Saturday, December 31, 2011

A trip to remember

Three Parts:
I have been so fortunate to be in Utah with my family for the last few weeks. I have known for a long time that my 92 year old grandmother's health was fading and she wouldn't have too much time left, and really wanted to be able to attend her funeral in Utah with my mom and sisters. I also really liked the idea of spending the Holidays with my family in Utah. I couldn't fly out twice so had to choose Christmas or the unknown time of whenever my grandmother's health gave way. I chose Christmas for several different reasons and arrived on December 18th.

Part One:
cousins, tv, and trays with grilled cheese.  ahh, the life.
a little tv at great-grandmas house
On the morning of the 19th, Erin and I were getting ourselves and our kids ready to go visit Grandma, when we got the call from our aunt that Grandma had just died. Sadly, I didn't get to say goodbye to her. When we got to the house, I did get to see her and almost didn't recognize her. Her health had robbed her of so much and she was down to just skin and bones. My last memory of her alive was when we visited in June and we were at a dinner at her country club, a staple on any trip to visit :). She was dressed nice, adorned with her beautiful jewelry, and had her hair and make up looking sharp, as always. Her eye sight and hearing was poor, but it was still grandma, and she was still in control. She was still going to work almost every day at the company she built with my grandfather decades ago. A few months later her health really plunged and my mom and sisters were there for the ups and downs. Because I live so far away, I wasn't there for any of it, which was hard to feel helpless when I knew help was needed. I am sure she would want us to remember the good times and the happy memories, rather than think of the frail woman that she had become at the end. I love my Grandma and cherish the memories with her. She loved her family and worked hard with and for them. We had her funeral on Thursday, 12/29 and it was very nice to celebrate her life with loved ones. So it turned out, my choice to come out for Christmas was a good one so I could be with most of my family for Christmas AND my sweet Grandma's funeral.
Side note: I was thrilled to see my dads brother Norman at the viewing and funeral. I gave him a big hug and didn't want to let go. I think that must be because he is a living connection to my dad. Or, I just love him and was happy to see him since I thought he'd be out of town! My dad often referred to Norman as Tio Magnifico (magnificent uncle) and called himself Tio Feo (ugly uncle) :). I was happy to see my Tio Magnifico! Funerals are sad, but they really bring people together in a good way.
Jamie with our cousin Melissa and Amy and Evi at Grandmas viewing
Dad was at the funeral.  Evi sat by her Papa.

Cousin Caitlin at the funeral


Playing games in Grandma's basement after the funeral

we love love love the player piano.  many hours of fun have been spent here.

Grandma was a golfer, so we had chocolate golf balls to snack on :).  Just had to watch out for the real ones.

Part Two:
Monday night 12/19, Evi went with her cousins next door to jump on the trampoline. A little while later, Katey, the next door neighbor, carried a crying Evi back to our house saying she got jumped on and hurt her leg. I gave her some medicine to help with the pain, and she calmed down enough that she seemed ok, and I put her to bed like normal. Like any mom with a chance for a kid-free trip to the store, I left the baby monitor with my sister after the kids were in bed and headed out for some Christmas things. After just a short time I got a call saying Evi was crying saying her leg hurt. Thus begun the saga of something that I thought was nothing. I contemplated taking her to the emergency room, but she seemed ok enough. Definitely hurt and sore, but still ok. Although she wouldn't walk, she crawled and scooted and seemed to use her leg. In fact the day I was first going to take her to the emergency room, she was limping a little, so I thought she was getting better. Long story a little bit shorter, she really never improved and I was carrying her everywhere or she was scooting/crawling.
On Monday, 12/26, I took her to the emergency room and the doctor consulted with the radiologist on her xray, and they weren't sure if it was a break or not on the outside of her lower leg (bend in the bone that could have been a fracture OR just the way her bones were growing). They put her in a splint and told us to go to the fracture center on Wednesday.
12/28: The doctor at the fracture center asked her where it hurt, she pointed to a spot just below her knee, and then he pointed at the x-ray and showed me the fracture in the exact spot she pointed to. The doctor and radiologist in the ER missed it, and therefore splinted her leg wrong, so I am very glad that we went to the fracture center.  The doctor said they call this injury the "trampoline fracture" because they get so many of these in their office.
I had asked Erin before this incident why she doesn't have a trampoline (since A LOT of people in Utah do), and she said she wasn't a fan of broken bones and injuries. Hmm, now I see why. Now my sweet baby girl has a purple cast from her upper thigh to her ankle. But the glorious thing is that she is finally walking again-albeit awkwardly. AND I opted to pay for the waterproof liner since she has to be in it for three weeks and I couldn't imagine how to clean my child while keeping her entire leg dry. I made my appointment at children's hospital in DC to get it removed at the right time, so hopefully all of this will go smoothly. And hopefully she'll be able to walk normal again! Another great plus now that she has this cast, her personality is back. She was so grumpy and mean that first week and it was really hard on me. No wonder, the poor girl was in pain! Very soon after getting the cast on, I noticed her personality change for the better and was so glad to see her laughing and joking again. So so glad. I am just sad we pretty much lost a week that she could have been having more fun with her family (but, the fracture center only takes cases like this on Wednesdays apparently, so unless we went the night she hurt it or the next day, we still would have gotten the cast at the same time). Whew. Believe it or not, that long story is missing a lot of details :). I could have just said she broke her leg jumping on a trampoline, but what fun is that?

