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Friday, June 30, 2006

Travel Log

I'm sorry to have to tell all of you this but, I have the best husband ever! It has long been in the plans and has become an annual tradition that McCall and Landry spend most of June and July with my parents in California and their dad and other family in Utah. Last year Mike and I got married on june 18th so we spent our honeymoon in Italy while the children had a blast playing with Cookie and Poppie and their dad. It is a nice way to travel guilt-free knowing they are having so much fun. This year Mike and I had talked casually about taking an eastcoast driving trip which sounded nice. We were planning to fly into NYC spend a few days and rent a fun car and drive up the coast stopping in Boston and a few spots in Maine. Well, as plans sometimes do they changed when we started to cost our the trip and realize how much it was going to cost with gas prices and the cost of hotels in Manhattan. So when Mike said to me, " Jen this is going to cost so much to do this trip. Do we really want to do this?" my heart sank a little, but only for a moment because then he followed up that question with, " Why don't we just go to Hawaii instead?" Well, of course there was no hesitation on my part since I have a secret belief that I must have some South Pacific blood in me because of the way I love summer and the beach and especially Hawaii. It turned out that we had enough frequent flyer miles to get there for free and we found a good deal on a hotel package that just turned out to be a wonderful and very relaxing vacation for us. It is hard not to love Hawaii but this trip was a very welcome one especially for Mike as work has been so stressful for him and since it will be our last chance for this kind of a trip for awhile since we have a little one joining us this Fall. While we were there we were talking with a man about how much we loved to travel together and I realized that for us, travel has always been a vital part of our relationship and such a time for us to renew and revive our relationship away from the day to day stuff. I feel very blessed that we have the opportunity to do this. It couldn't be done without my wonderful parents and their love for my children and of course Mike's hard work that provides a comfortable lifestyle for us. I can't possible forget to thank another really important person in our lives, our Kerrie, whom I have grown very dependent on. Kerrie is our amazing "Mary Poppins" helping us maintian our fairly regular date nights by entertaining the boys and cares for our home and our beloved Jackson, whenever we are away. She is fabulous and we just love her! Before meeting up with Mike in Hawaii, I spent a week with the boys and my parents in California and we had a great time. We were able to celebrate my dad's birthday and Father's Day together which was really nice. My dad is going through some stressful changes with his chiropractic practice which is hard to watch, feeling useless to help, but I was glad to be there to offer my support if nothing else. Our family went in together to help buy him a new banjo-his new love. He has always been interested in music and plays acoustic and electric guitar. It is so fun to see him visibly relax when the music starts to flow. Can't wait to hear our banjo-playing Poppie! Here are a few picks from the trip but you can always see the full albums at my Sumgmug site. The rest of our summer will be full of swimming lessons and t-ball so we plan to be close to home. I will be updating more often (I know, I know, I have said that before!) and I should have exciting news about the gender of our mystery baby on July 24th! Can't wait to share the news and start taking suggestions for names!

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Last Day of last!

Last year we started the tradition with McCall and continued a long-standing tradition in my family of the daily lunch napkin note. Today was one of my favorite notes to write-the Last Day of School note. I think I look forward to the end of the school year as much as the kids. Our pool is open and Landry and I have already spent several days in the sun and chlorine. McCall has waited with envy for his day which will come tomorrow, barring some impending rain.

At our year end party today we made the second grade teacher, Miss Sperli into a "Queen for a Day". Now some of you may remember that I have not had the fondest regard for our second grade experience so this was one of those moments where I tried to be appreciative of the good things that happened this year and put aside my angst over the rotten things that went down. Of course I was asked at the last minute to co-host this party and come up with a wonderful class gift that was queenly in nature. I made a fun apron and embroidered "Queen Miss Sperli" on the front and had the kids sign it. It turned out really cute and the teacher was so touched by the gesture. I had to repent for my bad private attitude a bit (even though I have done my best to disguise it) especially when I opened McCall's year end portfolio. His teacher had compiled a wonderful collection of his work and photos of McCall at every big event and field trip throughout the year. Each child received a packet and I know Miss Sperli had gone to great lengths to prepare the packets for each child. I know that in spite of our differences in ideas for helping my son academically, she had a genuine care for his progress and his second grade experience. I am glad that I did make the effort to show her our appreciation. I also feel somewhat humbled.

On a lighter topic...I live for summer. I don't mind Fall and Winter so much but I really do love the hot hot weather and the fun to be had in the sun. I like our lazy days and I love our summer trips. I love eating outside on the deck and grilling almost every night. I love giant Cherry Cokes with tons of ice and Lemon sorbet at Mitchell's. I love tan feet and my kids' hair turning toehead. I love the smell of sunblock and my favorite summer skin indulgence, Body Shop Satsuma Body Butter. I even love washing an entire load of swimming suits and pool towels nearly every day. There are endless more things I love about summer but most of all I love lazy mornings when the kids crawl into bed with us and we plan out our entertainment and even yes, our chores for the day.

