Saturday, July 21, 2007

Above Everything - 7/11/05

Above Everything
a poem by Irene
age 5 1/2

Above the trees
Above the birds
Above the butterflies too
Above the flowers and the bees too
But not above the rain
Into a rainstorm, but having lots of fun

Above the ladybugs and above the grass
And next to Shainda who we can barely see
We picked pretend flowers too
But we weren't above the sun.

*Shainda is Irene's pretend friend. Shainda made her very first appearance on Easter morning of 2002 (which i didn't remember until we saw some video). I don't remember her being around again until after Rhys was born - but she's still with us occasionally. She and Rhys' pretend friend, Harry, the Pteradactyl, sometimes play together.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Virtual War Protest

Gerrie, who has a very pretty new website and blog, had a call to protest back in may. offered to send out many Endless/End This War bumper stickers for people to put either on their bumpers or elsewhere (as long as they were placed legally) as a virtual protest.

This is mine. I took it after shopping at trader joes. i try hard to bring my own bags (thus the target bag and the black bag and several others as well).

What i want to make perfectly clear - i support all of our soldiers in iraq and everywhere else. i just want them to stop dying. i don't think we (the US) went into this really knowing what it was going to be. many of us never really understood why we went at all. we have a base closeby and many of the kids in irene's classes have dads and moms who are over in iraq. when she was in kindergarten, there was a plane that went down that had several men from stead air force base in it. one of the kids in irene's class was potentially on that plane. many of us moms were trying to figure out who they were b/c one of the men who died was the father of a kindergartener. god - that brought it closer to home and just made me so sad. it was NOT the child in Irene's class who lost a dad that day, but there was another kindergartner who DID.

just the other day, irene and her friend were having a rough time together - irene's friend hurt irene's feelings and so her friend, in turn, hurt irene's feelings. i think it ended with "Irene, we're THROUGH!" which is pretty strong for 7 year olds! i got them both out of the pool (which is where this was taking place). irene decided that the two of them should talk it out. and kids being kids, they were over their differences in minutes. later, i tried to explained to irene that it was not okay to hurt someone else's feelings just because they hurt yours. even though you are mad inside, it is SO much better to talk about it - whether that's with your friend or with your parents. then i tried to explain the war to her in those terms. i said "the leader of iraq hurt the leader of our country's feelings. we then, in turn, hurt the feelings of iraq. it escalated and now we are at war. people are not dying trying to make things better. this is just not okay. we need to work hard at being peaceful first within our family. and with our friends. it needs to go out from us. we need to try and be the best people we can be. this is something you will work on for the rest of your life. i *still* have to work at it! but the important part is that we try."

hopefully it will continue to sink in. it's something i often have to remind myself as well. we need to work on our little family and hopefully we can be a ripple in the pool and affect others. because, really, why the heck can't we just all get along?!?

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

pac man fever and happy family

Rhys doesn't play pac man nearly so much as he did a while back (it's the Pac Man World 2 or something like that), but Irene suggested early this year that he have a pac man birthday party. so that's what he wanted. happily rob's office group had recently changed themes and we got the pac stuff. we decorated our back yard for our very low key birthday party.I was VEDDY pleased with the pac man cake i made :D the frosting was from scratch. the cake was a box mix. it was irene's idea to use whipped cream for the ghosties mouths.
rhys was most insistent that skyler come to his party *smile* and happily she and her family were able to come. nana and sensei were also there. so it was small and low key, but a good time was had by all. the cake was a big hit and we had bubbles for the kids to blow. the kids seemed to like the shish kabobs and their sparkly lemonade. rhys got some really great presents and was a happy 4 year old kid.

after folks left, we went out to the front yard to hang out. the lighting was nice and it wasn't too hot.