Part Three:
We are on vacation!  Although this may not be a typical relaxing vacation with all the other stuff going on, being with family has been great.  Evi got a much needed hair cut also, and this time, it was not a result self styling, but more so a result of all summer in the pool :).  I was glad to spend Christmas with a house full of people that I adore.  I am happy to send 2011 out the door and hope for a bright 2012.  Life is what we make it, so I try to remind myself to look for the good in every day.  Sometimes it's easier than others, but it's certainly a good goal.  I adore my kids and am so glad to spend this time with them surrounded by wonderful people that we just don't get enough of.  Thank you to the Browns for making this possible and making the end of 2011 absolutely fabulous.  I am not looking forward to heading back to reality this week, so I am soaking it all in here while I can.  Mom, sisters, cousins, extended family....all of it.  I am so glad we were able to come.

Christmas morning with stocking goodies

Jamie had fun with new slippers

Jamie and Grandma

Jamie in Evi's new snow boots.  Evi in her new ballerina outfit AND Tim's new gun. Perfect.

mmmm, Cake Pops!  Thanks Santa!!
I offered to put this on the big TV, but all 5 kids were content here.

Jame Jame with Aunt TT at dinner

Starting to clean out Grandmas house.  She had fabulous clothes and really never got rid of any of them (I called one BEDROOM in her house the "walk in closet", since that was where many (not even close to all) of her clothes were kept).  This purse was from the 60's easily.  The shoes are a perfect match.  The awesome blue purse was one of sesveral just like it (also found in red, black and white).  This picture was the first of MANY fun dress up outfits while working.  Although, the rest of the pictures were recorded on Kristin's camera.  If I get copies, I may have to post.
Evi wanted in on the dress up action too.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Normal

