Thursday, July 16, 2009

Blended Summer Vacation

Well, Jim and I took all of our kids on our first mini vacation together... Jim had the foresight to get a motor home for the trip and it was a fabulous idea! It made the trip a lot easier not being all crammed in a car together. The whole trip went very well and we had a lot of fun... only unfortunate thing was Cliff had a bit of the flu and didn't get to experience all of San Francisco... poor guy.. was a total trooper and headed out with us for a while but had to go back to sleep in the motor home a couple hours into the day... so thankful we had that option for him. I wouldn't have even gotten out of bed. I've posted some generic pictures, but will have to get some more from Nicky as she took tons of great pictures of the trip.

Our first stop was Hearst Castle... One of Jim's grandparents (or great-grandparent???) was married to a Hearst, so that made it extra exciting. It's an incredible place. My favorite things were the swimming pools and the amazing landscaping.

Next we headed off to San Francisco... Pier 39 (yummy clam chowder in a bread bowl), Golden Gate Bridge, a trolley car ride to Union Square.... and of course on of the highlights of the trip was the talking/self washing public potty... it was very new and exciting to the kids :) I remember being equally excited when I first discovered a similar potty in France many many years ago!

Then we headed off to Monterey so Jim and kids could meet my family and to celebrate my aunt's 60th birthday and partied into the wee hours of the morning. It was a very fun time an everyone loved Jim and his kids. We drove through Pebble Beach and stopped at the beach at my old place of work - The Inn at Spanish Bay.
Jim decided it would be a great idea to come home down the coast via Highway 1. I thought that was a frightening idea considering the 36' motor home and the little 2 lane highway right on the edge of the cliff!!!! Although my knuckles were whiter than white, of course it ended up being a great drive (a very very long drive, but nice time). We stopped for a hike down to the water in Big Sur, then again to watch some Sea Elephants on the beach further south and then we stopped in the oh so quaint lovely little town of Los Olivos to visit Michael Jackson's memorial site at Neverland Ranch. Its the cutest town ever... i soooo wanted to move there. Then we finished the long drive at Jim's mom's house and that was the end!

Friday, June 19, 2009

My Birthday & My New Costco Card

Okay.. my birthday on Thursday was the best ever!!! The day before my birthday Alysa, Roxanne & Denice showed up at my work at the end of the day and took me out for a wonderful birthday celebration... It was so much fun - I thought it was the nicest thing ever... UNTIL the next day…I worked on my birthday and then Jim and I had a date planned.. I requested dinner and a movie - so he told me OK - be ready at 5:10 sharp - we have a dinner reservation at 5:30... don't dress too casual - bring a bag with tennis shoes and a sweatshirt, 2 spoons and protection! Don't worry - he meant the Smith & Wesson type ;) Oh ya.. he also asked if I thought I'd get sick if I went for a car ride blind folded? Ya... I was freaking out a little bit too -- until we got there!So he picks me up and has a CD playing, that his kids made for us, of our favorite music... Barry Manilow, Journey, IZ, Andre Bocelli... and takes me to Cuistot - my absolute favorite restaurant!!! And I start thinking --- we could have gone to Jack in the Box and I'd have been just as happy as long as it’s with him - alone - on a date - and used all this money to pay my electricity bill :) But as we dined at the chef's table on Rabbit Pate, Lobster Ravioli and Rack of Lamb... all my cares just slipped away... It was a completely delectable meal topped it off with a delicious Floating Island desert courtesy of our waiter!!! Then it was off to the movies for endless laughs and into the car to be blindfolded. Drat… I forgot to pay attention to the turns... and couldn't figure out where we were going! I had in my mind either the Tram or up highway 74 and even though it had entered my mind that yes, I'm a little neurotic and crabby sometimes I still get the feeling from him that he genuinely loves me and I didn't think he was going to take me out to the desert and shoot me and throw my body off a cliff... okay maybe I thought that for a minute - but when it came down to it.. I was just excited to get where we were going :)So finally, we get close and he puts the car into 4wheel drive... now that was SCARY!!! I thought for sure we were going to tip over and fall off a cliff ! But he talks to me about what’s happening and about trusting him the whole time and we finally come to a stop... whew! He gets all his stuff together and lets me out and takes off the blindfold.... I still have no idea where we are except that it’s out in the middle of the desert in the middle of the night and there are all kinds of creepy creatures out there and snakes and coyotes...and at that exact moment I'm saying thank heavens for the Smith & Wesson! The weather was perfect - warm with a light breeze - no sweatshirt needed, billions of stars were shining soooo bright and appeared to be right at my fingertips. It was absolutely beautiful...I could have stayed up there all night. We walked on uneven ground (tennis shoes on) for a short distance and all the while he’s talking all sweet about how we’ve covered rocky ground and how we’ll cover more and all this other deep meaningful inspiration stuff … and we get out to a point above the lookout on highway 74 where the crystal clear view of the city lights was amazing! He laid out a blanket and pulled out the goodies... Ben & Jerry's mint chip ice cream (more like a milkshake by now, despite all his ice packing efforts, no spoons needed after all), chocolate covered strawberries (that he and Natalia made that afternoon) and Fiji water!!! We sat and chit chatted for a while...then he gave me a cute card from his kids and then the one from him with a Costco card in it – I was so excited as my Costco membership had run out and I couldn’t really justify renewing it – then I turned it over and it said “Wendy A Parks” and he pulled out the ring and the rest is history or shall I say - eternity!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Sarah's Birthday - Shawn's Promotion - Kids Departure

