Sunday, December 14, 2008

Christmas is coming.

Obviously. But it seems more real once all the parties and visits with Santa start happening. Our neighborhood grocery store was giving free pictures with Santa a few days ago, so we braved the crowds so the kids could meet the big man. Although, we tell them he's actually one of the real Santa's helpers because the real Santa is too busy up in the North Pole making his list and checking it twice. What do you tell your kids about all the Santas all over town?
This Santa was at our church Christmas brunch on Saturday, which we almost didn't make. Madeleine had a winter ballet recital at the same time as the ward party so of course we went to the dance recital. Well, I forgot my camera, but if I had brought it I would have gotten pictures of her on the stage with her class, not dancing. It was a rough morning. Our car had been broken into and tagged the night before and the one thing they managed to get away with was not the ipod or any Cd's, but Madeleine's ballet bag with her dance shoes inside. She was distraught and even though her teacher had shoes for her to wear, she didn't get over it enough to dance. If she decides to stay in ballet maybe we'll have better luck at the Spring recital. Anyway, luckily my dad was willing to chauffeur us around all day so the kids could sit on Santa's lap after the recital. Now I'm hoping they'll both be on their very best behavior so they can get actual presents instead of lumps of coal.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Thanksgiving 2008

The morning of Thanksgiving, my sister, Olivia, and I ran the Mesa Turkey Trot. It was a 10k and we ran it pretty well. Olivia totally left me in the dust, but I didn't mind. It was really a great way to start the day since I was planning to pig out (which I did end up doing, of course).
This is everyone we had at our house for the big day. All my brothers and sisters and their families, plus my grandma on my dad's side. Quite a crew, right? It was pretty crazy to have so many people in one place, but it was also a ton of fun! I know I always had such a fabulous time getting together with my cousins when I was a kid and I know my kids love it too! We've been able to get many of the Koernigs together for Thanksgiving for the past 3 years, but this was the first time in over 8 years that everyone has been together. For Black Friday, we skipped the shopping and did family pictures instead. We just had to get some nice photos to commemorate having all of us in one place.
Here's one of my faves of our little family.
And here's the Koernig kids. Brothers L-R: Andy, Ted, AJ, Bob. Sisters L-R: Rachel, Angela, Olivia, Maggie, Erika.

I'm still holding out hope that one day we can all live on the same block so we hang out whenever we want to. That would be the best!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

It's taken a while...

But I am finally feeling somewhat settled. Our room has been pretty much a dumping ground since we got here and I finally had had enough. Spencer helped me put up these shelves so we could get a little decor in our room. It's much nicer than the piles of junk that were here before. OK, there are still some piles, but they will be gone soon. I just have to find them a more permanent spot.
This week I also got around to putting these few things in our bathroom to liven up the space a bit. It makes such a huge difference! I almost want to stand around looking at my handiwork all day. Do you think Maddie and Ian would let me do that? Yeah, I don't think so either.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Another long awaited update

Here's the deal. In our house, our computer is in our bedroom as opposed to out in the center of all the action in the office/dining area like in our last place. Because of that, I'm not on the computer constantly like I was in California and that's why I update so infrequently. I hope I haven't lost any of my loyal friends/readers (ha ha, like I have loyal readers). Anyway, this post is going to be a long one. I hope you can stick it out.

This year for Halloween, Ian was Buzz Lightyear and Madeleine was Sleeping Beauty, a geisha, and Rapunzel. My favorite was Rapunzel but she only wore it to the gym the morning of Halloween (they had a costume contest--that she won!) and wouldn't wear it again that night. It's just as well though, since I have already decided that that will be her costume next year. Don't even suggest she might not go along with that. I'm the boss around here and what I say goes. Hopefully.
The festivities began a week before Halloween with a party at her ballet teacher's house for all the students. Of course she was thrilled to wear her Aurora costume, but I think she could have done without the party almost entirely. They made cotton candy at the end that won her over, but she basically wanted nothing to do with the games or the kids and especially not the haunted house.The next night, Jack from preschool, had a raging party at his house. Spencer was busy studying for first trimester finals so it was just me and the kids. Madeleine's preschool teacher loaned us a geisha robe to go with the wig I found on clearance last year.
Ian sure liked being Buzz Lightyear even though his ear kept sticking out his hood. At our ward Halloween party there was another kid in a Buzz costume. Ian kept following him around and wondering where "the real Buzz Lightyear" was. I guess that's kid's costume was more believable than Ian's. On Halloween night, Spencer was a skeleton and I was Medusa. I put snakes in my hair at least. Does that make me Medusa? Here's a close up: I kind of wish I could have found some snakes that weren't neon. Maybe something a little more realistic looking. Something that looked more snake-like and less gummi-worm-like. That was too much to hope for this year. We went trick-or-treating with Maggie and Mark and Lizzie and Jay and then went to our ward party. The kids loved trick-or-treating and playing games and eating at the party. I'm glad it's all over. There is a LOT to do around this time of year!