here is my very handsome husband. the love of my life. *happy sigh*
here is my beautiful 7 1/2 year old and here is my silly 4 year old

and here is a picture of me and rob

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

4th of July

after finding out that THIS year the fireworks weren't going to start until 9:45 (which meant it would probably be more like 10:00), and taking into account how busy the kids have been for the past several weeks, and how tired they were likely to be, rob and i decided that the better part of valor would be to do our OWN fireworks show at home - nope, not with sparklers or with piccolo petes, but rather, with the glow-y necklaces and bracelets that can be put together in several ways.

also, the fairies heard our revised plans and they snuck into the house and got the glow in the dark stones i'd bought and put them outside on our patio table!! sneaky fairies!!

this is clickable so you can actually see the pix a bit better

For Lydia

lydia has mentioned once or twice that rhys would look great with spiked hair (a la benny). and it's true - he does look pretty great. unfortunately, he doesn't like me spiking his hair. this spike job is done with no gel, but rather, good ol' sweat on the fourth of july. she's in the wilds of pennsylvania right now, so she might not see this for a while, but i hope she gets a kick out of it when she does see it. and for everyone else, enjoy!! :D

in case you're wondering, he's wearing his very cool martin & co guitar shirt from sensei's trip.

Friday, July 06, 2007

getting to know me even more - with Holly and Deb

over at create a connection, groovyholly is pinch hitting this month for the getting to know you day.

she wants to know about birthdays and celebrations.

1) What is your most memorable birthday? Tell us what you remember, your feelings, why it stands out in your mind.

there are a 30th was fabulous because Rob set everything up and we had a party in connie's (rob's youngest older sister) barn. dad, moni, and matt came up for it. irene was 9 months old and just delightfully sweet and cute, nick and dianne came - nick made amazing mai tais, so many of our friends were there - it was really fantastic. we even had some dancing (and you all should know that i LOVE to dance - i mean love love love L.O.V.E. to dance!!).

my 22nd birthday was fabulous because we celebrated at Friar Tucks in cotati. it was this great pub that sometimes had real irish music on saturdays. i grew up with irish folk music, so i knew all the words. as i recall, it was just me, rob, judy, and her then boyfriend. i had everyone slamming on the bar when they were supposed to for some of the songs, i was singing (probably loudly) with the singer and joking around. he sang The 7 drunken nights -- well, he sang 6 of the nights -- i'd only heard the first 5 prior to that. i giggled heartily at verse number 6. the singer wouldn't sing the 7th verse - no matter how much i asked. toward the end of the night, judy and i danced with each other as rob and sean danced with the bartendresses (i did also dance with rob - have i told you that i love to dance? and that i really love dancing with rob? oh, did i mention i had a yard of beer? yeah. that too.

2) What is the best gift you've received for your birthday?
can i write that down? giggle. just teasing. i'm not really sure. it could be when i turned 9 and moni and dad gave me james and the giant peach, charlie and the chocolate factory, and charlie and the great glass elevator. god - how can i be drawing such a blank? i've gotten lots of cool things for birthdays and such. i can't believe that my mind is being so rude!

3) How do you celebrate July 4 or July 1?
hmmm - i was in canada once for canada day. moni and dad thought we'd watch the fireworks...we didn't get to see them because it didn't get dark until about 11 that night...i was probably almost 11 when we went there. we've celebrated independence day in a number of ways - when i was little little, we'd go to my gramma's house and that was back when we could do fireworks at our houses. i remember some of the really cool (to a 4/5 year old) fireworks they had. at dad and moni's i can remember doing lots of sparklers. at mom and ken's we did those worms one year and the black stain never went away on our front walk. when irene was 4 1/2 and rhys was 1, we were at the grannies and we brought a number of sparklers and worms and the rose thingies. we did them in the back yard. the grannies had such fun and the irene thought it was way cool. rhys was nonplussed. the year rhys was born, he was only 1 week old and slept through our setting off of little safe fireworks. it was still light out, but irene had fun. last year we went to a local elementary school and watched the fireworks over sparks. this year we didn't because the fireworks weren't happening until late late - so instead i had lots of glow sticks and we played with them in rhys' room. the fairies also left irene and rhys' name and a smiley face in glow in the dark 'rocks'

4) What do you value most about where you live? What do you do to show
your appreciation? If you've never thought about it, what could you do
to show your appreciation?

do you mean about the country? or about sparks? about our country, i value the freedoms that we have and the hope that we get to keep them. we show our appreciation by trying to be good people. we try to be good to the earth and share our values of recycling, being green when we can, and being peaceful.

