Monday, September 5, 2011

Camp Pendleton! And finally, almost, San Degeigo!





This is the sign that you see as you drive into the gates of Camp Pendleton.I had decided that it was important to go there as soon as we chose to make San Diego our vacation destination this year. Two years ago, my Dad and I were talking about taking a trip to San Diego. He was itching to go back. He was stationed at Camp Pendleton while he served in the Marines. He fell in love with it there. He moved back to Arkansas when he was finished with the Marines, but San Diego and Camp Pendleton always held a special place in his heart. He would tell me stories of being in boot camp, the clean ones, and going to the beach, going to the crab shacks, just everything. I loved watching his face and his eyes when he talked about it. He was transported back to that happy time, albeit one of the most physically demanding and brutal times, in his life. We made plans to go. We talked about going to so many places that he remembered, taking the harbor cruise, deep sea fishing.
We had Plans.
But, Heavenly Father had different plans. Still really need some clarity on the "why's" of that.
It was important for me to go.
I had to go.
I was going.
As you pull up to the base, it funnels you into the different groups.
We were in the visitor group and stopped to speak with the on-duty Marine that was in charge of our lane. That pretty much did it.
I was starting on my emotional roller coaster.
Seeing this man in his fatigues, with his buzz cut, and his proper manners, sent my mind's eye to the photo I have of my dad while he was in the Marines.
He was thin, best shape of his life, and sporting his High and Tight. Handsome. I see my eyes when I see that photo. He always said it was like looking in a mirror when he looked at me. Hopefully he wasn't hinting that I, too, had a 5 o'clock shadow. 
 We drove through the gates and started driving through their little Camp Pendleton town. It was amazing. I was seeing things that my dad saw. I could almost feel him with us as we drove. The kids were stone silent. They were watching the Marines, their families, and everything else all around them, but they never asked a question and they never said a word. For whatever reason, the veil felt very thin to me there in the van as we drove. I spoke to my dad in my mind and it helped.
We drove around a bit more and then popped out at Oceanside. My dad hung out there on the beach a lot. We drove down and that was the first time the kids saw the ocean. It was almost magical. They were elated. The long drive had finally paid off!
We. Were. Here!
There weren't very many people on the beach that day, despite the perfect day. The kids ran into the ocean, dove into the sand, and chased the seagulls.
This was my time to sit, watch the ocean, reflect, remember, and speak to my Dad, and my Father in Heaven. What a blessing I had been given! We stayed in Oceanside for the rest of that day exploring, playing, and watching.
I was in awe.
This is the sign you see as you leave. I totally missed the beautiful sign that they had at the entrance because

of my fixation on the Marine.

Not much Laboring on Labor Day

What a day we've had today!  I absolutely love it when Cary is off work and can spend the day with us. It's my favorite thing. I woke up this morning too early for sane people and could not go back to sleep. I was terribly bummed because it was the one day that I could actually sleep in. And, what happens? Ridiculousness, that's what. I was stuffy and achy and knew that I  had the beginnings of what should be classified as class 4 pneumonia, if there were such a thing. I sucked it up and decided that I was not going to let it ruin our fun family day. I know, I know, a selfless trooper, right? Pffft. I just didn't want to be couped up in the bedroom while everyone else was out having fun. :)

We decided to have a family vote as to where we would go. Pretty much everyone wanted to go to a different place, and it was slow pickins at first. Cary and I really wanted to go to 7peaks, alas none of the kidlets really wanted to go. We  decided to go to Lehi Trafalga first. I had some super good deals that I scored a while back and decided to use them today. Free Food! Sweet!
   I completely spaced the camera, so no photos. Boo! We ate, laser tagged, carouseled, airplaned, video-gamed, and rode our hearts silly.
 Then we decided to hit the outdoor pool here in Lehi. It was cloudy, windy, and about 78 degrees, but it was perfect. There were about 3 families there (including ours), so we had the run of the place.
Perfection!
We closed the place down and I was honestly sad to leave. We have had a lot of fun there this summer and I'm always sad when things change. I am not a lover of change. at all.
 We came home and got all showered and changed, but my darling of darlings decided to make us a little canyon cook-out in our back yard. (I was itching to go to the canyon today, but no one else really wanted to go)
He put out the grill,. got out our cooking sticks (really, what are those things called?) and got everything ready. We all went out and cooked our hot dogs and roasted our marshmallows.
It. Was. Perfect.
I love that man.
The kids had a blast and we had a lovely family home evening under the stars, surrounded by giggles, sticky faces, and cuddles.
Best Labor Day Ever.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