Shawn's 8th grade promotion was on Thurs - June 11th.. it was a beautiful night and a very nice ceremony. So proud of him... I only got this one sucky photo before my camera died!

He opted out of the class trip to Magic Mountain and somehow he and his friend Caleb talked Caleb's mom into taking them to Knotts Berry Farm for a day and talked me into letting Shawn cut a day of school... They had a great time :)

Sarah celebrated her 12th birthday with a few friends on the last day of school... The afternoon started off a little rough, but then one of the little girls suffered a hideous bloody wound on her leg while chasing a boy around the pool area and the trauma of it all seemed to bring them all nicely back together and it was peace and harmony and a great time for the rest of the night! And yes, the injured little girl turned out okay.. no stitches required (no skin left to stitch)..

Shawn & Sarah departed for 2 weeks with the grandparents on Sarah's actual birthday - June 15th. I took them to Ontario airport to put them on a flight for Sacramento. I was shocked to find out that once they are 12, they no longer considered unaccompanied minors and can just check in and get on and off the plane with out any adult anywhere!!! So, technically, I could have just dropped them at the curb :) But I went in with them anyway - this time.... The airline guy showed Sarah how to get her ticket from the machine and check her bag, then I let her find our way to the gate... That was fun for her... she was so excited to get on the plane with just her brother.... he thought it was pretty cool too... and on the other end they found their way to baggage claim where the grandparents were waiting... I felt a little okay knowing that Shawn has his cell phone -- but so freaked out that given the opportunity, they could just jump on a plane and hit the road anywhere at any time! Good thingthey don't have any money :)

Anyway, Sarah will be in Auburn with Mike's mom Dianne for 2 weeks and a couple of my friends will pick her up to hang out a little and Shawn and Mike's dad David are hitting the road for a trip to Canada... a literal road trip, camping on the way... Both should have a great time and I will have some great peace and quiet..

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Summer Time

Well summer's upon us and the weather has been soooooo fabulous here in the desert... not so much this past weekend in Redlands where it was freezing! The kids had a soccer tournament all weekend... lots of fun and great games... Shawn's team came in 4th and Sarah's didn't really come in any place, but they had a great time :)

Shawn has his promotion ceremony for 8th grade this Thursday... I'm so proud that he worked at getting his grades up this last quarter... although I noticed it really didn't take him much effort.... so it seems that it would be easier (on me at least) if he would just stay on top of things from the get go :) I'll have to continue to encourage that option next year. I can't believe he's going to be in high school!!!!

