Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Thank you!

If you've read some of my other recent posts, you know I have been struggling with my faith in the Catholic church. I have received a lot of encouraging feedback from my posts that made me feel much better. I just wanted to thank Michelle, Karen, Shelley, Mary, and Berwyn for sharing their thoughts! I appreciate it more than you know!

First day of school- Part 2

The first day of school went well yesterday. Both kids said they liked it, so that's a good thing! Abigail was very excited to see me when I picked her up. JT.... not so much! He didn't want me to be there yet! Here's a few pictures that I took when we dropped them off....

It sure is a good thing that Abigail and Nolan ended up in the same class...

Here is JT standing next to his cubby. Things could be a little confusing this year, because there is also a JJ in class. In fact, yesterday JT accidentally put his sweatshirt in JJ's cubby....

Monday, August 27, 2007

First day of school.... Yippee!

Today was the first day of school for both kids. Abigail is in 2nd grade and JT is in his second year of preschool. They were both excited this morning so that was good. Here's a few pictures we took this morning...

Hope they are both enjoying their days....

Sunday, August 26, 2007


This morning I went to church for the first time in a few months. I am not going to make excuses why I haven't gone lately, but it's been awhile. I feel like I got a lot of out today's sermon. Basically what I walked away with today was that God doesn't expect us to be perfect. He knows we will make mistakes, but He expects that we will be the best person we can. He wants us to follow the golden rule... do unto others as we would like done to ourselves, help those less fortunate, pray for those that have hurt us, etc. Sometimes it is very hard to do these things, but it's obviously important.

At the end of Mass today, someone that helps run the church's Pantry Shelf spoke. (The Pantry Shelf gives out food to 1200-1400 less fortunate families every month). He was talking about some large contributions that were made recently. It made me think about how lucky our family is... we really don't want for anything. We have food to put on the table, clothes to wear, a warm house to live in, and many other luxuries that some families don't have. Sometimes we get caught up in what we think we need. It's very easy to forget that there are others out there that don't even have the basic necessities that we take for granted.

Unfortunately, being a landlord has made me a little calloused towards those less fortunate. There are a lot of people out there that will take advantage of other people. When you are a landlord, you see this often. You get to the point that you don't believe any excuse they give you, even if it might be the truth (i.e. pay your rent, or get evicted!). How do you find the balance between helping others and not letting yourself get taken advantage of? I don't know the answer to this...

I was thinking a lot about this after church as I was cruising through the grocery store. After I loaded my groceries in my truck, I headed home. It wasn't until I got home that I realized I had left my purse in the shopping cart (in the parking lot)! I was freaking out.... nothing good comes to mind in this situation! I hopped in the truck and headed back to the store. On my way there, I called Christina (I had seen her car in the store parking lot) to see if she was still there. Thank goodness she was! She found a store manager about the time I was arriving back at the store. We asked several store cashiers if they had seen it. One of them had my purse! A very nice customer had turned it in... all contents in place!

Besides feeling relieved, I was very thankful that an honest person had returned my purse. It seems like the message I received at church this morning went along very nicely with my experience an hour later! I am pretty sure that the person that returned my purse won't read this, but I want to thank them anyway. Thanks for following the golden rule!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

New outfits

It's been quite awhile since I have taken portrait-style photos of the kids. This morning, after some whining (on their part) and bribing (on my part), they agreed to do a few. We got them dressed in one of their new outfits for school and headed outside. Here are some that I was happy with....

A few more...

Just trying to get them warmed up for first day of school photos...

Friday, August 24, 2007

Who's this cute couple?

Oh wait, it's us! I just love this picture of us...

This was taken at Clint and Christina's wedding in Hawaii.... isn't it amazing that Andy is smiling?

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Drake's surgery

I am so happy to report that Drake's surgery was a success! During the 10-hour surgery at Boston Children's Hospital, the doctors were able to remove the ENTIRE tumor! The doctors had told Drake's parents that they wouldn't be able to get the whole tumor, but they did! Even though the doctors expected the surgery to go well, they didn't anticipate it would go that well. They also removed his lymph nodes and some scar tissue.

I just want to thank you, on behalf of Drake's family, for keeping him and them in your prayers! God has answered our prayers!

Here's a fairly recent picture of Drake. They kept his head shaved during his chemotherapy...

The doctors don't know quite yet if he will need radiation.... it all depends on how the pathology tests come back. Please continue to keep Drake in your prayers! Thanks.