- so i'm going to answer those too :D

debR made up some questions as well because melba asked for some emergency questions and debR sent some. and here they are:

It’s a summer holiday and you’ve been invited to a big family-and-friends potluck celebration. What would you bring? (Feel free to share the recipe if it’s super-good!)

maybe we'd bring over the fixin's for margaritas b/c i enjoy them and they are fun. we could bring our cool blender so people could have them on the rocks or blended.

Once you’re there at this imaginary holiday party, how would you spend most of your time?

i'd probably be the one taking a lot of pictures and talking to various people, but able to hide behind my camera. it's funny b/c i really didn't used to be any kind of an introvert. very odd.

The person in charge of music is taking requests. What song would you like to hear? Would you get up and dance to it or just sit back and listen?

DUUUUUDE!!! there are SO many songs i'd request! maybe White Lines by Grand Master Flash and the Furious Five (duran duran redid this - it loses a little something). Love Shack by the b52s, She Goes On by Crowded House (so i could dance with rob and he'd sing to me), R.E.S.P.E.C.T. b/c eveyrone needs to get their Aretha on! I Will Survive by either Gloria Gaynor OR cake. and if we didn't go with cake for that one, i'd go with Short Skirt and Long Jacket by cake (i think that's what it's called) so that's just a little bit. and, hmmm...i don't know...maybe i'd sit it out. HA! not in THIS lifetime!!! i really wouldn't care if i were out there dancing by myself. and truly, i wouldn't be alone b/c as both my brother and rob can tell you, i will drag your ass onto the dancefloor and there IS no saying no to me. *beam*

They’re having fireworks! Would you enjoy them or endure them? Would you help set them off or sit back and watch?

i love fireworks. i like watching them. i do NOT like firecrackers.

It’s getting late and the party is breaking up. Would you be one of the first to leave, or the last person the host is pushing out the door, or somewhere in between?

if this is the same party where the margaritas are flowing and there is dancing happening. no doubt about it, rob and i would be among the last! hopefully the kids are sleeping over...perhaps we're all sleeping over. it's a goooood party.

thanks, deb :D these were fun questions!

forgot to add

rob's started a mobile blog called shots from sparks, nevada like lydia's - so he can send pix from his phone to the blog. cool, huh?

pictures and more pictures - l o n g

in may, we bought praying mantis eggs. almost 5 weeks later the ones we kept in a glass bowl finally hatched! here is one of the many many babies from the egg (isn't that a cool egg? i had no idea that's what the eggs looked like). i was VERY very pleased that we were HOME when they hatched. as much as i love praying mantises and as good for the garden etc as they are, having 100 of them in my dining room would have ooged me to no end. so here is one of the little guys before we took them outside to eat aphids etc. we're hoping that some of them survived and didn't get eaten by birds or ants before they got big. they are good at hiding, so it's quite possible that we have some happy mantises in our garden.