Sarah turns 12 on Monday and both kids are leaving with the grandparents for 2 weeks... Sarah will be hanging out with her grandma and the golden retriever in Auburn, while grandpa, Shawn and the Alaskan Malamute take a road trip to Canada.... I so wish I was going! It's sooooooo beautiful there! Don't know what I'll do for 2 weeks with no responsibility --- and peace and quiet... I haven't been alone that long in I don't know how long maybe since before I was wait I lived with my mom before I was married... so that would be never!!! I've never been alone for 2 weeks... I probably won't have a clue what to do :)

Friday, May 15, 2009

Been a long time....

Wow I haven't been on the blog in ages... just busy... Both kids are in Select Soccer, so they've still been practicing and playing weekly - One more tournament to go and we're done!

In April we went to Auburn with Mike and Melanie (kids dad & step mom) to visit the kids Grandparents. I stayed with Tami one night and Cynthia then next. Cynthia & I met up with Denise for a visit in Colfax. It was a great time... much too short of a visit. Oh and we did a totally fun treasure Easter egg hunt on Easter for the kids :)
Sarah on grandpa's eBay find
Be-headed statue - hiding place for eggs
Sarah & the old Fiat aka hiding place
Shawn up in the library - yet another great hiding place

Over the rest of Easter vacation, Shawn spent a couple of days with our cousin Matthew, Auntie Dee Dee and Amy at their timeshare in Carlsbad...

And then the highlight of Shawn's life - which he actually missed a soccer game for (which is unheard of for him) ---- I took him and his friend (and met another there) to the RC Car Expo in Pomona. They were sooooo excited and giddy I thought they were going to come out of their skin... It really made me wish I had a hobby or something (anything) that made me that excited!
Shawn got measured at the doctor's office the other day and he's 5'6" now!!! Sarah's not far behind... her legs go on forever.... not sure where she got those!
Jim's been back and forth to Tunisia a few times over the past few months -- he's there now, so I'm bored without him :(
That's all I can think of right now!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Nobel Prize Winner's Message: The Economy Sucks (tell me something I don't already know)

Last night Jim and I were fortunate to attend a lecture and dinner that was part of the Desert Town Hall Lecture Series... held at the Renaissance Esmeralda. The speaker was Nobel Prize wining Economist Paul Krugman... I thought we were going to gain some great insight on the state of the current economic crisis and when we could expect the start of a recovery... what I got is what I already knew... The economy sucks... its going to get worse before it gets better and there's no real indication of when we might pull out of this. He also stated that its really important for everyone to continue spending and quite hording their money... and when asked where he's keeping his money these days... he said he has a lot of cash - Ya, probably hording it in his mattress like anyone else who has any money left! The least he could have done was end with a joke! Still it was a very enjoyable evening and the lamb was exquisite!!! I do have to say the highlight of the evening was picking up the car from valet.... there were probably 500 or more people at this dinner who all needed to get their cars from valet and the young blond valet guy was hysterical - with mic in hand comically announcing each car and its owner as it arrived.. I think you may have had to be there - but trust me, it was a hoot!

Trouble in paradise....

Okay..... I haven't been on in forever because I've been a little stressed out!!! I'm still working at La Quinta Resort, but they've been cutting so many jobs and have cut our hours back and I've just been freaking out! Ya, I know - what's new? Anyway, its still sooooooo amazingly beautiful at the resort and I just recently noticed that we have a bunch of purple and white orchid trees on the property! I had no idea we even had orchid trees in the desert!!!!