Ian got a potty. So far, there has been no action thereon, but we are hopeful. Madeleine is an eager teacher. By the way, pretend that my 2 year old doesn't have a pacifier in his mouth. That's something else we are working on. And by "working on" I mean I am thinking about finally getting rid of it for good, but obviously haven't done it yet.

Another new topic, after we moved here I quit LA Fitness and joined 24 Hour Fitness since there would be a location about 5 minutes from our house. Well, the new one opened yesterday and we checked it out today and it seemed like a piece of heaven. All the equipment is amazing, the place is huge, and they seem to literally have everything! The best thing of all is the kids club. It's enormous and has so much fun stuff! Mad said it's like Chuck E. Cheese's. She's right. They have a Wii station, an X-Box station, Dance Dance Revolution, a basketball hoop area, a basketball video game, etc. You get the idea. It's amazing! The kids already love going to the gym everyday, but I think they will be begging to go now.
Spencer totally rocked his first trimester of MBA school. He had this week off to rest up in preparation for the next term to start on Monday. It's been so nice to have him around and actually be able to talk to him!

Lastly, there is a new Ryan Adams album out that is so good! It's called Cardinology. Check it out.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Ian's Birthday

Our little man turned 2 on Monday! We had a fun party with a spaghetti dinner, cake and ice cream and all his cousins and aunts and uncles who live in the area. Ian was almost too tired to care about any of it. He recently learned how to climb out of his crib, so of course that was all he wanted to do. Especially at bedtime. I quickly took the crib side down and put on the toddler-bed side, but it took a few nights before he decided he didn't have to get out of bed in the night...and at nap time. Anyway, although he was tired, he enjoyed the festivities.He blew at the candles when it was time to blow them out, but his aim wasn't so hot. He got a little help from mom in getting the flames out.
Here's his Mater cake. Not an exact likeness, but you get the idea. I'm no Ace of Cakes, that's for sure.

Here's the birthday boy with his dad. I thought you might all like to see Spencer's shaved head. What do you think? Like it or not, the new do is here to stay.

Ian is such a fun kid! We are so blessed to have that sweet little man in our family! He is always making us laugh with his big vocabulary and grown up sayings. Happy birthday, Ian! We love you!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Field Trip!

On Friday, Madeleine and I got to go with her school on a field trip to the Hall of Flame Firefighter Museum. Let me just say I think her school is the coolest. It may be that I just don't know what to expect from pre-K, but I had no idea they would get to go on field trips and her teacher said they will probably do 4 this year. Another cool thing is that when they turn in their little homework assignments (on fire safety or water safety, etc.) they get a coupon for free Chik-fil-A. You know how I am about food, so that scores major points. She might be a little disconcerted that later in her schooling she no longer gets rewarded with food for doing her homework, but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it. Anyway, back to the field trip.She LOVED the bus ride! She was so excited that I think she would have been happy if the field trip started and ended with a ride on the bus. She is quite popular (at least I like to think so) so she had to sit on a seat with 3 other kids for a bit. Four little 4-year-olds on one bus seat is quite a sight. At the musuem, one of the guides read the kids a story about fire safety called No Dragons For Tea before taking them to this old fire truck they could climb and play on. They also had firefighter jackets and hats the kids could try on. They all took turns driving the truck, which was the highlight for most of them.