and on saturday before we left for our camping trip, irene had her Super Circus with gymnastics. she hasn't ever gotten to do it because the past two decembers, it's been the same weekend as tamale day and last june it was when we were in so. cal. she had fun and was very cute. we couldn't take pictures with a flash, so they were a little blurry, but sort of cool b/c you can tell they are action shots.doing a hand stand
and here she is with her medal - it was cute - all kids got to stand on the medal stand and wave to the crowd etc. this picture was more clear than the medal stand picture.
and here we are in escondido. we camped at Woods Valley Kampground in sites 78 and 79. it was wonderful - lovely pool, GREAT site for LOTS of tents, flush toilets, free showers. and, amazingly, NO mosquitos!! oh! they also had a catch/release pond. erica took the kids down and rhys CAUGHT a fish!! i don't have a picture of it, but he really did catch one :D
this is a picture of jalen and me putting up one of the tents. put up 3 sleeping tents, one shade canopy, and a screen tent. we rocked! and site 78 had HUGE room and a cool little tunnel and trees where irene and katie (another cousin) made a fairy house.
the dirt was, of course, the best place to play!! here are Domenick, Irene, and Rhys playing under the shade tent. rhys was AWESOME about wearing his hat and i also got him several shirts w/the UVF stuff in them. poor guy is like me - he has two colors...white and red. katie and irene's tent is in the background.
jalen took this picture of me. not a bad one :D
here is a picture of mom and gramma. gramma's memory is getting worse and worse - her short term memory that is. it was hard when she didn't know who irene was. she often doesn't remember rhys, which i already knew - her memory was having a hard time around the same time rhys was born, but she's always known irene - always knew she was my girlie. but, mostly gramma is happy, so that is good.on rhys' b-day (june 27) we went to La Jolla and spent the day at the beach. i had forgotten just how much fun it is to ride the waves and to be in water that is warmer than 60 degrees like in northern california. i even was able to sort of relax and enjoy watching irene have a great time. she was really amazing out there. she got knocked around pretty good once, so she had a bit of respect for the ocean which is a really good thing to have! at one point, erica kept an eye on rhys so that irene and i could go out and have some fun together riding the waves. it was FANTASTIC!!!

this is irene and jalen waiting for the perfect wave *smile* oh! i should point out that jalen is deaf - it added another aspect to the trip - my rusty sign language got better - but when we were out in the ocean, we couldn't just call him to get him to move more to the left b/c the rip tide had swept him toward the pier a little too far - or the undertow had pulled him out farther than made me and mom comfortable. we had to get his attention or grab him :) really, all the kids had an amazing time. one of erica's friends was there and had brought a ton of boogie boards - so they got to play on those too. i don't have the pix of rhys surfing in 1" of water on it - but when i get a copy, i'll try to remember to post it.
while it looks like rhys has a big ol' booger, it's just sand that he wouldn't let me wipe off...and i inadvertantly left his hat in erica's car, so he happily wore irene's hat. when we first got to the beach, rhys informed me that he'd invited everyone to the beach for his b-day. after a few hours, he got quite sad and said "i guess that we aren't going to have my birthday party at the beach." which we'd been talking about for days on when it was time for everyone to take a bit of a break from the water, we sang happy birthday and he opened presents and cards. he was a happy boy. oma, erica, the boys, and patty gave him sand toys - rhys was in HEAVEN!!!
here is rhys playing with cousin Patty and making fun sandcastles with some of the sandtoys. irene came to join the fun as well.
that evening, we had the cake that rhys had requested - an ice cream cake from cold stone. it was melty by the time we had it, but boy howdy was it good!!
on thursday, we went to dad and moni's (papa and gramma's) house in redlands - we didn't get there as early as i wanted to get there, but we still had great fun. their neighbors are on vacation and so we used their pool - it was so fun!! we all went down the slide, swam in the pool, dad worked with irene on her swimming, great gramma was there, we had yummy yummy food, matt and michelle came over for a little bit, rhys opened presents (i need to get a picture of him playing with his amazing pirate ship!), and eventually it was time for us to head back. here is irene in her goggles.
and jumping into the water (by the end of our swimming time, papa had convinced her to STOP plugging her nose and START blowing bubbles out of her nose -- i'd been trying to convince her to do that for about a year or more!)
and here she is going down the slide - papa and gramma's house is in the background. this slide is at LEAST 30 years old - i hadn't been on it in who even knows how many years - but b/c it's that old, the automatic slide water thingies (that's the technical term) don't work, so we took turns spraying it.
and here's rhys - he mostly started at the end of the pool and then bun jumped to me - but he had fun doing that, so what the heck :)
on friday we went to the San Diego Zoo - great amounts of fun was had by all!
irene, rhys, and katie at the zoo - the shirt rhys has is lightweight - so don't worry that it was long sleeved. it had the uvf stuff in it and was perfect for him.
irene as a turtle
rhys watching the Dr Zoolittle show
irene and rhys as a butterfly and caterpillar
isn't this cool? do you know what it is? it's bundles of cotton and maybe wool? it's for the birds to make nests from - at least, that's what we decided it was for. perhaps we're wrong. but it looks way cool, yes?
the kids all got to feed the giraffes - we happened to get there right when it was happening.