Anyway, with my cut hours, I have to take a whole extra day off each week, which may sound great in theory, but when its without pay - its a huge problem :( And of course during this personal economic crisis I have to have a dental crisis - of which my portion costs as much as a house payment! And this week I took off Wednesday off and didn't do much of anything except a few errands and of course laundry and go back to work on Thursday and get a call in the morning (couldn't have happened Wednesday when I'm hangin at home) that Shawn is sick... so off I go again... to the ER again for head trouble (loss of peripheral vision, numbness in face and hands, sever headache, loss of balance).... which they say is just a post-concussion migraine... from the "minor" concussion he got way back in December...and could happen for up to a year or longer after the initial concussion... and they did tell us he could have headaches for a while after he first got the concussion... and he's had plenty of headaches since then, just none for about the past month and none nearly as bad as this one! I'm hoping this was just the grand finale freak headache.... and we're done with it :)

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Busy, busy, busy

Been sooooo crazy busy lately haven't had time to keep up the blog. Shawn's in Soccer All Stars and Select which goes another 10 weeks and Sarah's still in tryouts for the Select team, so she may be going on too :) Cousin Julie was in Palm Springs for a seminar this weekend, so she came over to visit today... it was so nice to see her :) And Jim just got home from Libya for 2 weeks... Finally :) I was so happy to see him and so relieved that he made it home safely. Sounds like he got a lot accomplished and he hopes he won't have to go for that length of time again... Me too!!! He took like 600 pictures while he was there... this one is my absolute favorite!

Monday, January 12, 2009

the day we had the most fun!!!

During winter break my mom took me (Sarah), my brother , my friend Rachel, and my brothers friend Caleb ice skating at the new ice skating rink. we had like the best time. it was calebs first time but the rest of us had been so much more times.
sarah's version

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Did you feel that????

4.5 or 4.9 or 5.0 on the Richter scale at 7:49pm (different reports from different sources).... quick and strong... All is well!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Fruit for Thought

Today at work while I was rushing around doing a bunch of different things all at once I was outside walking around our unbelievably beautiful grounds and noticed that all the citrus trees are full of ripe fruit! It amazes me that so many delectable things just grow right here... all ready to eat! I picked 2 little oranges for my afternoon snack and they were so sweet and wonderful :) These trees are amongst so many other magnificent plants, palm trees and flowers that I get to stop and smell all the time too!!!!

Lovely day...that's all I've got! Off to soccer....

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Happy New Year to my door bell ditcher!

Thank you so so so so much to whoever you are that dropped of the extreme basket of Happy New Year goodies on my doorstep!!!! We love everything :) Happy New Year to you too!

Friday, January 2, 2009

I already need a do-over!!!

New Year's Day started out great... we finally got around to having our graham cracker/gingerbread house contest... I loved them all and couldn't pick a winner! Then I took the kids ice skating and they had a great time...

Then it was downhill from there.... being soooo busy I hadn't had time to clean the house in I don't know how long - so I announced in the morning that I would need their cooperation for about 45 minutes when we got home in the afternoon.... Anyway - after all their fun... the games began at home when I attempted to ask them to help out...and then they got all mad and as usual think I'm a nag because I have to ask them over and over and over and over to do their tasks and then I get upset and everyone thinks that I hate them and don't want kids. Seriously I never expected this parenting thing to be such a challenge....nobody warns you that you might have kids who call you names, tell you that you suck, yell at you, throw things, slam doors, kick holes in walls, break things when they are angry, constantly fight with and antagonize their siblings and lay on the floor screaming and crying while kicking their bedroom doors (okay... I do happen to have one specific memory of myself doing this exact thing in my bedroom with the pink carpet back on Aeolia Drive) - but the rest was pretty much unexpected!!!! And it doesn't mean I hate them for crying out loud!!!

Anyway - I'm very lucky to have been blessed with these specific children as they are very tolerant of all the time they have to spend alone and all the stuff I require them to do.... and I'm doing the best I can - but still I'm taking a do-over for the New Year and work harder on being a better parent! Wish me luck :)

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Where did December go???

Wow - December flew by fast!!! I'll sum it up with a quick entry....
Smores with the Parks...
Mission Inn in Riverside to visit my friend Tami & her family while they were in town for her grandma's 90 something birthday :) The mission was incredible... well worth the trip even if you aren't going to visit a special friend!
Christmas at Mike and Melanies in Fontucky...

Christmas at Autnie Peteranne & Uncle Walts in Monterey...
On the long drive home.....