Wednesday, April 27, 2016

California here I come...

...right back where I started from!

With my surgery completed, we decided to get the heck outta here, and hijack Pat's work trip to Los Angeles.  I needed a vacation and to just get away.  Everyone has been so kind and wonderful to me here, but it's hard to talk about it with people when I'm still reeling from the loss myself (and the subsequent surgery fun).  I couldn't really swim in LA since I'm still recovering (and didn't want to attract sharks), but the renewal and freedom of laying on a beach was like medicine for my soul.
I actually cried when we got back home, which surprised me. Winters here are really depressing and cold for me.  I usually feel grateful for where I live and grateful to be home, but this time when we got home I just felt the sadness of the winter, and the loss of the pregnancy again, and all I'd just been through for the last months.  I wish everyday could be the beach in LA in April.  The weather couldn't have been more perfect.  We visited several beaches from Redondo to Venice, glimpsing Santa Monica as we headed out.  Manhattan Beach was our favorite and just 10 minutes from our hotel.    And my mom, sister and family all came!  Here's Pat holding a troubled Junie Bean.  She's not sure about him.
But she loves me!  She was so cute and I got to hold her a lot!  She is super smiley and pretty easy going. Leia and Charlie were super excited about her.  She does not like her mom and dad to leave her though! And if she saw them, she told them!

The beaches weren't packed at all, as you can see.  But still a few surfers, a few volleyball players, and sun bathers... and a few friends for our kids!  It was perfect.

View from the pier at Manhattan Beach.  We could stand right above the surfers who were way out and watch them do their thing.  Sadly a surfer was lost while we were here.  It was all over the news and the lifeguards and helicopters were searching for days. Right in this very spot below.

This is the first time the kids experienced a beach with nice sand that wasn't freezing.  We all loved it. They had the best time making forts, sand castles and such.

We brought this tent thing to get some shade.  Steph and T had one too.  I was watching everyone like a hawk so they wouldn't get sunburned and then I got the worst sunburn!  I missed covering my back with sunblock.  It felt so good to lay there in my swimsuit soaking up sun, darn it all.

 Swimsuits, shorts and sandals everyday!  Charles got his first pair of "plip plops" (flip-flops).

Whale watching at Palos Verdes near the lighthouse.  There were goats here and the most beautiful houses.  I almost bought one on the spot, but forgot my millions at home.  But once I get those millions... I'll be back.

California may be on the cutting edge of stupid in many ways, but it is the most beautiful state, and I'm proud I grew up there.  I miss having everything grow and flourish like the garden of Eden.  My kids were saying it was too green and needed more brown.  What have we done to them!!!  Even just going to the grocery stores near our hotel was an experience.  Beautiful palm trees, flowers wrapping around every post, warm spring air that is neither too hot nor too cold, and the ocean view.  I just felt like dancing! It was magical.  It was that same warm air I stayed out in 'till late at night when I was growing up.  Now I go to bed at 7pm because I'm always freezing!  In the winter here you freak out if someone knocks on your door at 6pm!  Who could be out this "late" at night in the dark and cold?, we say to ourselves. 

The kids also enjoyed the hotel pools!  We considered going to Disneyland, but since we'd have to get a loan to afford that place for our family, we just beached and swam.  It was much more relaxing; the perfect vacation.

Walking along Venice Beach, seeing all the people. 

And we even found out that they had beach wheelchairs for Grandma, but we never got to use one.  It was just too difficult in the end. We wished Grandma had been able to do more with us, but we at least got to see her when we normally wouldn't have, thanks to this work trip, and thanks to everyone driving down and taking the time to meet us.  Hotel, food, gas, entertainment, time off work.  It was a sacrifice, and we felt very loved that Grandma, Steph, T and June came.

Dad's Wingman.  Pat had to work two days, but got to be with us for a lot of stuff.  Charlie got this fun wagon full of beach toys!  When I got home I heard a study about how Texas is the best place to earn a good salary, but have low cost of living, so you can really get ahead.  New Mexico is in the middle.  California is the worst.  It was saying salaries in Ca may be higher, but cost of living is so high that you can make 75,000 and still just survive.  But of course, with my millions, this means nothing to me!  I will live in Palos Verdes!