We had such a fun time and I am so glad I went so I could experience her first field trip with her!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Ian might be trying to send a message.

A few days ago, around 5:15am, Ian woke up asking for a bottle. Well, if he has a bottle, then he thinks the day has begun so I tried giving him his pacifier and hoping he would go back to sleep. All was quiet for a few minutes and I was thankful since I wanted to get some more sleep. My slumber was soon interupted again by his talking/whining about a bottle. Knowing that giving it to him would give me at least a little more sleep, I went to give it to him and found him with his pj bottoms pulled down, diaper off and pee soaked into all his clothes and blankets. Not what anyone would want at 5:30 in the morning, right? Alright, I give him a bottle, change him, and because I am still half asleep, I move him to a dry part of the bed with a dry blanket instead of changing the bedding right then. Bad mom, I know. Whatever. All of that bought me about two hours more sleep. Not bad expect that when I woke to his talking this time he was saying that he pooped, and indeed he had. Too bad he had taken his diaper off AGAIN before doing it. Gross!

Does this mean he is ready for potty training? What if I'm not ready? Does anyone want to do it for me? My wonderful mother-in-law got the ball rolling with Maddie's potty training after my pitiful attempts at it left us both too frustrated to make any progress. Any amazing potty training secrets I should know?

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Arizona Living

In case anyone missed it, we moved to Mesa, Arizona early in August so that Spencer can pursue an MBA at Arizona State University. I am pleased to say that I no longer have to manage an apartment building. It was wonderful while it lasted, but I am happy to be past it now. We are living with my parents and I am loving being in a house! I have lived in one apartment or another since I went away to school in 1997, except one summer living with my grandma. I would have to say my favorite thing about being in a house is having a washer and dryer. And having a back yard is a really close second. When we first got here I was so in love with being able do my laundry without hiking down the hall with six or more loads to wash after scrounging for enough quarters to wash it all. I was pretty sure I could happily do 3 loads of wash a night. Evidently that was the honeymoon phase of the relationship. I still love that I can do it here so easily, but I don't really love the folding and putting away aspect. Madeleine started ballet last month and I think she is one of the cutest ballerinas ever! She loves being in her ballet clothing most of all. Last time I saw her in class she was not actually dancing so I don't know if she likes the dancing part as much, but she is crazy about the clothes. Last week, the night before ballet she very carefully laid out her clothes so they would be all ready for her in the morning. She didn't want to be late.

Madeleine also goes to preschool 4 days a week. She has a really great teacher and lots of nice kids in her class too. She only goes from 12:15-3 in the afternoons, but they eat lunch and have a snack while they are there. Doesn't that seem like a lot of eating? Don't get me wrong, that's right up my alley since I love to eat, I just think it seems like a lot.
Ian is in a shoe phase right now. He's in Maddie's boots in this picture and some of her other shoes in the next one. The shoe phase is a long one, isn't it? Seems like he's been really into trying on our shoes for awhile now. Anyway, he loves playing in the backyard! He's gotten really good at climbing up one side of the jungle gym and down the other. The kids love having a back yard to go play in. I love it too! Being able to let them take their craziness outside now and then is wonderful! And as you can see, we are so lucky to have grass in our yard. Which is quite a luxury for living in the desert. We're on an irrigation system where we flood the yard every couple weeks to water it and one major side effect is tons of mosquitos. I mean TONS! I was out one night for about 15 minutes and got over 70 bites on my legs in that time. Disgusting! I looked diseased. And I guess I could have contracted West Nile virus or something, but I don't think I did. Maybe I should check the symptoms of that. Anyway, I think the city recently fumigated or something and that seems to have helped.
Madeleine is practicing gymnastics. She has also learned how to swing by herself. Also, we have been swimming at my sister's house a couple times a week and Maddie is quite the little fish! She is so great in the water! It's awesome. Oh yeah, and 'awesome' is Maddie's new favorite word. Everything is AWESOME!
Here's our little pretty boy. He probably will go through a time in his life when he won't like that we not only took this picture, but then showed it to everyone we know, but it's just so funny! He is such a boy in every way, but he plays around the house in girl shoes quite often. Such a funny kid.

