Sunday, June 29, 2008

Meeting an Online Friend

Over a year ago, and I'm not sure how she discovered it, but my Mom found the blog, Seasons of Life, written by Mishel. My Mom followed her blog and I started following her blog too, in addition to her daughter, Ashleigh's blog. They are walking Christians who very much love the Lord and exhibit their love for Him through their blogs and sharing of their family life.

We don't live far each other. And it's been mentioned a time or two before that one of these days, we need to all meet and have lunch together, etc.

Imagine our excitement when we read on Mishel's blog a couple of weeks ago, that her and her husband were going to be in the exact same areas of the Sierra Nevadas, at the exact same time we were!! Mom gave her the location of our campground through email and Mishel gave Mom her cell phone number.

Friday afternoon, as we were sitting around the campsite, relaxing, chatting, some of us reading, there was a car driving slowly through the campground, it then pulled off to the side of the road. And then a lady got out of the car and said our names! It was Mishel!! And husband Rande! Mishel had used the internet access on Rande's cell phone to pull up the email from my Mom telling her where we'd be, and they came looking for us! If you've ever met anyone in real life after having met them on the internet and having gotten to know them through email or blogs, you'll know how exciting and comfortable it is to meet an internet friend in real life for the first time. We stood and talked and talked for over two hours! It was so wonderful to have met Mishel and Rande in person. The only thing that would have made it even more awesome was if Ashleigh and her cute little guys were there too! But we're hoping to meet up one day soon all of us girls for lunch.
My shirt speaks for all of us!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Friends Forever

Do you have a friend with whom you can go months and months without contact with and then pick right back up as though you'd never had a lapse in being in contact?

Diana and I first met in the summer of 1992 at a home Bible study for young girls. To make a long story short, Diana was my Maid of Honor when Steven and I got married. THAT's how good of friends we'd become through the years.

Through the years, our paths have gone different directions, I'm married, have two children. Diana is single and lives at home to keep her widowed mom company. But no matter how different the paths, I know that we'll always be friends. No matter what.

Diana called Thursday evening. I'm not when was the last time we'd talked on the phone, we've emailed. And she's able to keep up with me and our happenings through all my blogs. I'm not that up to date on Diana, she doesn't keep a blog. LOL. At any rate, she was calling me from her hospital bed! She had gone to Urgent Care on Tuesday, advised to go straight to the ER, and then was admitted. Her right lung was filled with fluid and the doctors aren't sure what's causing it.

Gramie came and picked up the girls Thursday afternoon, so it was perfect, I could go and visit Diana in the hospital on Friday and not have to worry about what to do with my kids, if they were driving someone crazy, etc. I was free as a bird!! So after stopping for groceries and a trip into Costco, I went to the hospital and visited with Diana for over three hours!!!

She's been cooped up in the hospital for days and wanted to take a walk outside. So we did just that. We sat on a bench for a while soaking up the sun and then walked around the outside of the hospital for a bit. The entrance in which we would now have to enter was a revolving door. Diana was being silly and just kept going round and round. Good thing her heart monitors weren't able to be read so far away from the unit she was on, or she might have scared the nurses. LOL. Me with my handy dandy camera in my purse whipped it out and took a picture and said "you know this is going on the blog!!". LOL.

Prayers for Diana would be very much appreciated. They still don't know what's caused her lung to fill with fluid and has a tube draining it. They've also found a blockage in the tube leading from her kidney to her bladder which they think is an old stone that never passed. They will put a stent in on Wednesday to open that up. But in the meantime, she remains a "Mystery Woman" as far as that fluid buildup.



** I asked permission to post this picture on the blog.

Good Mexican Food

Every time we are in San Diego, we go to our favorite Mexican food restaurant.

We first discovered this place eleven years ago when we spent our 1st wedding anniversary in San Diego. I was working at the time and had asked my supervisor if she knew of any good Mexican food places in San Diego as they had a boat docked in a nearby marina and spent a lot of time there. She recommended this place and we've been going back ever since!One of the things that makes this place extra special and yummy is the hot jalepeno cheese dip they serve with their chips and salsa. It is so good, we easily go through two to three bowls. Although this time, Hannah discovered she liked the stuff and now she's hooked! A few years back, I discovered how to make the dip, here at home, and we refer to it as Miguel's Dip. Within 48 hours, we had visited both our favorite Mexican food restaurants - one in Steven's hometown, and this one in San Diego. It was a real treat!

Friday, June 27, 2008

The Caterpillars of Pine Glen

As we were pulling into Pine Glen, our campground, Steven couldn't help but notice some a caterpillar making its way in the street. Once we paid really close attention, we realized there wasn't just one. There were tons all over the road. Live ones. Dead ones. Smashed ones.