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Conversations from the past week

Evan: I hate it when you're eating and then there's something hard in your food, and you pull it out and it's your tooth.
Charlie: Dad, Dad, Dad, Dad!
Pat: What Charlie?
Charlie: Leia tooked over there and I want it back!
Pat: Leia took what?
Charlie: over there
Pat: Leia took over there?
Charlie: Yes
Pat: She took what over there?
Charlie: She took over there and I want it back!
Pat (after thinking for several long seconds): She took your side of the bed and you want it back?
Charlie: Yes
(Leia and Charlie share a queen size bed for now)
Charlie on being told that since he took a tortilla from the package he had to eat it:
"Can't!  Too spicy!"
(That's his new excuse for not eating any food he doesn't want to right now, it's too spicy, he tries it on anything, even plain tortillas)
At the thrift store with Leia,
Me: I would really like to go to a store and NOT have you ask for everything."
Leia: "Well, we can go to Walmart after this."
Dallas trying to convince me that I should let them watch a show:
Me: No, it takes away your brain power and creativity.  Go outside!
Dallas: We are going to be so creative some day that you'll be wishing you'd let us watch TV.
Me: Think so?
Dallas: Yeah, we'll be selling all kinds of stuff... dehydrated water... and you'll be saying (in his sad old lady voice), "Oh, if only I'd let them watch more shows!"
Regarding me trying vegan recipes and boiling a lot of rood vegetables to use in recipes: Dallas says, "Why are you boiling that carrot to death?" Me: To make a "hot dog". Dallas: You keep punishing all these fruits and veggies. It's like the pot of death.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

My mind seems to be a forgetful lately.  I've been baking bread weekly for us.  My kids eat at least 10 loaves of my bread a week. That's a lot of bread.  The only problem is that each time I make it, I forget to add one ingredient.  Salt, for example. Bread does not taste good without salt!  After that, I left the salt out again!!  The next week, I forgot the yeast!!!  What is going on with me????

As I was cleaning my room, I came across these birthday cards from my bro and sis, T and Stephanie (above).  It was then I realized maybe old age was setting in.  These cards made me laugh so hard. 

(Only they could have gotten away with cards like these).

I also got a really nice card from my mom this week that came just when I needed it.  I've been really depressed lately.  A miracle happened for me, in that I carried a baby through the first trimester.  We saw the baby at 11 weeks wiggling around with a strong heartbeat.  Then when we had our next ultrasound (last week) at 13 weeks the baby was bowed, and the heartbeat was gone.  I was excited to tell my family that day, as soon as that appt was over, and begin to let the secret out (though it had gotten out to a few).  Instead, there was only sadness and tears.   It was hugely disappointing.  Now I have a surgery tomorrow to remove the baby.  Again.  It's scary.  I hate surgery.  And I wish all of the tiredness, and nausea, and adjustments of the last three months had been for something.  I wish I knew why my body is snuffing out these little lives.  I put on a happy face and move on.  I don't like to talk about it.  But it hurts my heart like I can't begin to describe.  It doesn't help that the hormones don't immediately disappear either, so I've still been throwing up and feeling pregnant, even though I know darn well, I'm not. We all felt good about this one, and the kids were praying each night...  Leia wants a sister so much.  Some things just don't make sense.  Like how I keep feeling God wants me to have one more, but for some reason it's definitely not working.  Over conference weekend, Pat alternated between working on the chicken house, and holding me tight.

Now in random order, I found this book at the library and it was a beautiful story of letting go, and how we sometimes hold onto things (or people), even things that are bad for us, for fear of letting go.  Once we do, we can move on or grow.  It's just a super simple children's book, and I highly recommend it if you know anyone who needs this message in a simple and inspiring way.

Learning about Joan of Arc.

Thanks to Pat and the boys, we got a nice new chicken house/yard, and the old one was dismantled which took a LOT of work.  The chickens helped by eating all the bugs we unearthed. 

Spoiled chicken. Thinks she's queen of the yard.  We find chickens hilarious to look at. 
The ladies love their bugs
Needing some summer clothes, I ordered several shirts online and when they got here, I realized their sizes are different and they were all at least one to two sizes too big.  Instead of returning them all, I washed them thinking they might shrink.  They didn't.  Now I can't return them and they are way too big for me, and I still need clothes.  How much do you think Pat is going to love me now?  Another $100 please honey? Oh, and since I'm mentioning annoying things, we found termites, have a couple thousand needed for other various home repairs, and Pat hurt his back and is crawling around on the floor; his only manner of mobility.


On the whole though, I have to say I feel incredibly happy, blessed, and pleased with my life.  So many are suffering unthinkable things.  I know I have no reasons to complain.

Monday, April 4, 2016

A couple things this last week...

 Studying the plague or Black Death that swept over Europe long ago.  Below is Sam in a costume that doctors and others often wore thinking it would keep them from falling ill.  Just what a dying person wants to see, right?

Also we had a really fun Pac Night Blue and Gold Banquet and there was a TON of food and fun.  It was a Star Wars theme as you'll see below.  Additionally each boy brought a cake that they made with their parent.  Three boys earned their arrow of light award, which I was in charge of making.  I forgot to get a picture of them, but I now know how to make them!

Our cake that Evan helped make is the "Come to the Dark Side" cake.  He wanted to make a Death Star, but this was more manageable.  It was a lovely dark chocolate cake with ganache frosting poured over the top.  It was soooo good!!!  We had lots of leftover ganache so we rolled them into truffles and had a chocolate fest.