San Degeigo, Part Deux

So we stayed in Primm for two nights. Seriously, what was I thinking? Oh, that's right! I was thinking a $29 room with a $20 food credit on each room, each night!  It ended up that we paid $40 for both rooms for two nights and received $80 in food credits. *insert raise the roof dance here*
   I should state for the record that I am incredibly frugal. That's what allows this family of 7 to be able to go to San Diego for a week with minimal worries. I think the boys are finally getting it. Budgets are good, people! Before the trip I made each of us a "goody bag" filled with a myriad of treats. There were no rules about how or when you could eat what your bag contained, but once it was gone---it was gone. I was pretty proud of the kids, not one of them snarfed it all down before we hit Orem! Progress! All the rubbish went inside said paper bag, so when we stopped and their bag was empty they simply chucked it in the rubbish bin! I had also filled the coolers with capri suns, waters, drinks for Cary, and milk. I bought cereal when it was super cheap at Smith's, and that is what the kids had for breakfast! Cary and I aren't so much the breakfast eaters. The kids thought it was fabulous because I had the super sugary, chocolate-y, unhealthy cereal that they don't usually get at home. Again, Success!
While in Vegas/Primm we were able to visit with Sarah and do a little sight-seeing. The strip is not a place I wanted to take my kids (day or night), so we stayed away for the most part. Our hotel had roller coasters, games for kids, and other small rides. The next day we were there it was all FREE! An added bonus that I hadn't anticipated! Cary rode with all the big kids, while Bugga and I sat and watched them. I'm not so much a heights person and was perfectly content to watch the others scream like girls as the roller coaster did the loop de' loops. The kids loved it, so they said, after the fact. :)

We left Primm and headed out on the short, comparably, trip to San Diego. We stopped in Baker, California because they have this Alien store, complete with a space shuttle AND Alien Jerky. Yep, we bought some. They have quite the selection of jerky. We bought garlic rosemary and something else. So Yum. We also bought Habanero Pistachios. So flipping hot, but yum!  This is where all of these photos come from.....







This is a thermometer. The largest in the world, so the sign says. It was like 114 that day. Yuck!


I know, I know...What about the San Diego part of the trip?! It's coming up! Promise! :)


Saturday, August 27, 2011

Fambly Vacation! Part Un

All of us were looking forward to our family vacation. Holy cow, were we excited. I was more excited than a kid on Christmas Eve, waiting for Santa Claus to bring the holy grail of presents. 
Bug was equally excited and since she can't quite say "San Diego", it was dubbed "The SanDegeigo Trip!"
I was also pretty concerned on how we'd make it all 12 hours to San Diego with all five children, especially since we have a hard time traveling 15 minutes on the interstate to visit the grandparents.
Good Grief.
   We wanted to visit my family in Arkansas, but Cary didn't have the vacation hours to travel all that way. We would have made the 3 day trip to only stay for 2, which seemed a  bit ridiculous. So, we decided to go to Arkansas another time and visit my other home, San Diego, California this time.
Oh, how I love it there. Cary and I went about seven years ago, and I fell in love with it. The people, the temperature, the weather, the beaches, the ocean, not so much the traffic, but everything else.


Cary was even more worried about the drive than I was, so we decided to take a very leisurely trip. We stopped a couple of different places and stayed in Primm, Nevada (about 30 minutes south of Veags) for a night going down to California and coming back to Utah. We were able to score a super sweet deal, but I man do I hav regrets about not going straight to California! The kids were exceptionally well behaved for the majority of the trip, can you believe it? We bought dual DVD players for the van and each person was able to choose a movie to bring. A seriously brilliant moment for us. The kids did not know what to do with all the smoking, drinking, tats, language, etc. going on all around us. It was interesting watching them process everything. Cuauhtli did come away from it saying that he knew he would never smoke or drink. I truly hope that sticks with him.

