Saturday, December 18, 2010

1st Visit to Travel Town

I'm not sure what took us so long to get here but the boys sure loved those trains!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Monday, October 25, 2010

Just a hop, skip and a flying leap...

In September Jeff and I went on a trip with a couple of friends that we began planning over a year ago...back when the boys were just beginning to crawl and I had thoughts like, "Well, by one year from now, I'm sure I'll be fine leaving the boys for a week or so..."  Ha! 

It was a Baltic Cruise beginning in Copenhagen, Denmark, with stops in Estonia, Russia, Finland and Sweden, ending again in Copenhagen.  It was a wonderful trip and the boys were totally spoiled well taken care of by grandparents the entire time.  I really had no reason to worry, but somehow managed to fit that in anyway.  I did much better than I ever expected for the first week.  Then I had a bad dream and anyone who's a mom knows...that trip was over for me from there on out!

Here's what we saw in the meantime...
Copenhagen, Denmark

The real Little Mermaid statue was in China.  Go figure!  So we had to settle for her little sister at Tivoli Gardens.
This is Hamlet's Castle (well kind of anyway)

The medieval town of Tallinn, Estonia

In St. Petersberg, we decided it would be best to go on a 10 hour tour of the city.  At the beginning of our tour, our guide told us that according to Tolstoy, if you have not suffered you are worth nothing.  I think we may have been worth a little something by the end of the day.  (You'll see what I mean.)
 The incredible Hermitage Museum.  Our guide said that if you wanted to see the entire thing it would take you 8 years.  As you can imagine, we had a bit of a whirlwind tour in our few hours there.
 The Church of the Spilled Blood.  Apparently Ivan the Terrible didn't want to take any chances of this masterpiece being copied by anyone so he had his architects eyes gouged out after he designed this church.  I guess that's why they called him the Terrible.  

We stopped here for lunch...(nice parking job, eh?) where we enjoyed traditional Russian fare, including beef stroganoff, caviar (big orange fish eggs), champagne and vodka.   Nancy and I drank too much, NOT vodka, WATER.  I downed two bottles of water not imagining that this might pose a problem later.  We passed up the long line for the bathroom on the way out and were assured by our guide that there would be bathrooms at the next stop.
 This is only about 15 minutes later but I'm already walking gingerly.  However, I discovered that the only bathrooms at this stop required rubles to enter and I had none.  In fact, all I had were some American 20 dollar bills.  Fat lot of good that did me!  So we went on to the next stop...
 The Peter Paul Fortress was nice but by now I REALLY had to find a restroom or I was going to make a spectacle of myself.  Nancy was about as bad off as I was at this point so we raced off in the direction the guide pointed us...I wish I had a picture of this but I don't.  It was an old beat up trolley car that had been converted into outhouses.  I guess they thought that was charming??? Or maybe it's just a mobile restroom for hire and they drive around to various tourist spots.  I hate to think what would happen if they stopped fast on the road.  But I digress.  This place also took rubles and Nancy happened to have some from her last trip to Russia.  It was physically painful watching the woman pick out the right change only to discover that several of the coins were not rubles and we didn't have enough.  I would have gratefully handed over a $20 right there for the privilege of entering one of those teeny tiny little cubical outhouses but the lady showed us mercy and let us go through anyway.  I don't know if I can fully describe to you how small these stalls were.  I'm not exaggerating when I say that the toilet seat was two inches from the stall door.  There were very small corners on either side where you could conceivably fit your legs.  So it's really not surprising that they had to post this sign in each stall...

On to the next stop...
Stockholm, Sweden
This was my FAVORITE.  I loved Stockholm and could imagine being perfectly happy spending our entire week there.  Someday maybe we'll go back.

So we bookended our cruise with two 1 1/2 day stays in Copenhagen.  During our last stay I was determined to go to a flea market.  Don't ask me why but I've always wanted to do this.  Nancy had two local friends who met up with us and showed us around so we did find a flea market and I DID buy something...
 no, not these pictures but aren't they cool?  I love antiques because I feel that the history and story behind them (whether I know them or not) adds to their beauty.  How much more fabulous to look through antiques in a place like Denmark!