What is normal, anyway?  After my dad died 2009, I said I needed to figure out what the "new normal" was.  Everything was turned upside down and I had to figure out daily life without my dad around.  It has certainly been hard, and I miss him all the time.  I even hate to admit that it has become normal without him here.  Trips to Utah are not the same because he is not there.  But sadly I am used to that now.  Although on my next trip out there, it will be even more different, because my mom sold their house and moved into an easier-to-manage apartment closer to family.  So maybe that won't be normal.  Anyway....again I am facing life changes and figuring out the new normal, again.  Maybe that is what life is like when you are a grown up.  Or maybe that is just what life is like when you face challenges?
A couple that used to be in my ward at church were facing some HUGE challenges. They had been married about a year, and his cancer (diagnosed at age 17) which had been in remission returned with gusto. He had a healthy perspective on life and did not take things for granted as he faced so many challenges at such a young age. He had great zeal and zest for life and adored his wife. His cancer returned and ultimately took his life at a super young age. I could write so much more about them, and more thoughts I had. But to say the least, it made me look at myself--what do I take for granted and how am I living my life?
Life has been very hard for me lately. It has for awhile now. I want so badly to be 'normal' again. But I guess 'normal' is what I make it. I have had moments where I have kept all of my hard times to myself. I have also had times where I could share thoughts and feelings with friends and loved ones, and have seen that makes all the difference in my well being. It is up to me, and I think that's how I can find that 'new normal' and press forward with a positive outlook. Life is always changing and we are going to continue to have challenges placed in front of us. I joke that God has a lot for me to learn, because he keeps giving me challenges to overcome! Someday I will be gratful for this hard time. I am becoming stronger and will hopefully have learned some valuable life lessons when all is said and done :).
One thing that has helped me lately is knowing that God loves me. He will not give me challenges that I can not get through. Yet I think I have also learned that when something seems very difficult and unable to face, He places people in our lives to help us when we can't do it alone. The Savior is always there for us and can carry us when we can't walk, and sometimes we have actual people to step in and figuratively carry us. I have learned that one of the things I am NOT good at is asking for help. Even though I have learned it, I am still not very good at it, but I am so grateful for loving people who have been angels in my life.
So whats the point of writing all this? I have just been thinking lately about how I want things to go back to normal again. Well, 1) in due time...........and in the mean time 2) it's all in what I make of it! :).

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Adventure Day Downtown

Thanks to a friend and her great thinking, we took
 an adventure downtown today.  Danielle let me know that the Butterfly exhibit at the Natural History Museum was free on Tuesdays, and since we already LOVE that museum as it is, it was set.  Evi has been asking to ride the train (metro) for a long time, and just last week she asked if we could go to a museum.  We did go to the teeny tiny exhibit from the Greenbelt Museum that is on display in the Community Center last week, but how great that we could also see another [huge] one today.  I got all dressed and set to go, decided that I would only take a single stroller rather than lug my mammoth double jogger around the metro and museum.  BUT, just before I left, Danielle gave me motivation when she said she was jogging to the metro.  I changed, lugged out the mammoth, loaded the girls in and ran to the station that is farther from my house, because the easy option was just too close if I wanted to actually get somewhat of a run in :).  I haven't run with both girls since August and that stroller was heavy, but I still really enjoyed it.  I am so grateful for some nice weather in November to make this even possible! AWESOME.

Riding the train with my babies??  AWESOME.  Evi stared out the window the whole time, even leaned on my arm part of it.  She would excitedly point things out to me along the way and keep track of the stops.  Jamie sat still on my lap the whole time (!).  I think it may have been Jamie's first trip on the train.
Museum??  AWESOME, as always.  Evi and her friend Liam (both 4 years old) were so excited to see everything together and were and fun to watch!  Jamie and Elsie (who were born one day apart), on the other hand would wander in different directions so us moms would often split: one with the 4 year olds and one with the 1 year olds :).  After walking through the exhibit on evolution/cavemen (not sure what it's called), Evi pointed out that the display was of "People Monkeys".  When watching a movie, there was a statue of an chimpanzee in the middle of a bench.  I tried to have the kids sit by it so I could take their picture, and Evi thought it was a "people monkey" and was frightened.  I guess this means the museum did a great job of making their displays lifelike? 
Of course we went to the "Papa's Rocks" (gems and minerals) exhibit.  Sweet Jamie found a seat,

interestingly on one of the amethyst displays.  If you didn't know my dad or were never in my house, he loved amethysts and had many on his own display.  She is named after him, after all, and maybe he was there with us, or at least her.  Or just maybe she is going to be like him?  Or just maybe it was a sweet coincidence :)!
Butterfly exhibit??  EQUALLY AWESOME.  One of the better butterfly houses I have seen (ok, I think I have only been in 3 or 4).  Butterflies of all colors and sizes and while we were instructed not to touch them, they were apparently not instructed not to touch us :).  One landed on Danielle's camera while taking a picture and one landed on Evi's head!  He did NOT want to get off her hair either.  I had to work to get him out of her hair while touching him as little as possible.  It might have scared her a little at the time, but she later told me she loved being in there!  Jamie was excited about them also.