These photos were taken in Vegas. It was disgustingly hot and I wouldn't live there, even if I was given a free home. Although, I would totally take the home, sell it, and move to San Diego. :)





A little Lag in BlogLand.

Cary and I were perusing the internet together the other day. No, we don't usually do this, but we were uploading videos and photos we had taken in San Diego. He let me know that I had not done any blogging in "quite some time!" I assured him that it had only been a short while, but he did not believe me. He pulled up my blog and sure enough...I was wrong. How could it be? 3 whole months? Oh, yes! Summer happened! Who has time to sit down and blog when you have five adorable, yet quite demanding,  kiddos hovering over you? Not this old gal, anyway. I have missed it, though, I must confess.

So much has happened since that last day of school. It has been a summer full of fun, fits, melt-downs, sunburns, ice cream cones, family picnics, and beaches. The real beach even, complete with rip tides in the Pacific ocean and life-guards that make you want to pull out your parka while sunning yourself on the beautifully warm sand. We met three life guards and spoke with them at length about the tides, the surfers, and the amazing waves that crashed around us. I've never really watched BayWatch, but I assume they could easily hang with the likes of Pamela Anderson and all of those other sun-kissed people who run in slow motion down the beach.


I will be posting some of the cutest videos and photos of my kids that you have ever seen, very soon.
Very. Soon.


Our summer went  by far too quickly for the kids, but they are settling back into routines pretty well. We have passes to the Lehi outdoor pool and the pass of all passes, so we were never hurting for activities. We were also lucky enough to go to Cowabunga Bay. You know, the place with all the brightly colored slides and the cars spouting water that you can plainly see from I-15?  Bugga had only asked me to go about 14593 times, and she was elated when we drove up to the gates.

Tonathiu went to his very first Boy Scout Camp this summer, and he thoroughly enjoyed himself.

Cuauhtli, Yoalli, and Gabby went to a week long camp as well and they were all thoroughly missed by those they left behind. It was completely bizarre only having two stinkles hanging around instead of five.

Cary and I didn't go to camp, but I kind of wish there was a Parent Camp. It might be kind of fun to hang out in the mountains together. Oh, the stories we could share!


I know I'm leaving things out of our summer, but at the moment I am a complete space cadet.

Tonathiu started 7th! grade on Monday. He is not enjoying Jr. High, but I have a feeling that it will start getting better as he gets used to it.
Cuauhtli is in 6th grade and is loving it. He has decided to be on the Science Demo Team and is playing soccer, really really well. He is an amazing player and I absolutely love watching him play.

Yoalli is in 5th grade and, as usual, loves it. She's also playing soccer and thinks that it is the best sport ever! She has quick feet and if she's able to follow the ball she'll be an amazing player as well.
 Gabby started 3rd grade! Unbelievable! She really loves school this year and already has a field trip coming up!
Keeleigh is now in first grade and thinks that school lunch is the best invention in the history of the world. Personally I think she just likes not eating her veggies.
That makes for one quiet house during the day. I'm able to do whatever I want! Sweet Freedom! This past week, I simply caught up on all of the chores that I've neglected.
This next week I think I'll start tackling some bigger jobs. I want to finish our laundry room, and I think I just might see how good I am at applying drywall mud. It sounds exciting.
Does that make me weird?

My birthday is coming up. Far too quickly for my taste. I will be 33 whopping years old. Holy. Crap.
I'm having a hard time with that number. It's far too high and I feel like I should be 26.
26 is a good number.
Old enough to get car insurance discounts, young enough to not be 30.


Betcha didn't think this post was going to be so completely full of randomness, did you?

How was your summer? How was your first days of school? How is your sanity?
I've missed you, my blogland friends.
I'm back!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Dance Festival!

video
Our school had a dance festival today and it was fabulous. I had a child in each grade, except for two. Oy. The kids did a great job and I was able to snap some great photos of them. I was able to catch Yoalli in action doing her dance. Kung Fu Fighting....loved it!


Keeleigh did the Chicken Dance!





Gabs did the Jungle Book!
Yoalli danced to Kung Fu Fighting! 
Cuauhtli Square Danced!

Tonathiu did the "I'm too cool for 6th grade dance festivals". 