I'm a sucker for little silver spoons.  I found some that have that little Danish crown on them and was happy as a clam!
Seth wasn't as excited as we wereheh heh heh!

Overall, it was an amazing trip.  Jeff took a personal recordbreaking 3500 photos.  We had a great time with our friends.  We even got plenty of sleep at night.

When we got home we got to see this...

and there's nowhere in the world I'd rather be.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

For Grandma Julia...

Mmmmm...hamburger helper!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Wardrobe Malfunction

Not quite sure how this happened.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Grandpa Leon

I've waited awhile to write this post because...well...seems like there's been so much loss in our family lately, I've been dreading facing the reality of it.  Besides, I don't want this to turn into a blog about grief.  Last month I lost my darling grandpa...Leon Forrest Waldron.  He lived 92 blessed years on this earth and is now with our Heavenly Father.  I was just printing up some pictures for my cousins, two of his first grandchildren, and they're so adorable that I thought I'd share them.

Grandpa Leon & Cousin Kymmie

Wasn't he handsome?!  He was the dearest, sweetest, gentlest soul.  To be honest, I wish I had known him better.  He was always the quietly loving, hardworking, kind grandpa who spent time creating in his workshop and was always quick to do whatever my grandma asked of him.  I'll always miss his "Hello, hello" greeting as we walked through the door of their home...the way he called me "darlin" and gave me big smooches even when the alzheimer's had progressed and he probably didn't really know who I was anymore...just his sweet presence.  

Grandpa Leon & Cousin Mark

Looking forward to seeing you again someday Grandpa!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Ta Daaaa!!!

With the exception of cushions and window dressings that we have yet to pick out for the dining area of the kitchen, we are DONE!!!  These aren't the greatest photos but, hey, this is no design blog either! 

As you can tell, we are moved in and making full use of our new kitchen.  Somehow, there are still things missing but I'm sure they will turn up soon enough.
Notice how we finally get to display Jeff's bundt pan collection?  Nice, huh?  (Did you even know my husband HAD a bundt pan collection?!)

And THIS is my pantry/laundry room/wrapping center/former kitchen!!!  I LOVE this room!!!

So I took all the dishes out of the buffet that is sitting in our living room and filled it with Sam & Wes's toys instead.  Another bonus of the kitchen being completed is that we now have our living room, dining room and patio back.  Oh, it's been so nice to be able to WALK through the house instead of CLIMB through (over the mountains of boxes and stuff).
Here the boys have pulled out all their toys and decided it's a great place to play.
It is just exactly big enough in there for them to stand up and stomp around.  Wish I could figure out how to load the darn video on here.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Caught in the Act

Wesley found a stray crayon and did a little tagging while we weren't looking.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Exploring Our Feminine Side

Okay, now usually I can't get the boys to keep a hat on their head.  They wouldn't take this one off!!!  I wonder if they still have these at Target.  I may want to get a couple.

Picking flowers.
"Awww!  For me?!  Thanks Sam!"

I took the boys for a playdate with Miss Avery and they had lots of fun playing with all her great toys!

Here's Sammy dragging the pink wagon around the yard.

And here are both of my boys screaming and crying over who gets to have...not the girl...but the pink wagon!!!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Thoughts on Gloria

So I now have all of my appliances installed and working in my kitchen and have begun the process of moving in.  My new kitchen is coming together...and I am coming unglued.

Grief is such a strange and unpredictable thing.  I can go an entire week and think that I'm doing just fine.  My standard answer when people ask how I'm doing is "I'm okay."  And really, I do believe this when I say it.  But every once in a while, I'll be in some inopportune place (say at a barbeque in someone's backyard) and a friend will innocently ask, "How are you?"  And just as my canned answer is about to come out of my lips...WHAM!  A rogue wave of grief BODY SLAMS me and I suddenly find it difficult just to breathe much less answer the question.  I try desperately to distract myself as the tears well up in my eyes and hope that the person asking doesn't notice the thickness in my voice as I lie..."I'm okay."