What are your favorite things about the season de Sol?

Monday, June 05, 2006

Aloha Landry!

So the day that Landry had waited 6 months for finally arrived.
Landry's birthday is the day after Christmas when we are usually travelling and it is way too cold to try and have a birthday party for a dozen screaming 5 year olds. So we held off this year and celebrated in the sun (barely) Landry's Hawaiian beach party.

The days leading up to the party had been full of gray skies and rain. We all held our breath up until literally moments before children started arriving and alas the clouds open up and the sun shone and we had a beach party right in our sunny, albeit soggy backyard.

We all had a great time and we all agreed it was well worth the 6 month wait. I think we may just stick with this plan and do it again this way next year. We'll probably have to pick a new theme since almost all of his gifts were water toys! He loved it to say the least.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Viva Niagara!

Well, I find myself doing a catching up post once again but this will seem like so much new news for all of you that it should be fun. So over Memorial Day weekend we decided to take a driving trip to Ontario, Canada and see the Niagara Falls. It was definitely an amazing site but let me just say that for all the city could be it was that times way too much! It is basically Vegas with a really big waterfall. We did enjoy taking a boat ride down at the base of the Falls and we explored the botanical gardens and a butterfly conservatory which was pretty incredible. I think the kids liked the hotel swimming pool the best which always seems to be the case. All in all it was so nice to get away and have a few days of just enjoying our family away from the hectic pace of our lives of late.

Landry has finished up with preschool and has a big announcement: "NO MORE TRAINING WHEELS!" Mike helped him for a few hours and he took off! Now he is way too independent for my taste and he is travelling all around the cul de sac. Three of his neighborhood buddies have learned to ride sans training wheels as well and they are like the JR Hell's Angels. There is even a biker babe in the bunch. He is so proud of his new skill and daily suggests that he is ready to ride around the corner now. We still have limits!

McCall has 4 days left of school and he couldn't be more ready. Yesterday our Goldwood Games (school field day) got rained out halfway through and we had flash flooding in areas close to our town. Disappointing but at least the morning was beautiful.

McCall cracks me up with his sense of humor and all day I hear, "Mom, do you get it?" after his many jokes. Can any of you relate to this famous line? He has surprised me lately with how sensitive he is becoming as long as nobody notices. He prays for his brother's swimmer's ear to go away and he prays for Jackson, our Golden Retriever to calm down when he is upset by our many summer thunderstorms. He has stood outside the bathroom door lately asking, "Mom are you okay? " when all of my meals of the day seem to be reacting to my pregnant body. He can cause so much angst and strife in our family and then just as easily he brings tears to my eyes when I tuck him into bed. I know you all know what I mean.

Speaking of pregnant bodies-we got to hear Baby Vu's heartbeat at our last appointment. our doc says it sounds like a girl heartbeat. Of course we still don't know for sure but we keep thinking girl this time. It is hard for me to picture anything else in my mind and for Mike it is impossible so hopefully our ultrasound in July will be revealing. I already know what to do with boys so I would be totally fine either way but I also think Heavenly Father knows that this body probably won't be giving birth to any more children so maybe we'll get to have a little pink in our house-oh Kristi, the envy!

Landry's long awaited summer birthday party is happening on Saturday. He turned 5 in December but since Cleveland is the Ice Planet Hoth in December we decided to wait for some warm weather this year to celebrate. It is a hawaiian beach party theme and we are having a blast getting ready for it. We are set for games and decor and music but if any of you have any great ideas for hawaiian themed kids food for lunch I would love it. So far we are doing fruit kabobs and punch in plastic coconut cups and we are making the sandcastle cake tomorrow night. I think we are just going to do a sub sandwich cut up in kids size slices for the lunch but if you have any great suggestions feel free to send them our way. I'll post photos after the big event!

That should catch you all up to date on our latest. I hope to be more current once school is out. The boys will be spending some time with Cookie and Poppie in California and then with their dad in Salt Lake City so they will be gone for almost 4 weeks! I miss them so much when they do this each summer but it is also nice to have some time away so I really appreciate having them home. Mike and I will work on the nursery and take an East Coast driving trip which should be wonderful.

By the way-I received my first issue of the new Martha Stewart publication, Blueprint. Love it-tons of cool ideas and product reviews. Definitely check it out. Also-we had our first haircut at a new kids hair salon that opened in our area called Snip-Its. It is a really fun franchise type hair salon that caters just to kids and has comupter games and cartoons to keep the kids busy while they get their hair cut. At the end of the cut they get to stick their "Adventure Pass" and a snip of their hair into a prize machine and out pops a little prize. Landry loved it and since he got his summer buzz cut it was only $9.95 which is a great deal in our area. We give it a thumbs up!