It was fun to watch them and do you notice??? It was actually SUNNY! Huzzah!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Easy Yummyness.

I am part of the Bountiful Baskets Food CoOp. I love it. If you haven't heard of it, seriously go check it out. For $15 you get 6 different types of vegetables and 6 different types of fruits, and not just one or two of each. They also offer breads, tortillas, herbs, DIY decorative cookies, and cakes. Those are available for a bit more money. We've been doing it for about a month now, and I don't know that I'll buy fruits and veggies in the markets anymore. I also bought the bread and tortillas. Love Love Love them. My kids really love seeing what we'll get each week too.
You might be wondering at this point why I named this post Easy Yummyness.
Well, last week we got blueberries.

My kids or cary and I will  not eat just blueberries. I was excited though, because this meant that I was going to be able to make something with them. Today I finally had the time to do just that! I have been searching for a quick, easy, and Delicious recipe for a cake/muffin/bread for blueberries. This morning I struck Gold! Gold, I tell you! I found this little gem on Yummly. Cute name, aye?
Easy Blueberry Cream Cheese Cake- (kinda more like a bread though)
212    cup bisquick (baking mix)

2 eggs
12 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
12 cup milk
1 cup blueberries (frozen, thawed and drained)
2 tbsp oil
6 oz cream cheese (softened)
2 tbsp milk
14 cup sugar

Method

1 Preheat oven to 350.
2 In a small bowl mix cream cheese 2 TBSP milk and 1/4 cup suagr until smooth. Set aside.
3 In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs, sugar milk, oil, and vanilla until smooth.
4 Mix in Bisuick mix then stir in blueberries.      
5 Pour half of cake batter into a 9 in loaf pan.  
6 Pour half cream cheese mixute straight down middle of pan (do not mix in YET).
7 Pour rest of cake batter over top, then top with remaining cream cheese mixture.
8 Take a knife and gently stir make swirl effect.
9 Bake for 45 minute or until done.                       


I just realized that I forgot to do the swirling. Dang it! No matter though, it's still good and I dont think my crew will complain that there are no swirlies. Especially if they don't know! :)





I've tried it.
I got the end piece, which is crustier than the rest and that isn't my favorite part. But, I love the taste of the fresh blueberries and the cream cheese kicks it over the top. I'm sure it would even be better if you swirl. :)

Sunday, May 8, 2011

How Close?

I miss my Dad. I still think about him every day.
I was having a conversation with a dear friend the other day, whom has also lost her father, about how close our loved ones really are. It was so helpful to talk about it with her so candidly and share our thoughts and feelings. I shared with her a story that I've been hesitant to share with anyone else. But, for fear of forgetting it, I shall write it down so that I can save it and read it later, when I need to feel closer to my Dad.

I was all by myself one afternoon and me being alone does not happen very often. I don't think I had even been thinking of my dad more than usual, but I was missing him heaps.
I walked out to our van and sat down in the driver's seat. Instantly, I smelled cigarette smoke. No one else was around and no one near us really smoke either. But, there it was, as strong as if it had just been snuffed out in the ashtray. It smelled just like my Dad had just put out a cigarette after I had yelled at him that he wasn't going to smoke in the van. I was always after him to not smoke and/or to just quit altogether. It made me smile, faintly, and think of my dad.
   Then, I turned on the van and the radio was on. Which, isn't all that out of the ordinary, however, it was turned up louder than I normally have it, and  the song.....La Grange by ZZ Top. My Dad's song. The song that played every time his phone rang. I could see his phone, see him holding it, and see him answering the phone, all in my mind's eye.

Coincidence? Perhaps.

I don't think so.

I think it was my Dad saying "Hello. I love you. I'm here"

Miss you Daddy.

I made this little bouquet for him from flowers from my flower bed and wrapped it with Easter Ribbon I had.   
   I think he loved it. :)



GOOOOOoaaaaaaaaallllllllll!



Cuauhtli started playing soccer this year. Holy cow, is it fun! For him too, I'm sure. No, seriously, he loves, I mean, LOVES the game. He's pretty stinking good at it too. His first game was a couple of weeks ago, and they rawked it. The team works pretty well together and it's so much fun cheering them on to victory!