I have been super lazy with taking pictures lately, so sorry for having only these boring ones to post. I am charging my camera battery right now and I am resolving to do better. I'll try to not neglect my blog like I have been.

We are missing all of our SoCal friends tons! Our new ward seems really nice and there are quite a lot of young families here so hopefully we can find some friends here to fill the void of moving away from so many great people. Miss you all!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Yosemite, July 2008

Just before moving, we had the chance to spend a few days in Yosemite for a Rands Family reunion. It was awesome! The Rands posterity is staggering. I think Spencer's grandparents have around 70 grandkids and great grandkids (Paul, please correct me if I'm wrong on that) and there will be plenty more to come. So this was perhaps the final extended family reunion since the families are becoming too big and spread out to get together. Anyway, lucky for us we were able to attend. I had been to Yosemite as a kid when my family lived in Fresno, but I had no memories of it and how amazing it is. Here are some pics from the trip.We spent quite a bit of time playing down by this bridge because it was really close to our cabins so it was the closest spot to cool down. You see how Ian is fighting being in my arms? He couldn't wait to get down and play. Shortly after this was taken he totally charged straight into the water with all his clothes on. I don't know what he was thinking because after he did it we could tell he wasn't happy about it.Little Madeleine and her super model poses. You can see that it was a bit hazy while we were there due to fires in the area.Ian was enjoying his new favorite pastime---throwing rocks. Unfortunately he was not able to discern the small rocks, which were okay to throw and the boulders that might actually hurt someone. That and he didn't seem to grasp the whole not-throwing-directly-at-people concept.It was so great to see Holly and meet her little guy, Noah! We hadn't seen Holly since her wedding in December of 2006, so it was an extra special treat for us that she and Noah were able to come. Of course we missed Mark, who couldn't be there since he just started medical school.
One morning, Spencer and I, along with Holly and Drew embarked on a hike to Vernal Falls. That's one of the shortest hikes on the way to Half Dome. I would love to hike Half Dome someday, but this trip was too short for me to feel good about abandoning the kids and everyone else for an entire day. Anyway, the hike up to Vernal Falls wasn't too long, but it was intense. Can you tell in this picture how steep these steps are? Spencer and Drew continued on to Nevada Falls after we reached Vernal, while Holly and I headed back to our kids. The way down was about as crazy as the way up. The day after we hiked Vernal, most of our group decided to go part way up with all the kids. I remembered it was paved up to the footbridge so we could push a stroller and it wouldn't be too terrible. Plus, we thought the kids would like it. We thought Madeleine could walk since it was less than a mile. Well, sure it was paved, but it was so steep! How could I have forgotten? It was less than 24 hours after I first did it! Let's just say Madeleine is not really into hiking. Or walking for more than about 5 minutes, period. If that. Spencer had to carry her in our child carrier backpack and Ian rode in the stroller. Once we reached the bridge the kids played around, ate snacks and reluctantly posed for a picture or two.

The whole trip was so great! It was a wonderful last hurrah for us to be with all of Spencer's family before we moved further away from most of them. Our kids always love seeing Grandpa Paul and Grandma Sandi as well as their cousins and aunts and uncles. Here's hoping we don't have to wait too long to do it again!

Friday, August 15, 2008

We made it.

Hello, all my lovely friends and family. We have made it to our new home in Arizona. We have actually been here a week now, but I have been SO busy trying to get our stuff and ourselves settled in that blogging about our arrival had to take a back seat. And this is kind of a sorry excuse for a posting, but whatever. Just wanted to let you know that we are here, we are getting settled, Spencer and Madeleine start school on Monday, and hopefully Ian and I will fall into some sort of routine by then also. We took a fabulous trip to Yosemite just before we moved so be on the lookout for a posting about that as well as more details about our move to AZ.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Family Pictures

A friend from our ward is a fabulous photographer and she did such a great job on family pics for us a couple years ago, so we decided we needed to get some new ones by her before we move.

Her name is Aida Rodriguez and you can check out her site at

We just did our shoot last night and she already provided a preview slide show. Here's the link to it:

It was kind of crazy, but a lot of fun and I think she got a lot of really great shots!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

A new post...finally!!