It's just never the right time or place.   I see my children wail and cry in such a satisfying display of raw emotion over something as simple as his brother taking his toy, and I can't seem to allow myself to do the same...just let it all out.  Instead it slips out a little here, a little there.  I know it takes time and not much has passed since my beautiful auntie left us.  I guess you can't schedule grief.  You just have to roll with it when it comes.

One of my favorite books to read to the boys says at the very end "And if I had a million days, and time enough for all the praise, I couldn't tell you all the ways I love you." So today I'm going to write about one of the many things I loved about Auntie Gloria.  Here's a really important one: she always strove to be beautiful on the inside as well as the outside.

When Gloria was a young child, my grandmother quickly saw that she was going to be exceptionally beautiful.  Not wanting her to grow up spoiled by her looks, she would tell her "Pretty is as pretty does." Isn't that smart?  I believe Gloria really took Grandma's wise words to heart.

My mother recently shared with me that when she was little she asked her older and wiser sister "How do you make friends?" and Gloria answered, "Well, you just smile at everyone."  How sweet is that?  That is exactly what I always saw her do.  She smiled and she listened and she responded graciously to others even when they were not being so nice themselves.  I have often heard stories of how much people liked her who didn't even know her well.

Like the man who used to go to my church.  When he found out my mom was Gloria's sister he felt compelled to share that he had always liked her...that even though he wasn't one of the popular kids, she was always nice to him.  That may seem small, but her kindness must have really impacted him to remember that decades after the fact.

This picture cracks me up because it is so pouty and so NOT the way I ever remember my auntie being.  She was known as Allison by now and had begun her career in modeling.

At her memorial, which was beautiful by the way, the one thing that was said the most about her was that she was a great listener and truly cared about what was going on in other peoples lives...that it was so apparent that their happiness was really important to her.  No surprise that this was my experience with her as well.

I had the blessing and privilege of working with my auntie for several years.  She is the one who got me the job where I still work to this day.  I treasure the times I got to spend with her that never would have happened had I not taken that job.  I got to know her not only as an aunt, but as a friend.  Sometimes we would go out to lunch to catch up on life, but most of the time, we would just talk here and there as we went through our day.  And she would always take time to really listen to how I was doing and what was going on in my life.  Which leads me to wonder, did I do the same for her???

(Here she's holding my children with her daughter, Kym.)

I am often so distracted while talking to others, especially these days with toddlers running in different directions at all times.  If I take my attention off of them for a heart beat, one of them inevitably ends up taking a nose dive off of some unacceptably high place.  Scrapes and bruises, bellows and tears ensue.  No.   I need to set aside purposeful time and work to really listen to the people around me.  I want to be more like Gloria(or Allison as I came to know her at work).  I want people to walk away from a conversation with me feeling listened to and cared for.  Something to strive for.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Coming Soon...

Here's a picture of my almost kitchen...

Tomorrow I get my refrigerator and dishwashers.  Now to begin the daunting task of figuring out how to organize my cupboards.  And, of course, I'm going to have to change the way I shop and cook from pre-packaged, microwaveable to real recipe ingredients.  Wooohoo!!!

Monday, July 5, 2010

18 months already???

The boys turned 18 months last week.  Jeff took them for their doctor visit by himself!  Super Dad!!!

Of course I had to send him with a page full of questions for the doctor and instructions to write EVERYTHING down.  He was very dutiful and I received a page full of notes at the end of the day.

Here's a recent picture of the boys since I haven't posted any for awhile...

We can now officially move them into front facing car seats.  We've really pushed it keeping them in the infant seats for so long but boy did we get our money's worth out of those!  Besides, at their last appointment Sammy was just a hair shy of the required 20 lbs to be able to be forward facing.  Now we are on the hunt for the perfect seats that will last them a long long long long time...seeing as kids apparently need boosters till they practically graduate highschool these days!!!  Especially our two who continue to be very little for their age.  I think they ended up in the 25th percentile for height (5th for weight).  But they've got gigantic brains cuz their head size is in the 50th and 60th!  Ha ha!  

My little bobble heads!