Just being downtown in general was great; I love being on the mall.  It is so familiar to me even though I don't often go anymore.  We saw specs atop the Washington Monument--workers assessing/fixing (?) damage from September's earthquake.  The Monument is closed indefinitely while work is being done to stabilize the structure, but I hope they can get it fixed so people can go to the top once more.  The kids also rode the Carousel after our museum adventure.  At this point in the day, we had been out for hours, and kids (read: Evi) were reaching their tipping points.  I wanted a picture with my girls in front of the monument.  Well, my stubborn child only wanted to be in a picture with Liam, NOT me.  So we tried to be slick--took one of her with Liam, then I stood in and Danielle got Liam out.  But, Evi saw what we did, and the picture reveals how she felt about it!  Sigh.
The ride home was not as smooth.  Tired Jamie did not want to sit still, Evi was a bit of a nut on the somewhat crowded train, but you take the good with the bad.  We had an awesome day, so a rocky ride home is ok.  Plus, we still got off at the College Park station rather than Greenbelt, so I could still have a longer jog home.  Perfect ending, so I wouldn't end stressed.

Then what to do on a Tuesday night, after being out all day and nothing cooked for dinner?  Why, family night at Chick Fil A, where you get a free kids meal with an adults meal purchase.  Score.  They have crafts and books and fun stuff for the kids, the cow comes out and gives balloons, and kids can run around and have fun.  We enjoyed our time there, and then it was an easy bedtime for the kids once we got home.

It was a long day, but FUN.  All day we kept singing the theme song from the Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot about That (if you haven't watched this on PBS, you're missing out on a catchy song :) ).  "Here we go go go go, on an adventure......."   I am so glad I had an adventure day with my girls and can't wait until the next one!
Bonus pictures of my cuties before church in matching outfits

Thursday, November 10, 2011

My Babies

So I am pretty bad at updates lately, but as I was looking through my pictures tonight, I couldn't resist adding a couple new shots of my girls.


It turns out that Jamie loves pudding!


Happy Halloween!
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Sunday, October 9, 2011

Ragnar Relay 2011


Fabulous reflective vest and head lamp. 
I couldn't resist the chance for a fabulous photo!
Here are my thoughts on my ragar race.  It is long, but I had a great experience with it and wanted to write it all down.  If you didn't read the previous post, do that now and it'll explain this race. 

I ran my first leg (7.3 miles) in 1:10, my second (7.4 miles) in 1:09, and my third (4.8miles) in 37:27. On my first run, the sun set and I did probably half of it in the dark. I had a hard time figuring out my borrowed head lamp for the first 10 or so minutes that it got dark. 2.2 miles of it was straight UP HILL, and before that it was up and down like intervals :). My team cheered me on, as did other vans and other runners. I wore a "fuel belt" for the first time that carried water and my phone (since I would be in the dark I wanted to have that to be safe). I realized too far into the run that it was too tight and the water bottles that were pushing against my back were doing harm. I was only passed by men and ran past a few women. It was a challenge, and I am really glad it ended after a downhill and flat surface! I was lifted in the darkness and pushed through my challenges. It was such a rush to finish that first leg.


In between my first and second races, we stopped for the night. The van was parked, but no sleeping was done. It was too loud and too much was going on. I was able to chat with a friend on the phone for awhile, which was very nice considering I couldn’t sleep anyway! It was at this stop that I had another spiritual experience. We only had two men on our team, and as I said before that my team was comprised of all members of my church. Most of us didn’t know each other, but that didn’t matter. Two of the women on my team were feeling really bad and the guys we had were awesome, and really helped them. We were able to have a special prayer for them and it really made a difference for them, and they were able to run their races and feel strong. I am moved and touched when I see men who honor their responsibilities and can be prepared at any time and in any place to be of assistance. Much thanks to them and our whole team. It was a moving and motivating experience for me.