Anyone that knows me well will know that I don't talk about religion too much. The only reason I am posting this entry is because it's something that's been bothering me a lot lately. I thought that writing about it might help me.

As most of you know, I was raised Catholic. Growing up, I never questioned anything that was taught to me about being Catholic. Lately, however, I have really been struggling with the Catholic Church. ***I will say that my faith in God hasn't changed. That is still as strong as ever. ***

There are certain things in the Catholic Church that I disagree with. (I am not going to go into detail on that because that is not the point of this post.) Because I don't believe in every thing the Church does or believes, I have been considering myself a failure as a Catholic. I have even been wondering if this is the way I want to raise my children.

Because of this, I decided to do some research about the Catholic Church so I can learn more and shake away this doubt I have. Both my and Andy's families are Catholic, and have been for generations. I thought to myself, there are obviously many positive things about the Catholic Church if our families have believed in it for so many years.

I bought a book on amazon.com called "Setting the Record Straight- What Catholics Really Believe: 52 Answers to Common Misconceptions about the Catholic Faith." I thought it might help me understand the Church a little better and get over my negative feelings toward the Church. Wrong! Do not read this book unless you want to feel like the worst Catholic on this earth! I felt like even more of a failure after reading this book.... and I haven't even finished it! And I am not sure if I will...

I was discussing this book (and my Church issues) with my sister and she thinks I am being too hard on myself. She said no one is perfect and as long as you make an effort to do what you can, you aren't a bad Catholic. I do feel like I am basically a good person who does make mistakes.... don't we all?

You are probably wondering what led me to writing this post... my friend Shelley posted on her blog today about one of her favorite Bible verses. Honestly, I am not that familiar with the Bible.... another Catholic thing... Anyway, the verse she wrote about really spoke to me and I wanted to share it with you.

"And let us not get tired of doing what is right, for after awhile we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don't get discouraged and give up." Galatians 6:9

Because of this, I am not going to give up on the Catholic Church. I am going to keep trying to do what is right...

A picture of me!

I just had to share this picture of me. It was taken while we were in Hawaii, at Christina and Clint's wedding. The wedding photographer took it while I was taking some pictures at and after the wedding. I don't think I have any pictures of me with a camera in my hands because, well, I am always taking pictures with it!

There aren't very many pictures of me on my own blog so I just thought I would share!!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Bounce, bounce, bounce...

We have a new addition to our family toys.... a bounce house!

We wanted to get one for Abigail's birthday party anyway, so we thought we would just invest in one. We have many birthday parties and kid functions ahead of us so I am sure it will get a lot of use. The kids didn't know it was coming so they were sure surprised when Andy and I set it up on Monday night. Here they are right before they climbed in...

It has gotten a lot of use even in the couple days we've had it. Hope the kids keep enjoying it. And no I haven't been in it yet.... it has a 100 pound per person weight limit! I am sure I will get in at some point...

Please pray for Drake

I haven't posted an update on Drake for a long time. For those of you that don't know, Drake is the 3 1/2 year old nephew of my friend Sara. He was diagnosed with cancer in March. He has undergone several rounds of chemotherapy in the last few months. The doctors are completely shocked at how well the tumor has responded to the chemotherapy, and that it has not spread.

Drake and his family are back in Boston for surgery to remove the tumor. This will take place tomorrow. The doctors are expecting things to go well. At some point, after the surgery he will have a bone marrow transplant. The family isn't sure whether that will take place in Boston or in San Francisco.

Please keep Drake and his family in your prayers. Thank you to all of you who have prayed for him over the past six months. I will keep you posted.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Baby shower

On Saturday I hosted a baby shower for Christina. We set up everything on our front deck and it ended up being really, really warm! There were 18 ladies and 9 kids that joined us for brunch. Here are a few pictures from the shower...

For brunch we served two kinds of quiche (veggie and bacon with goat cheese), zucchini bread, lemon poppy seed scones, banana berry bread, fruit, champagne-fruit punch, and three types of dessert bars (raspberry cheesecake, chocolate-peanut butter, and coconut fudge bars). Everything was wonderful! Thanks to Michelle, Meaghan, Kristina, and Gina for helping with the food.

Christina and baby received a lot of useful baby items. She received a stroller/carseat, bouncy seat, Bumbo seat, baby book, Baby Bjorn front carrier, backpack, bath seat, onesies, socks, blankets, diapers, bibs, and a lot of other great things.

In Christina's hand is one of the newborn diapers that she received.... it's hard to imagine that the baby will be that little. And most the time, these newborn diapers are too big at first.

