. Maybe another day....

After we got back, we picked up Matt and Carolyn at the condo and headed north. There is a VERY narrow, curvy one lane road that we ended up on. We could barely pass another car coming towards us. I bet there was two inches between our mirrors. At least we weren't the car on the cliff side....

In the afternoon we went out on a private snorkel cruise. There were 17 of us that went. The tour company was called "Safari Excursions" and the boat looked like a safari boat. It was like riding in a jet boat... it went really fast and it was VERY windy. The boat took us out to Honolua Bay where the water was pretty calm. Because we went out in the afternoon, we were the only boat out there. It was lots of fun and I didn't get seasick!!

For dinner we barbecued pork loin and ribs. They were fantastic! We hung out in Matt and Carolyn's room for awhile now it's bedtime...

Day 6 (Sunday, July 1):
This morning the two of us went into Lahaina to grab some breakfast. There weren't a lot of choices so we went back to Cheeseburger in Paradise. Yes, they serve breakfast, but we decided to have cheeseburgers and fries anyway. They, along with our bloody mary and lava flow, were great.

We came back to the room and relaxed. I took a nap (lack of sleep was starting to get to me) and Andy read for awhile. The guys got ready to go golfing. They took off around 11:30 to play at the Kaanapali Golf Course.

Carolyn and I grabbed some lunch and a drink at our favorite beachside grill, a couple hotels down. We had been to this place three or four times the past week. Then we did a little shopping and hung out in the condo just chatting. We picked up Matt and Andy at the golf course and took Matt and Carolyn to the airport.

For dinner, we decided to go out since it was our last night on the island. Clint, Christina, Shane, Kristina, Joy, Travis, Andy and I loaded up in the minivan, and went to Hula Grill over at the Whalers Village. The place had live music and good food (well for most of us, anyway). It was a great way to end our vacation with our friends. We talked about making this an annual trip to celebrate Clint and Christina's anniversary. We all think that would be awesome, but who knows if they will want us tagging along on an anniversary trip!

Day 7 (Monday, July 2):
Today was our last day on Maui. We said good-bye to everyone else that was leaving. We checked out around 11:30 am, loaded up, and headed out to drive around. We headed towards Hana, but were getting kind-of bored. There are lots and lots of curves and one-lane bridges on this road.

We turned around and headed towards a restaurant called "Mama's Fish House." We had a light dinner and drinks there. Here's a photo we took using the camera's timer...
After this, we headed back towards the airport where our flight left at 9:30 pm. We were able to upgrade to First Class for this flight also, so it made sleeping and getting comfortable a lot easier.

Day 8 (Tuesday, July 3):
Our flight arrived in San Francisco at 5 am, so we had a 3 hour layover until our flight up to Eureka. It was so foggy at the Eureka airport that the pilot could not land. They diverted us to Redding, refueled, and headed back to Eureka to attempt another landing. The pilot tried to land, but couldn't see anything. Because of this, they sent us back to San Francisco. I called Mary (my sister) and said, "How do you feel about a couple of overnight guests?" She came and picked us up. We went out to dinner with her and Jeff, and had a great time. It was so fun to hang out with them for the night.

Day 9 (Wedensday, July 4):
Mary and Jeff have this awesome view of San Francisco. This is the sunrise we woke up to this morning....