My second run was hard. I felt like I gave everything in my first, and didn’t have enough left. At this point I was wondering what the heck was I doing?? I started in the early hours of the morning so it was still dark. Much of the course was through quiet country roads lined with woods and farms (and still much of it was hilly! I thought I did all the hills the first time!). Could be fine if it wasn’t pitch black! As I started running, I put my music on, but then heard rustling in the woods and decided to keep alert and go without the music, AND run in the middle of the road! Other than being slightly frightened about what might have been tracking me in the woods, I really enjoyed the peaceful solitude of the run. I listened to the crickets chirp, looked at the massive sky full of stars, and did a lot of thinking. Some men passed me, which I was ok with, then a couple of women passed me, which I didn’t like. Then I had to come to the realization—I am running MY race and doing MY best. It didn’t matter what anyone else is doing and I can’t compare myself to anyone here. I enjoyed my moment and was really glad for my time in the dark of night. I found my own light while there. Because I was in some winding country roads, I didn’t actually get to see the gradual sun rise. More like it was dark, then all of the sudden it was light. Really. At some point, when I felt like I was going pretty slow, a woman came up behind me and was going to pass. We started chatting, I ran faster, and we ended up jogging together and supporting each other to the finish. What a great comfort this gave me! To know I could do it alone, but to have someone else there really lifted me and almost carried me to the finish and gave me that extra umph I needed to push through. Oh, and about the fuel belt from the first leg: the bottles bruised my back and I was reminded of my novice mistake for the rest of the race with my back hurting!

A few hours and no sleep later, it was time for my last run. I would cover Virgina, D.C., and Maryland in my last leg.  Initially I thought I would breeze through it. My first two races were over 7 miles; this one was 4 so I would push hard. But I reminded myself it wasn’t actually 4, it was closer to 5 miles and it would probably take me about 45 minutes. That realization apparently didn’t stay with me when I started the race BLAZING through. I passed a woman, was booking it around the streets of Alexandria, VA, then soon realized I was going to fade fast. The woman I passed came up and we chatted a bit. She told me she couldn’t keep up with me but would stay with me as long as she could. I laughed and told her I was going to fade fast and started too strong, and to feel free to pass if she needed to. We seemed to make a good team and together we pushed ourselves. She was amazing and in her 40’s. We were running across the Woodrow Wilson Bridge and it was feeling mighty long to me and I was feeling the fatigue. She would speak little motivating things to me, such as, “we’re just going to get to that girl up there. Let’s get there”. So we got to that girl and kept going, and found a new goal to get to. It was such a valuable experience for me. My short little legs were flying, faster than ever I think. With about ½ a mile to go, I really couldn’t keep up with her anymore and thanked her, told her to go ahead and I would come up behind her. I kept pushing and finished STRONG. My team was waiting there for me since I was the last runner and we would all go across the finish line together. It was so AWESOME. One of the guys on my team was a little ahead of me actually, and I even said to him, “let me finish first”. It was such an accomplishment for me to push that hard and I had to finish strong and see it through. I ran faster than I knew was possible for a considerable distance and finished 4.8 miles in 37 minutes. Then to top it off, the finish was in the National Harbor which is the new home to the Awakening Statue, which I have LOVED since I was a teenager.

I was lifted; I was carried; I was illuminated. I was naive and made mistakes. I wore my fuel belt too tight in my first race and had pain for the rest of the time. I compared myself to others and had to remember that it doesn’t matter what anyone else does, because this is MY race. I enjoyed God’s great creations and soaked in some great moments of solitude in nature while only hearing crickets and the sound of my own two feet on the pavement. I started way too strong and was carried when I couldn’t handle it anymore. I accomplished what I set out to do, and thanks to the support of others, was able to surpass my own expectations. It was really a beautiful experience and I would so do it again. I taught a lesson on fasting the next day and could tie so much in. Not focused on the lack of eating, but on the fact that it is individual and we want to do all we can to accomplish our goal. God loves us and wants us to succeed and will give us support when we need it. He only cares about OUR best and doesn’t want us comparing ourselves to others. If we start out something to hard and too fast, he can be there to help us when we fade. Or if we are too na├»ve and don’t quite get the magnitude of what we are doing, He is there.  God wants us to try and to hang in there even when it is tough.