For all of you who have been saying to yourselves, "Geez, it's been a long time since Rachel posted anything. She better have a good excuse for letting her blog get so boring." I know there are loads of you who have been thinking just that. So here it is:These are the boxes I have packed so far. I know, it's not so many that it really should have kept me from blogging for so long, but it's my excuse anyway. The thing this picture doesn't show is all the stuff I have gone through and gotten rid of to get these few boxes packed. Today was an especially productive day, thanks to my sister Angela. She was such a huge help! I am hoping that every time her husband, Glenn, has to work in Van Nuys she'll come over and help more. She's so much more efficient than I am normally so she really helped me get in gear. Thanks, Ang! You're the best!! And she brought her little girl, Sarah, who played with the kids all day too. While we made messes trying to get organized, they demolished the rest of the house. That's pretty much how it goes, right?

Anyway, I am really looking forward to moving. For a lot of reasons, but at this point mostly just so it will be over with already! Anticpating the move is the worst.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Faith-building flip-flops

These are Maddie's new flip-flops that I got at The Children's Place along with a pair for Ian for $5. Nice and cheap, just how I like it. So, here's the story. Basically the same day I got them one of them disappeared. I needed to be cleaning up anyway and I was pretty sure that once I got everything put into its proper place the lost flip-flop would turn up. That was Tuesday. I put everything away a bunch of times over the week and still no flip-flop. Well, yesterday, I got serious about it and this time I recruited Madeleine to help with the search. She initiated a game of 'I-Spy' to see if we could find it by looking for anything that was pink and black. No luck. I assumed it would finally turn up once I started going through our stuff as we prepare to move. (Oh yeah. We're moving to Arizona in August for Spencer to attend ASU for his MBA.) Madeleine was not ready to give up. She said, "Maybe we can say a prayer and tell Heavenly Father if He can help us find my shoe." Great idea! Spencer said a prayer with her and then they set out to look again. About a minute later they found it. Then they said a prayer to thank Heavenly Father for helping them find it. I am so grateful for Madeleine's faith and her example to me! What a precious experience that was!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Memorial Day Camping

For Memorial Day weekend, we went camping with the Rands and the Roberts at Cuyamaca Rancho State Park in San Diego county. It was quite an interesting weekend. Let me just give a bit of a timeline for you.

Friday night: We drive through rain and fog with windshield wipers that were hardly up to their job and finally made it to camp around 9pm. At least I think it was around then. The whole night is a blur, much like our windshield on the way there. It is still raining when we get there. We are freezing, but we are thankful it isn't snow. It feels that cold to our SoCal blood. Curtis and his family had arrived earlier so he was able to help Spencer set up our tent. After much toiling in the rain with screaming kids on all sides, we are finally ready to go to sleep around 11pm.

This must have been the worst night of sleep I have gotten in a long time. For one thing, we were dreadfully unprepared for how cold it was, so I was not even close to warm enough to fall asleep. I laid there wishing I could sleep and trying to think of a way to cut the trip short. I knew I couldn't handle another night like that. Also, it's worth noting that even if I had been warm enough to sleep, I probably would have been kept awake by the extremely loud lovers' quarrel going on at the campsite near our's. When Chris was ready to go to sleep and yelled, "GOODNIGHT, ANGRY COUPLE!" I thought they would get the point and pipe down. No such luck. At some point, despite the odds, I fell asleep. It was probably after I got Ian from his pack 'n play and made him sleep in my sleeping bag with me.

Saturday: The kids woke up before 6am. One of the joys of camping is rising with the sun in 40 degree weather, right? Don't worry, this is where things start to look up. It wasn't raining anymore. We had a delicious breakfast of dutch oven German pancakes and made our plans to find a store to buy some wool socks and long johns. Amy and Coral headed back to SD for a youth temple trip and they promised to bring extra blankets back to share. That was a major lifesaver. The Roberts and our family went to the outlets in Viejas to see what we could find. Extra socks and pj's for the kids, gloves for me and Spencer, hats for all of us, and the best thing of all---RAINBOOTS for me and Julie for $2.97 a pair. I would say that's easily the best $2.97 we've ever spent. Those boots were heaven-sent. My feet were warm and dry all weekend after that. Oh yeah, and I got to take a nap in the car with Ian while Spencer and Madeleine shopped with the Roberts.