I was only able to catch a couple of photos because I was a nervous wreck the first time watching him play! I didn't want him to get hurt, but man! I wanted him to get in there and GET that Ball! :)







Cuauhtli is fearless and not afraid to look silly. I love that about him. He gives everything 100%, be it soccer or driving me crazy.
The other day this was part of our conversation:
C: "Mom, am I grounded?"
Me: "What do you think, Cuauhtli?"
C: "Well, I think in your head you are saying yes, for three years, but in your heart you are saying No Son! i love you!"
Me: laughing too hard to speak.

Love that kid.

Easter!

It's been a while since I've posted, man I need to catch up! I hate it when I don't blog for a while. Writing is therapeutic for me, even if it is just the silly, fun stuff. I'll try to remember the past couple of weeks....

We invited our friends and siblings over for some egg coloring fun. I really enjoy seeing the creativity of each of the kids.


Sadly, Tonathiu had a scout camp out and didn't join us for the fun. Bummer.

I was sneaky and put this out for the kids to wake up to:




We don't do the "Easter Bunny", I guess it's more the "Easter Mumma"! :) I like it better that way and the kids don't miss a thing.  please excuse the bananas in the background :)

Saturday morning we woke up and got to watch Cuauhtli in his first ever soccer game. more on that in the next post.
Then, we came home and it was time to munch and hunt eggs and have some fun! Woo! :)
    We asked Itztli and Atlahi to come over and hunt eggs with us.



Clearly, you can tell how excited they were. Just look at those precious faces!

on a mission!

I have no idea what was so funny!

Where da eggs at?

Cheese!       

The kids really enjoyed the day. That night we did our Easter Story Cookies. I can proudly say that's a Nicholas Whanau Tradition now. :) I love those words. I love the feeling you get when you speak of the traditions that you do with your family. Family. I love it.

This is what our cookies looked like
Yum to the O.
I wish I could show you photos of us eating them, but they went too quickly.
Deeelishush.

How was your Easter?

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Curse or Blessing?

Those who know us, know that we've struggled with the big "I". Yep, Infertility.  I don't talk about it much and I really haven't blogged about it, but I am feeling like I need to do so. This is all from my perspective, as a woman who has struggled with conceiving biological children. 
The reason for this post? Maybe I just need to vent. Maybe if I write it down, I can let it go. Maybe it will be therapeutic.  Maybe.

We have five beautiful children. Each of whom brings something completely unique to our family and each of whom are choice spirits. I know they are my children. I know that each of them are supposed to be part of our family.  I had a conversation with a friend and we talked about that very statement. We both know that our kids are our kids. But, to say they were always meant to be with us is a hard thing to think about. For them to be with us, they had to endure so much pain and face their own trials as their biological parents made the choices that they did. We did not adopt them from birth, they came to us through the foster care system. 

They were abused children, both physically and mentally. Why would a loving Heavenly Father have them endure all of that to end up with us, their forever parents?  I wish I had an adequate answer for that. I don't know. Sometimes I question it. Why not just send them to US to begin with?! Why not skip all of that  pain?
For now, only our Father in Heaven knows that. I know that Cary and I were prepared for them, somewhat. I know Heavenly Father put us in place so that they could come to us.  They have helped to make us, a family.

Lately, for some reason, women have felt the need to remind me of the fact that I've never had to change dirty diapers, I've never had to get up at 1am for feedings, I've never had to worry about spit up on my favorite blouse. And, not only is the reminder that I've never experienced these things, but that I should be thankful that I haven't.

I smile my half smile, nod my head in agreement, and give a chuckle
 The thing that they don't realize is that I want to experience 1 am feedings. I want to have a shirt ruined by spit-up. I want Cary to experience the dirty diapers. hehe :)
I haven't experienced those things yet, but I hope to. 

I love my kids. They are sealed to me. For All Eternity.
And, most days I'm grateful for that. :)
Buuuuut, I don't believe that my family is complete yet.
I think that we have another little spirit or two out there who is meant to be part of us. I know, most of you think that is a ridiculous statement considering we have 5 already. 
But, that's what I feel. 
I hope I'm right. 
I hope that we get to experience everything.