I had a great experience doing this race.  If you are even just a little crazy, it might be the perfect kind of race for you :). A friend on the team took lots of photos and I took very few! If I ever get them, I may post them.  Below is in the hand in "The Awakening" after the finish.


Time Flies

Myrtle Beach 7/2011
I have been pretty bad about keeping up my blog for awhile.  I feel like summer FLEW by.  I know I was there, and I know I LOVED it.  But is it really already gone?? YES, and it is October?!?  I am so glad we have had mostly nice days so far in the fall, but I admit that I dread the winter.  But I do love the change of seasons and can look at the bright side!

Since fall started, we have gotten into the swing of pre-school for Evi.  She is going to the same place she went last year and loves it.  We saw her two teachers all summer since it is in the same department that I work in, and they both worked with the camps and brought kids to the pool.  Evi adores them and was usually pretty excited to see them (because, let's be real, she IS 4 and not always happy).  One day, in June maybe after school was out, we jogged past the building her classroom is in.  Evi asked me if that was going to be her school forever and then told me she couldn't wait to go there again.  So September was a happy time for us, since she got to go back :).  Several of her friends from last year are there with her again, and a friend from church is there also.

I also signed Evi up for a dance class once a week.  She is so energetic and already loves to dance, so I thought it would be a good fit.  She did ask if she could take a dance karate class (where she would do karate WHILE dancing) but I wasn't able to find one of those.  Go figure. :)  So far she is loving that.  Jamie doesn't mind playing on the park outside the building during class either. 

eating only the red blackberries, and loving them!
Jamie is now 17 months and is growing up faster than I expected.  For quite some time she has been comprehending so much more than I thought she would be able to and it's fascinating to watch her.  She has a little grunt she does when answering in the affirmative and will often shake her head to say no.  She recently started folding her arms and bowing her head when we say prayers.  A couple of months ago, right after I finished changing her diaper she got up, took her dirty diaper and took it right to the trash.  She gets her shoes when I tell her we are leaving.  And I am constantly reminded I need to do better with sign language with her, because she is doing some of the few I have taught her.  I could keep going, but the point is I am loving spending time with this girl.

I see the great importance of one on one time with each of my girls.  I adore them both so much and they are in such different stages in their lives.  Evi has been getting homework once a week, and I actually love doing it with her.  She enjoys it and gets a great feeling of accomplishment and I think she likes to show off what she does at school.  They grow up so fast and sometimes I just want to slow down and drink them in.  Love my beauties.

Well, other than working, the big thing I did recently was run a RAGNAR RELAY RACE.  Really, it's an INSANE race, that I think only INSANE people do.  It is a nearly 200 mile relay race on a team of 12 people, and it started in Cumberland, Maryland and ended in Washington DC (actually, that's what they said, but we ended in MARYLAND due to a course change!  But the race was still called the Washington, D.C. Ragnar ;).  HA!).  The crazy part is that it is non-stop for over 24 hours.  And if you are lucky you sleep.  If you are somewhat normal, you don't because it's tough.  The short version: 12 people split in 2 vans.  Each person runs 3 times, all lengths are different.  My 3 race lengths were 1) 7.3 miles 2) 7.4 miles and 3) 4.8 miles.  Although I tried to sleep, I was unsuccessful.  Several times I reminded the other 5 people in my van that we were all nuts for doing this.  It was a BLAST.  But we were still nuts for doing it.  I WOULD do it again.  But I am still nuts for wanting to :).  I had a very spiritual experience doing this race.  I was able to tie in a valuable connection from my race to the lesson I had to teach in Sunday school the next day.  I was lucky to do this race on a team that each person was a member of my own religious faith, so we actually did have some spiritual discussions.  I have a new post just for the race, so I'll list that separately.

Now the race is over and I feel super motivated to run a marathon.  We shall see what is in store.

Oh, and I can't forget that we went camping at Assateague Island over Labor Day weekend with the Heaths.  I was able to leave Jamie home and just went with Evi and it was fantastic.  We had a great time together and it was wonderful to not chase a toddler around the beach and deal with diapers and naps and all of that.  So Evi and I had a fantastic date at the beach with our best friends! 