The other highlight of Saturday would have to be the amazing dinner Spencer cooked up for us. Pork back ribs, corn on the cob and baked beans. So warm and so yummy! And Chris made some of the best apple crisp I've ever had. I love how when we are camping the husbands do the cooking. That's so awesome.

Sunday: With the extra blankets Amy brought, and Madeleine sleeping in my sleeping bag the night before, we actually slept pretty well and we slept in until about 8:00am. I felt so good! Unfortunately, that feeling was short-lived. Madeleine and I headed straight for the showers but we were not fast enough. Our shower was FREEZING!! Poor Madeleine screamed the whole time I cleaned her up and when it was my turn, it was all I could do not to scream too. But we were going to church to escape the cold for the next three hours and we couldn't go as dirty as we were. We survived the icy shower and enjoyed being indoors for a little while.

After church, we tried to nap, started a fire, started coals for dinner and mostly just hung out. Since Madeleine's birthday was just a few days before, we brought a pinata for the kids. Spencer had to finish it off though. None of the kids quite had what it took to get the candy out of the butterfly.

Dinner was a bit of a fiasco. We had planned to do a roast and we thought that with the small one we had and the one the Roberts said they were bringing it would be plenty of delicious red meat to warm our bones.. The only problem was that not only had we misunderstood and the Roberts were never planning to bring a roast, we didn't bring our's either. We had plenty of potatoes and carrots and onions, but no roast. Thankfully, the Roberts, always prepared, had brought some turkey burgers that they donated to the cause. Dinner turned out great anyway, especially the chocolate cake.

Monday: All good things must come to an end. But first, Chris and Julie cooked up some fabulous breakfast burritos with machaca and chorizo. Mmm, mmm, mmm! We spent the morning packing up. Here are some more pictures from the trip.Madeleine really gave it all she had!

Please take note of Madeleine's outfit. First of all, we were totally dreaming thinking we would have a need for swimsuits, but Madeleine found her's in our stuff and wanted to wear it the whole time. At one point she was wearing just the swimsuit dancing around in the tent. At least by this time she had clothes underneath it. I had her wearing a little sweat suit over these clothes for extra warmth, but when she heard we were going to be taking pictures , she stripped off the sweats so her "pretty" clothes would show. Really? A neon green swimsuit over a polka dot pj top and red leggings? OK. If you say so.
Ian was a real trooper. Poor kid was in about 6 layers of clothes everyday and his little fingers still felt cold. He was like the little brother in A Christmas Story who couldn't put his arms down when he was all bundled up. He was cheerful enough anyway and had a good time playing with all the kids.

Even though we nearly froze our tails off, it was a great weekend spent with friends and family! Looking forward to doing it again, only in a warmer place next time!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Happy Birthday, Madeleine!

Sweet little Madeleine turned 4 on May 20th. I can't believe it! Where has the time gone? Here are a few pictures of Madeleine over the years. Here she is at about 4 months. Can't you just see her attitude even then?
One year old here. Running around already and keeping us busy, busy, busy. Here she is at 2. Not long after this she fell off the couch and broke her arm. I would have put one up with her in her hot pink cast, but in all the cute ones she was wearing only her diaper.
At 3. I miss that beautiful long hair.
And here's the little lady on her 4th birthday. Pretending to cook up a storm in her new apron and chef's hat. She is one of the smartest and funniest kids I have ever known and she is such a joy! We love you, Maddie, and we are so happy to have you in our family!

P.S. Be on the lookout for another post coming soon about our camping trip over Memorial Day weekend.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Beatin' the heat, etc.

It was well into the 90s today here in Sherman Oaks, so we headed to Santa Monica to cool down a bit at the beach. And let me tell you, it was a perfect beach day! The water, which is often very cold here no matter the season, was really pretty nice. Granted, I only got in up to my knees, but there wasn't much bite when I first got wet. And that is saying something!