When we pulled into our campsite, the caterpillars didn't just stay on the road. They were everywhere. They were huge. They were ugly. And they were in the trees. Don't believe me? Just ask one of my family members about the conniption I had one evening as we all sat around the campfire and one fell from the tree and landed on me. I wasn't the only one to exhibit such a performance in the days to follow.The camp host told my Mom that they are on a two year cycle, the campground is only graced by the presence of these caterpillars every two years. And as huge as they are, you'd think they'd turn into beautiful butterflies, but NO, the camp host assured us they were those big brown moths. Ewwww. We didn't see them in town at the shops or up around the Lakes. They were in the campground and at the nearby visiting center, that was it. We didn't see them anywhere else.

Weird.

Gross.

And making a note to only visit this campground on the odd numbered years.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

So Much to Share...

The last nine days have been filled with so much. The list of things I wish to blog about grows everyday.

I've taken over 800 pictures between our camping adventures, as well as from the last two days we've spent in San Diego. Pretty good for a camera that wasn't working as well as it should.

I'll be sharing more of our adventures over the next week or two.

But for now, here is an album of Mammoth Camping 2008.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Home. For Now.

We're home. We had a great time camping in Mammoth Lakes. We couldn't have asked for more perfect weather. It was in the low to mid 80's all five days we were there, dipping in the high 40's, low 50's at night. Perfect weather. It was so miserable to have left Mammoth yesterday morning at 67 degrees and come home to it being well over 100, and over 90 just in the house.

We arrived home last night and within 30 minutes of arriving home, the car was unpacked, the majority of the camping gear put back onto the shelves in the garage, and the laundry was started. And oh what a massive mountain of laundry it is!! As of this morning, I've done about five loads of laundry thus far, including 23 pairs of socks!! LOL.

And now, despite only being home for a short time. I am packing again. Tomorrow we will head to San Diego for two days. We will spend tomorrow at the San Diego Zoo, and then on Wednesday we will go to Sea World. The girls are so excited for that! It's been twelve years since Steven and I have been to Sea World, and obviously the girls have never been. But we check on Shamu every couple of days on the webcam.

Thursday morning will have me doing laundry and packing again as the girls are going to their Gramie's this weekend. It was planned a couple weeks ago, but when we saw her last night for dinner on our way home, she asked if she could come get them on Thursday afternoon. So it's laundry, packing, and more laundry for this Mama.

If I get all the camping laundry done today, that means when we have no kids home on Friday, I can blog, blog, blog and share some of the 450 pictures I took while camping, and then the pictures I take while we're in San Diego!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Lots to Do Today!


Packing the car.
Packing our clothes.
Making homemade salsa.
Baking potatoes for hash browns.
Etc, etc, etc.

Busy day.

Have a great few days and I'll be back soon with lots of pictures...and stories, I'm sure!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

The Weather is Looking Good...

The weather is looking good, nights look a little chilly, but the daytime temps look great!!!

Our Camping Box

This is our camping box. It has all the essentials for camping in the great outdoors, or at least all the ones we've discovered thus far for camping. In the bottom there is a dish pan and large stock pot for washing dishes, as well as other frying pans, coffee pot, a little broom and dust pan for the tent, etc. The box is stocked with paper plates, cups, plastic plates, coffee mugs, all the utensils you would need, trash bags, ziploc bags, and a lot of other stuff.

My Uncle made this box for us this last Spring. I've primered it and painted it and we put rope handles on for easier carrying. Both my Uncle and my brother have a similar box, theirs are old foot lockers of my Uncle's from when he served in the Marines. I remember seeing my brothers box for the first time and was pretty impressed with how it had everything they needed for camping. These days Robbie doesn't bring his camping box anymore, he has a much larger camping box now, a camping box in the form of a trailer! LOL.

At any rate, I'm excited to use it this week! And again in Mid July when we go camping on the cliffs of the Southern California coast with church friends!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

It's Official - Summer Vacation is Here

Both the girls are officially done with school, as of today!

It's hard to believe that Hannah has been out of school three weeks as of today, and now Rachel is done with school until after Labor Day. The past several weeks have been extremely busy ones for me as far as end of the year picnics, parties, collections for the teacher gifts, getting the teacher gifts, and the list could go on and on. Truth be told, I'm ready for a break.

Now that the girls are done with school, my focus is now in full speed for our Mammoth Camping trip. There's laundry to be done, grocery shopping to do, and of course packing clothes for five days, being sure to bring extra clothes for girls because the campground in which we are going to is extremely dirty. You know the kind of dirt that is so fine, everything that falls to the ground is automatically deemed dirty, therefore extra clothes are a must, especially for Rachel. LOL.

And with that said, I'll go work on crossing one more thing off my list - taking the van for an oil change!