Entries at the Humboldt County Fair

The kids entered lots of things in our county fair (flower arrangements, vegetables, artwork, baked goods, a scarecrow they dressed, and potatoes they made into a butterfly and bumble bee.). On Thursday we went to the fair so I could see all of their entries and ribbons they won. They both did very well and earned lots of first place ribbons, and a few seconds and thirds. Here are the kids with two of their art pieces...

Abigail received a first place ribbon for her painted lion.

JT also received a first place ribbon for his painted turtle.

Within the vegetable competition, they could enter a harvest basket of all kinds of veggies. Here is Abigail with hers:

They entered a variety of single flowers and arrangements. Here is JT in front of one of his entries:
Overall the kids did very well. They were very excited to show off all their projects and ribbons.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

I see things more clearly....

Things are a little clearer to me today.... literally! I cleaned a few of my windows today in the kitchen and living room in preparation for hosting my friend Christina's baby shower on Saturday. Wow! What a difference a little window cleaner makes.... and I am not just talking about boring ol' Windex. I have this stuff that works so great that it looks like there isn't a window there at all! I really need to do all the windows, but I am not sure if I will get them done today or not.... probably not!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Out of JT's mouth

Andy took Abigail with him today out to the hill ranches. At dinner tonight they were talking about what they did today. Abigail said they saw lots of the cows today. Then JT asked, "were any of the cows doing piggy back rides?" :) Every day it gets closer to having "the talk" with the kids. Oh, how I dread that....

Not much to say...

I haven't been a very good blogger lately. I can't remember the last time I picked up my camera. I really need to get out and get some good ones of the kids. Maybe on Wednesday I can do it. I have been in a photography slump lately so my solution was to just take a break and not worry about it. Check back in a couple days....

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Looking back

I am in the process of backing up all my digital photos. I came across a lot of photos that I haven't seen in awhile. I picked out a few of my favorites of each of the kids. They aren't necessarily my favorites because they are perfect, photographically speaking. They are simply photos that bring back good memories for me... Here they are...

Abigail first...

And now JT...

Thanks for joining me in my walk down memory lane...

Thursday, August 9, 2007

My best work?

Our county fair opened today and I entered six photos in the amateur photography division. Below are the six that I picked. Are they my best work ever? I am not sure, but they are my favorites over the past year. I can't always explain why they are my favorites.... they just are.

San Francisco sunrise

Boy's best friend

Like mother, like daughter

This is retirement?


Hawaiian newlyweds

I haven't been to the fair yet so I don't know if I won anything for these photos. To be honest, I don't even know who the judges are or what they base their selections on. Winning a ribbon isn't a big deal to me... I just enjoy showing my best work. Thanks for looking!

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

My sister

"If you don't understand how a woman could both love her sister dearly and want to wring her neck at the same time, then you were probably an only child."
-Linda Sunshine

The above photo was taken when I was about three and Mary was about six months old.

My sister and I have had a lot of ups and downs in our relationship throughout the years. She is 2 years, 7 months, and 1 day younger than me. I wasn't really a very nice sister when we were growing up. Sometimes I am surprised that she still speaks to me. We played together when we were growing up, but it was definitely a relationship of convenience. I really wish I would've been a better sister back then.

This photo below was taken when Mary was two and I was five. She framed this photo and gave it to me on my wedding day (almost nine years ago!). The frame has the following imprinted in it.... "Sister, you are close to my heart. So many dreams we've shared, all the laughter and love. You tell me your secrets, I tell you mine. A lover of life, kind and true. Beautiful sister, your spirit is strong. We'll always be together in our dreams. Our hearts will stay side by side."

It wasn't until we were both in college that we started to get closer. She visited me a few times at Cal Poly and I went to see her at Santa Clara several times. Since that time, we have remained close. We have been the maid/matron of honor in each other's weddings. Here's a picture of her and I from her wedding day...

I try to visit her at least once a year in San Francisco, just the two of us. She has a completely different lifestyle than mine (city vs. country, no kids vs. kids, full-time job vs. "work at home" mom, etc). No matter what, though, I still feel like our values are the same.

We still have our ups and downs, and we definitely don't agree on everything, but I can't tell you how blessed I am to have her in my life. She is the first person I go to when I have something bothering me. She can always help me work through things and feel better. I know I don't tell her often enough how much I love her and appreciate her.... I love you, Mary! And thank you for being such a wonderful sister and friend.

And to those of you that have a sister, please tell them how much they mean to you.... today!