I am, again having difficulty with pictures, surprise surprise.  But at least this time I got a bunch on before the difficulty started.  I just can't format them well, but at least they are here!



Sunday, August 21, 2011

Summertime

This is my favorite time of year!  Therefore, I haven't been blogging much.  It will be impossible for me to recant my whole summer, but here are a few fun things.
I worked this summer coordinating the swim lesson program at the pool and it has been great!  I really love the job and the people I get to see every day (parents, kids AND the great people I work with).  One great aspect of the job, which made it a possibility for me in the first place was that I could take the kids with me.  At times it was a lot to juggle, but I work with some outstanding friends who helped me with the kids when I needed it.  As a result of most of our days spent at the pool, Evi is a fantastic swimmer now!  Really, I mean it.  She goes in the 9 feet and has no problem.  WHAT?  Yahoo for my water baby!!  She still won't really let me teach her anything, but fortunately she listened to her instructors in the lessons, at least some of the time!  At the staff end of summer party/cardboard boat race, she shocked many people by showing up in the middle of the pool (where it was about 5 feet deep).  One of the lifeguards actually dove in to help her, then got there and realized she didn't need any help.  It made me so happy to see my baby out there swimming.  I would love to see her actually do the proper strokes, but, hey, she's only 4.  The rest will come!  Jamie loves the pool too, but didn't get quite as many opportunities to swim as her older sister did.  But she seemed quite fearless on many occasions by squirming out of my arms in the pool to submerge herself.  She is comfortable in the water, and that's what I like.

Miss Independent x2

So in summary about the job--two thumbs up!  I loved it, I think it was good for the kids too.  It made for a busy summer, but not too busy to at least take a couple trips!  In May we went to Utah and in July we went to Myrtle Beach.  I am just a beach bum and feel at home when I am at a beach.  The calming sound, the breeze, the smells; I love it all.  More good news, Evi and Jamie both seem to feel the same way!  Only, there was a pool in the community we stayed in, and then Evi seemed to prefer the idea of that!  Ugh!  Evi had a really high fever while we were there and that kept us inside quite a bit for a few days, and Jamie's naps didn't always coincide with when we could all be at the beach.  All this beach bum of a mom wanted was family time at the beach!  It was limited, but there were a few occasions that we built some 'mower moments' together out at the beach.  It seemed that the most fun we had playing in the sand and water were the spontaneous times when no one intended on swimming.  But taking kids to the beach in dry clothes is just a silly idea to begin with!  Oh yea, and it was at Myrtle Beach that Jamie finally decided to walk full-time (at 13 months--just barely shy of 14 months)!  Yahoo!  No more skinned knees and ripped pants from all the crawling!
We took both kids to see fireworks this summer and it actually was a lot better than I expected.  Although it was loud, it didn't scare them too much and we loved watching with our extended family the Heaths :).  I got them matching shirts that say, "Miss Independent".  Knowing my kids, I couldn't resist :).

We took a spontaneous trip to the zoo a few days ago, and it's fun to see Jamie getting into things and excitedly pointing out animals.  I think the last time we took them Jamie wasn't super in to it.  Evi is quite a fun girl to be around.  Sometimes it's the opposite, but most of the time, it's really fun to talk with her and explore with her, and listen to her imagination run wild (for example, she has 2 or 3 brothers she often speaks of).  She really is growing up so fast.

So it's been a busy and hot summer, but I loved it.  I can't believe that schools start tomorrow and summer is ending.  I miss my days in Hawaii, and crave the chance to move back there or to New Zealand (a remote possibility).  Aaahhhhh.  Likely that neither will happen, so we'll keep on keeping on.  One thing is for sure--wherever I am, I adore my two girls and have loved playing with them all summer!  Winter: please stay away as long as possible.  I would love an unseasonably warm fall and winter!

I don't seem to have luck with pictures and blogging.  It's not letting me open the upload link right now, so no more pictures for this post.  At least I made a new Header :).

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Pictures

For some reason, the pictures didn't come through on my original "Grandpa Week" post.  I have reposted them, and hopefully they'll work this time.  Hopefully more on the trip to come, but in all honesty, it may take awhile :).