Thursday, June 26, 2008

Getting Kinda Scary...

We've been getting more and more smoke every day... with almost no idea of exactly where all the smoke is coming from. We keep hearing about new fires popping up, jumping highways, and now some of them are starting to force mandatory evacuations. Our sonogram technician was just forced to race home to try to save a few of her animals because the fire is now 1 mile from her home. So, we won't be seeing the first pictures of our baby today... but we hope she can get home and back out safely. Resources are seriously limited, and the fires are really starting to rage out of control. Many of them are joining together, and with this heavy smoke everywhere- they have had aircraft grounded and are fighting with what they can on the ground. We don't feel like we are in immediate danger here, because they have an evacuation center set up at the school across the street- but are definitely checking in with friends frequently to try to stay on top of fire activity. Hope you are all staying indoors where you are... because I hear most of Northern Ca is dealing with terrible fires and smoke, like us.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


There are over 153 wildfires burning in our beautiful Shasta-Trinity forests right now. This is a picture of our front yard, usually you can see trees and mountains in the background where the smoke is. It gets even worse in the afternoons, and we've been forced to stay indoors. We have been getting our swimming lessons done in the mornings, when the air quality is better- so at least we can burn off some of our stir craziness there!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Catching Up

Again, it's been ages between posts, and of course we've been crazy busy. I finally have a chance to sit down and tell the blog world "We're still here!" and I don't even know where to begin. After a jam-packed week and a half, we headed down to the bay area to be with family. Typically a drive to the bay area (without children) takes 3.5 to 4 hours. Friday, ours took 12. This was self-induced, we had to replace our brakes in Redding, then detoured to Sacramento to pick up some river rafts Wes found on Craig's List for cheap, then headed to Oakland. After arriving at my parents at 11:30 pm, Kylee woke up and had a HUGE smile on her face. She knew that the premier of Disney Channel's "Camp Rock" had happened while we were on the road- and was eager to start watching it. Wes and I were blown away, Kylee never likes to miss out on sleep, and she was wide awake, ready to rock out with the Jonas Brothers at midnight. So, since she had been an awesome traveler, we turned on the movie (that she had previously convinced Uncle Paulie to go over and pre-record for her!) and we settled in on the couch, thinking she'd be back to sleep in no time. Nope! The girl has officially changed from a 4-year-old to a tween overnight- I sat with her until 2 am as she danced around and sang the songs with her new favorite boy band.

While we were fending off 100 degree heat in OAKLAND that night... we called home and found out that a crazy spontanious lighting storm had struck and started literally hundreds of wildfires in Trinity and Shasta Counties. We were bummed to hear the news, but knew our home was safe, and continued on with our weekend as planned.

We had a birthday celebration for my brother at the A's game, which was great fun for the whole family. Wes worked in a business meeting with a couple he is drawing house plans for. My parents and I took the kids to Lake Merritt for some excercise and time in the park, followed by a trip to the favorite coffee shop. We went to Stanford to see our little buddy, Drew, on Sunday- who is such an amazing little trooper after being in the hospital for more than a month.

Drew's visit, and a visit with my godparents are two major reasons I am glad we take the time and effort to travel- even though it always has difficult and stressful moments. On Saturday, we had a very special visit with my Godparents. They mean the world to me, are some of my parents closest, lifelong friends, and have always been a guiding force in my life. My Godfather has suffered with MS for many years, and it recently took a turn for the worse. I'll never forget Saturday, it was a hot, yet very peaceful day in their home. I could hear our kids playing under a huge shady tree in their yard, enjoying the company of my parents and godmother. Wes and I stood with this very dear father-figure, and said a very difficult goodbye. We didn't know when we'd be down again, and didn't know how much time he had, so we said what we could between tears. I knew he knew we were there, because he responded to our voices and talk about the kids and my parents. It was something I'll never forget. Sunday night, on our drive home, we watched the smoke roll in on the whole trip up the valley. We couldn't even see the sunset with all the smoke from all the wildfires in Northern California. I thought alot about my Godfather, and nature being so powerful, and how little control we have of things in our world. We arrived home after midnight to a smokey house, and I got the call first thing this morning that my Godfather had passed away during the night. All day long, I've been in a sleep deprived, smoke-filled, daze. I miss my godfather, and have been crying for my godmother, but I am glad that- although nature decides when these things take place- I was able to be there in time to have our final moment together.