Monday, June 9, 2008

A Busy Week Ahead

I'm ready for a vacation. One where I can sit in a chair, chat with others, read, take in the beauty of God's creation. Go for a walk. Enjoy cooler temps. Sounds great doesn't it?? Sure does and we'll be on vacation soon enough. But first, I have to get through this week...

We've received three graduation announcements for this week, for four separate graduation ceremonies! Huh, you say? Three graduation announcements for four ceremonies, how does that work?!?! One of the graduation announcements is for my cousin AND her husband. They are both graduating this weekend from one of the major universities here in Southern California. Pretty cool huh?? They are also having a party on Saturday evening. One of the other graduation announcements we got was for the boy who was our ring bearer when we got married. The little kid who walked down the aisle carrying the ring pillow with fake rings is graduating from high school!! Man, does that ever make one feel old. LOL. The other one is from my other cousin who is receiving her associates degree, she's worked really hard over the last several years (she got her LVN and her RN) and I know she probably feels great to be finished with this. I should look into that, I *think* I only need two classes and I'd have my associates degree.

Rachel finishes up her preschool year this week. Where did this year go!?!?! Tomorrow is water days. She's suppose to wear her bathing suit under her clothes and bring a towel. I think she'll have a ton of fun!! And then on Thursday, they have their last day of school party, whereas they are making ice cream sundaes! YUMMO! The other room and I need to finish collecting the last of the donations tomorrow and then put our heads together and decide where we want to get gift cards for each of them. And then I'll need to go and purchase the gift cards and creatively wrap them for Thursday, when we'll give them their year end gift.

Today, my Mom and I took advantage of a one day pass to a one of those grocery warehouse stores and checked it out to see if it'd be worth splitting a membership to. Ummm, we both liked it and found things our other grocery warehouse no longer carries. We'll have to think about that membership after vacation. We also firmed up our menu for camping and divided up what each of us was bringing, etc. And then made out our grocery list. We'll go get major groceries on Friday. We're gonna have us some Good Eats! :)

In addition to grocery shopping, and gift card shopping for this week, there is Father's Day and my brothers birthday to shop for.

It's a busy week indeed!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Shopping on Amazon

I've been having difficulty finding a brownie mix I use. Steven suggested that I try Amazon.com. Little did I know that Amazon even sold grocery items and boy was I surprised and in seventh heaven when I found the brownie mix I needed!! And even cheaper then what I had last seen it at the stores for! Whoo Hoo. So needless to say I ordered a case.

I then went on a search for other things we use regularly, for example deodorant. Steven and I both thought it was funny when we saw that the deodorant I use is indeed available on Amazon and they have "2 used and new available". Ewwwww! LOL.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Wedding Reception

Late this afternoon, we went to a wedding reception for a young couple at our church, Josh and Katie. They actually got married the end of April.

Katie's father was diagnosed six months ago with Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. His health was failing, things did not look good, and Katie desperately wanted her Dad to walk her down the aisle and give her away. So they moved their wedding up to the end of April, and had a private ceremony in her parents home, so that her father could indeed do just that, walk her down the aisle and give her away, to Josh.

So that everyone could participate in the celebration of the Lord joining them together in marriage, today was set aside for a reception and celebration. It was a beautiful reception, held in the community center of the small city in which our church meets. The tables were decorated simple, but pretty. And the food was all pot luck. Every little detail was thought of, there was their first dance, the toasts, the garter and flower bouquet toss. All the things of a regular wedding reception, however there was only one thing missing...

And that was Katie's Dad.

He died on Thursday.

And despite his death, the celebration went on.

Our pastor lead them in the traditional vows once again. Katie and Josh also exchanged vows that they wrote for one another. Josh quoted promises to Katie. And the words Katie wrote were ones filled with such emotion, referencing how her Daddy was her hero and how he took care of her when there were spiders to be dealt with, fixed things when they were broke, and helped her fight against a popular video game warrior. She closed her vows with saying she had a new hero now, and that hero was Josh.

As if Katie's vows weren't enough to send you into a pool of tears, weddings are usually a source of a tear or two for me. It takes me back to the memories of my own wedding. Despite being so sick, it was one of the happiest days of my life, and seeing others begin their new life together always brings back the memories of our own happy day.

Despite the sadness of the week, it looked as though Katie and Josh were having a good time, celebrating their new life together.

Two Books in One Week

Nothing I read written by Karen Kingsbury ever disappoints. And the two books I just completed definitely weren't any different.

One Tuesday Morning is a story of a devoted firefighter and driven businessman caught up in the devastation of September 11. The book, Beyond Tuesday Morningis the continuing story of the people from the first book.

Both books are EXCELLENT! Karen writes in such a way that has you so gripped with emotions as the stories unfold. After reading both of these books this week, I can't wait until the third book in the series comes out November 11th.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Four Kids...For the Weekend

It's the weekend and we have four little girlies running about the house. Okay, they aren't exactly running about at the moment, because slowly, one by one, has been bathed and are ready to settle down for the night.