rhys fed them AND got a kiss!
these are what rhys called "daddylion leg spiders" and they would congregate on the OUTSIDE of the tent in a few spots - you should have seen the ooginess when i (gently) used the broom to remove them all the next day when we were taking down the tents. many many many spiders - hurry scurrying EVERYWHERE! i'm good with spiders - really - but when they were scurrying everywhere, i was not so very good.
much like last year, the boys discovered the rocks on our last day as we were packing up. here they are - they were hollering "WE ARE THE KINGS OF SHEEEEEBA!" it was funny.

and here is irene - she was wiped out by this time and needed some time away from most everyone - so she sat on a rock w/nala (the lion she got at the zoo). it was quite hot.
we arrived at Patty's house and filled up some pools and tubs with water. here is rhys enjoying the cool of the pool - er - tub.and here we have two sacked out children!

we left the next day for tracy (where erica lives). it was a long/hot drive. we stopped in castaic when there was a sign that said "traffic jammed next 18 miles." mom rented a room at the days inn so that we could go swimming for a few hours and miss that traffic. we got to erica's house close to midnight as there was bad traffic 1/2 hour from erica's house. i woke rob up and he told us about highway 33 - which parallels 5 - so we took that and were at least moving. we left the next afternoon around 2:00 pm and finally got home 6ish. i'm still pretty tired, but boy howdy did we have fun!

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Happy 4th of July

we started the day by giving Rhys his present from Grammie and Gramps. he got a BIG WHEEL! i don't know how many of you are of an age that you had big wheels, but i remember mine as well as rob remembers his. i LOVED it. i remember riding all around our block on it. there was one driveway in particular that i remember (with my 5 year old mind) as being quite steep. that was the one that was especially fun to go down and then pull the brake and spin (the new big wheels don't have the brake on must've been hazardous). I have scars on the top of my feet from using them as brakes (when i didn't want to spin, i just wanted to stop) because, and this may come as a surprise to you (haha), i often went without shoes.

rhys thought it was MIGHTY cool!

after getting sunscreamed, we headed to the pool around 10:00. rhys rode his new toy. we met up with skyler (one of my brownies), her brother and her folks. it was great! we had the entire pool to ourselves for quite a while. when baby niko was done, he, stacy and dustin crossed the road to their house and we kept skyler for a bit longer. around noon, more people started coming to the pool and so it was time for us to leave the pool. we dropped skyler off, came home and got some food into the kids. rob found out that the fireworks weren't going to start until 9:45!!!! wtf??? that was just frustrating to the nth degree. so we decided that we would NOT be going to watch the fireworks. the kids are fairly exhausted, so that just wasn't going to work at all. and can ANYONE tell me why it is that even though "Capital Fourth" happens on the east coast - maybe around 9? i don't know - they don't show it HERE on the WEST freaking coast until 9:00?!? what happened to the 7:30 prime time?!? fireworks are for KIDS to enjoy (well, not JUST kids, but they think they're cool too), so why the heck NOT have them shown early so that those that want to actually GO and see the fireworks in their own town CAN go and see them.

bleh. just frustrating.

sorry about that...back to the story...

irene went back to sky's house to play for a few hours and i made an angel food cake. we then went over to mom and ken's for hamburgers, potato salad, and yummy dessert :) we're back home now. i need to get rhys to bed very soon.

i hope you all had a happy 4th - weather you are in the states celebrating independence day or elsewhere just enjoying a wednesday.