Ian played in the water today for the first time. He isn't usually much of a fan, but that was not the case today. He was playing, playing, playing, then all of a sudden totally bookin' it down the shoreline. I'm not sure where he was going, but when I caught up to him he turned to me and said, "Mommy! I payin' in da water!" Such a cutie! Madeleine had fun playing with all her little buddies and mooching snacks off them. Good thing Gabrielle brought such a great stash to share!On a completely different subject, here is a little video of Madeleine that I thought I would share. Even though I may be the only one to really appreciate it. Watch at your own risk. Here's the background on it: When I put the kids to bed or Ian down for a nap, we turn on a CD of primary songs or other church music to help lull them to sleep. Then I turn on the baby monitor. In this video, Madeleine got ahold of the monitor while Ian was laying down for a nap.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Olivia's Graduation

This is my sister, Olivia. Isn't she pretty? This past weekend was her graduation from Montana State University-Billings and we got to go up for the festivities.

Spencer stayed home to collect rent, so it was just me and the kids. We were on a flight with another sister and my parents and grandmother, so it wasn't as bad as you might think. This picture was after the commencement ended. My smile may not look the most genuine, but I was thrilled that it was over. Commencement ceremonies are no place for children under 4.
One of my sisters was missing, but here are the rest of us with our cute mom. L-R: Erika, Angela, Mom (Vickie), Olivia, me. Sisters are the best! I am still holding out hope that someday we will all live on the same block. Then our kids could always play and we could all share clothes.
These are all the cousins who were there. L-R: Andrew, Marley, Zachary, Sarah, Great-Grandma (Loretta), Ethan, Ian, Cyrus, Madeleine, Matthew. Only 4 of the 13 grandkids were missing. We missed them and their parents who couldn't be there. Hopefully soon we can ALL get together! Great-Grandma needed to be in the middle of everything. She sure loves her grandkids. The best thing about having all the kids there was that Angela's and Olivia's kids haven't seen each other since my wedding in September 2000. It was great for them to get to hang out. I think they had a really fun time. I know I did! Angela's family brought their Wii, so that provided hours of enjoyment for everyone. I don't know about anyone else, but I was totally sore from boxing.
Now, it's time to get back to normal life.

Monday, April 21, 2008

California Adventure

Ian, Madeleine and I were lucky enough to go to Disney's California Adventure last Monday. For free since my sister, Maggie, and her family got the 2-fer passes when they came out to Disneyland last month even though they knew they couldn't use the second day. Thanks, Stoeckers! Unfortunately, Spencer couldn't come with us since he was very busy that week studying for the GMAT and trying to salvage a deal at work that was about to fall apart. How did I do it by myself with the two kids?, you ask. Thank heavens for my sister, Angela, and her daughter, Sarah, who recently moved to SoCal. They already have annual passes and claimed to be happy to come along. It would not have been anywhere near as fun without them. Madeleine was getting a good view of all the fun she was about to have while waiting for our ride on the Golden Zephyr.
Ian is still a little small for quite a bit of the rides, but he was very good-natured about being in the stroller most of the time. He did love the carousel. Angela took the kids on it once while I went on California Screamin' and we all did it again once I came back from the roller coaster. Evidently, he put his hand in the smiling sea otter's mouth both times.
Madeleine loved almost everything we did! Her favorite was Soaring Over California. It's my fave too. She wasn't too sure about some of the rides. She would say she didn't like them, but when Sarah said she did like them, Madeleine would change her mind and say she wanted to do whatever the ride was again.
A definite highlight was getting to meet Cinderella. To be honest, I didn't even know the princesses came to California Adventure. So, it was a very pleasant surprise that she was there after we finished watching one of the little shows on the back lot. Such a fun day! So glad we were able to go!

As for Spencer, the deal that was about to fall apart seems to be back on track, as of right now. Keep your fingers crossed that there won't be anymore drama with it before it closes! And he took the GMAT this past Saturday and did really well. Now he is busy, busy, busy filling out applications in order to get them in before the deadlines. Most are May 1 but one deadline is April 23. Assuming he gets into one of the schools he applies for (I can't imagine why he wouldn't), life will certainly be different for us come Fall when he is a full time student again. Pretty crazy, but kind of exciting too. Wish us luck!