We've had a full day leading up to tonight. McKenzie and Haylee arrived midmorning and after playing for a while in the backyard, we packed a picnic lunch and headed to the park.

After playing and enjoying the nice weather at the park, we visited Gramma for a bit (thanks for washing my shirts Mom), and then I braved going to the bread store with four children in tow. We came home and the girls played and played for hours. I didn't hear from them for a long while, which gave me lots of uninterrupted reading time!

Following dinner, we went for a walk around the block, Steven and I walked, they each rode something. LOL. And now, they are all on the floor in Hannah's room, in a large makeshift bed of blankets and stuffed animals watching a movie. And hopefully soon, one by one will fade off into dreamland.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Bathing Suits...Again

"In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with modesty and sobriety..."
1 Timothy 2:9


I just wanted to say "thank you" to all the people who commented on their opinions on girls bathing suits. I wholeheartedly agree with everything you all said. Thank you to those of you who suggested the tankini for better access for going to the bathroom for girlies. I love that and you may see my daughters in a suit like that in the coming years, but only if it covers their tummies, belly button, etc.

Recently, we were at a gathering, whereas kids were swimming, etc. The teenage girls (we're talking 12-15 years old), all had bikinis on. I'm talking string bikini top and you know the bottoms had to have had little coverage as well, but they were wearing shorts (folded down at the top mind you) over the bikini bottoms. Showing off that much skin doesn't leave much to the imagination, that's for sure. LOL.

Anyways, enough said.

I just wanted to acknowledge all the participation and great conversation and say 'thanks!"

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The Magic of Disneyland

I recently discovered this comedian, Tim Babb. His primary source for providing laughter...is Disneyland. Need I say more?!?!

I have watched every single one of his videos and each one has had me laughing out loud. Maybe I just find them funny because of my love for Disneyland, but there's been a few times I've heard a chuckle or two out of Steven sitting behind me while I've watched a video.

This video is one of my favorites.




Monday, June 2, 2008

Camping

It's Monday, and we're home from camping. The washing machine is working double time between our laundry and the blankets I took.

Steven was able to come Friday evening and stayed until early afternoon on Saturday. Then he needed to get home and work. He left shortly before 'the boat' arrived. The friends that were also camping with us, their parents have a boat and brought it out to the lake for the afternoon. It was sooo much fun! It brought back all the memories of the times we spent on peoples boats when I was growing up.

We had a great time. We couldn't have asked for more beautiful weather. It was perfect in the 80's all weekend long. Enjoyed the great outdoors, the time spent with family, and getting to better know the other friends that came. Thanks to my brother who pitched our tent and took it down! :)

While I'm kinda new to the whole camping thing, I thought there was some sort of camping etiquette that all people who camped knew about. You know, the kind of etiquette that just goes with being courteous and common sense.

For example, Friday night, people arrived one campsite over, at 11:00 to their campsite. Now that time of the night, you would think people just set up their tent and worry about unloading everything else the next morning. Not these people. Not only did they proceed to set up their tents, and everything else they brought, but they stayed up until the very wee hours of the morning talking and whooping it up. Hello?? Ever heard of quiet hours while camping?? We were in a tent, so we obviously were affected by their rudeness, but my sister-in-law who was sleeping inside a trailer was also awakened by the noise.

And while I'm on the subject of noise, how about radios while camping?? If you're gonna play it, play it softly and not so everyone in the entire vicinity can hear it. On Sunday morning, the campsite on the other side of us, had their radio on before it was even 7:00am! I thought the idea of camping was to get a way from it all?? The noise, the hustle and bustle. The positive thing I can say is it was music that I listened to back when I was in high school, so at least it wasn't totally annoying, or not understandable.

What about respecting peoples campsites?? I can't tell you how many times people walked within feet of our tent in the night to and from the restrooms, it happened during the day too. Campsite boundaries, not observed. Saturday evening, as Grace was finishing up something in the trailer, and I had walked to the nearby restrooms, a pair of women walked right onto our campsite and sat the picnic table. When I first saw the women, I wondered to myself who it was that Grace had met, but it turned out, the women were going campsite to campsite selling jewelry (funny, you can't even escape the door to door salesmen even when camping. LOL). It was weird, they just walked up onto our site, didn't even hesitate.

Grace and I talked a little bit about how these things and the lack of etiquette and how it could be a result of it being a state park campground and the type of people that are sometimes drawn to cheap campsites. But as I thought about it a little more since being home, I'm not sure why it is that I was so surprised by the above circumstances, the lack of common courtesy and common sense are for the most part an everyday occurrence in todays society.

Next camping trip: Mammoth Lakes in just a few weeks!