If not,  we'll be okay.  We have each other. We have five of the most adorable children on the face of the planet. and we have the knowledge that we are a forever family. 
But, please, don't remind me of how lucky I am. :)


Saturday, April 16, 2011

Easter Cookies!

I found this neat idea last year on Sugardoodle, and we loved it.  It is important to us that our kids know that there is a reason for celebrating Christmas and Easter. We don't want them thinking it's all Santas dropping toys down chimneys and Easter Bunnies pooping chocolate and jelly beans. 
    Last year as I was trying to develop some family traditions for our family for the different holidays, I ran across the following idea for Easter cookies. I loved it. The kids loved it. I also don't think it hurt too much that we got to all eat cookies for breakfast. Who doesn't love that? I'm including the recipe and the scriptures that Amy posted on the Sugardoodle blog. 
What are some of your traditions? 



To be made the evening before Easter.
You need:
1 cup whole pecans
1 tsp. vinegar
3 egg whites
pinch salt
1 cup sugar
zipper baggie
heavy wooden spoon
tape
A Bible
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. This is important! Don’t wait until you’re half done with the recipe!
Place pecans in zipper baggie and let children beat them with the wooden spoon to break into small pieces. Explain that after Jesus was arrested, He was beaten by the Roman soldiers.
Read John 19:1-3.
Let each child smell the vinegar. Put 1 tsp. vinegar into mixing bowl. Explain that when Jesus was thirsty on the cross, He was given vinegar to drink.
Read John 19:28-30.
Add egg whites to vinegar. Eggs represent life. Explain that Jesus gave His life to give us eternal life.
Read John 10:10-11.
Sprinkle a little salt into each child’s hand. Let them taste it and brush the rest into the bowl. Explain that this represents the salty tears shed by Jesus’ followers, and the bitterness of our own sin.
Read Luke 23:27.
So far, the ingredients are not very appetizing. Add 1 cup sugar. Explain that the sweetest part of the story is that Jesus died because He loves us. He wants us to know and belong to Him.
Read Ps. 34:8 and John 3:16.
Beat with a mixer on high speed for 12 to 15 minutes until stiff peaks are formed. Explain that the color white represents the purity in God’s eyes of those whose sins have been cleansed by Jesus.
Read Isa. 1:18 and John 3:1-3.
Fold in broken nuts. Drop by teaspoons onto wax paper covered cookie sheet. Explain that each mound represents the rocky tomb where Jesus’ body was laid.
Read Matt. 27:57-60.
Put the cookie sheet in the oven, close the door and turn the oven OFF. Give each child a piece of tape and seal the oven door. Explain that Jesus’ tomb was sealed.
Read Matt. 27:65-66.
NOW GO TO BED! Explain that they may feel sad to leave the cookies in the oven overnight. Jesus’ followers were in despair when the tomb was sealed.
Read John 16:20 and 22.
On Easter morning, open the oven and give everyone a cookie. Notice the cracked surface and take a bite. The cookies are hollow! On the first Easter, Jesus’ followers were amazed to find the tomb open and empty.
Read Matt. 28:1-9


Friday, April 15, 2011

Pass of all passes!

We have Seven Peaks/ Trafalga Pass of ALL Passes. I love it. The kids love it even more than I do. We bought ours on CityDeals and got them for $34.95 and THEN got a 15% discount on top of that good price! shout out to Jennie for totally helping us out!
So. Stoked.
This week has been Spring Break for the kidlets. What a week! I enjoy having the kids home, even though it's a bit of a mad-house. It messes up our regular routine and it's not quite our summer routine. We had fun, at any rate.
On Thursday we went to Trafalga in Lehi. The boys brought along their friend Justin, and they went off to play laser tag and act like 11 & 12 yr old boys while the girls and I hung out, mostly at the airplanes.





We had heaps of fun, even though it wasn't even 50 degrees. Thankfully the sun was shining despite the blustery wind. It did not deter us one bit.
It did, however, slow the girls down after the water boats. :)














And, this is what you do when you don't want to get wet on the boats










The girls were super brave and climbed the rock wall. I was surprised by how far they made it up the wall. I always knew they were part monkey. :)

















We ended the day with the obligatory mom photo. :)