I'll post some cute pictures from the past two weeks when I get a chance- for now I'm off to bed.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

City Girl: 0, Nature: 2

Last spring we put a lot of sweat, tears, and dollars into adding concrete,landscaping, and other nice outdoor accents to our home. This year, we've been enjoying it as we watched our new trees make it through the heavy snow, blossom, and fill out. We set out our patio furniture back in March, and have been enjoying the fruits of our hard work on many warm evenings already- while we sit out, relax and eat dinner. My hatred for squirrels began in March, when I caught one of the ugly little rodents completely tearing into the top of one of my chairs. Apparently, he couldn't find enough warm material in nature to build a sufficient nest in our trees. So, he decided to take our brand new, wal-mart special, dining set chair cushions apart. I was enraged! But, over the months, after many failed attempts with a BB gun to rid ourselves of the problem, I have been dealing with it and thinking about beginning to make repairs as soon as I knew they were done gathering their nesting material. Well, yesterday afternoon, as I sat on my lopsided, no head-rest chair watching the kids play, I noticed my chair stuffing hanging from the trees in various spots. How nice. The squirrels are hot now, no need for the added insulation. They're just throwing it back at me. Mocking me.

As I was observing this, thinking, "I guess I can get started on repairing the chairs..." Wes stopped by on his way to another job. He popped his head out the back door and kind of grimaced and said, "What happened out front?" I said, "We haven't been out there today, what's going on?" He said, "Oh- the kids didn't run into the tree?" I said- "I saw the deer family out there earlier- but that's it." So, we all headed out front to see that, not only did the deer completely shred all the leaves off our beautiful fruitless plum, but- just to add insult to injury, went ahead and ripped the tree in two. There it lay, lifeless. All I could think was, "Man, Wes needs to get back into hunting."

Here was our tree last summer, all happy behind the boys as they got back from their ride. This year- it was thriving- even fuller after the harsh winter! I never even got a picture of it :(

Poor, sad tree.

Monday, June 9, 2008

First Lake Day

We had our "first lake day" of the season last night, and it was wonderful! We left after dinner, and since the lake is terribly low this year- we drove down one of the boat launches and 4-wheeled on what would normally be WATER, but is currently flat dirt and rocks. We drove to the edge of the low lake, and set up a great spot to watch Dad get to know his new boat. The kids loved playing in the dirt, and in the water, all the while cheering "Flip Over, Daddy!" I took 100 pictures of them kayaking, finding tadpoles and a snake, and all sorts of fun in the mud. Here are just a few!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Grandparents Rock!

We just had an awesome visit from my parents- who were here for Kylee's graduation and a few days after. I always love having them here, we stay busy playing with the kids and dogs, running, hitting coffe shops, and we even headed up to the lake. My dad decided to get rolling on some yard work while he was here, so we got the whole family involved with mowing, and trimming the lawn- which I usually do solo. Thanks so much for all the help and the good times, mom and dad!

They left Saturday morning, and Wes and I were heading to Arcata on the coast to look at some Whitewater playboats he'd found on craigs list. Wes' mom graciously offered to take the kids for the day- and even had them stay the night Friday so we could just get up and go. What a treat! We had a beautiful 2 hour drive along the Trinity River, with a lovely stop at our new favorite coffee "oasis," Strawhouse Coffee, for some delicious coffee, bagel sandwiches, and a breathtaking riverside view. Wes is getting into river kayaking with some of our local buddies- it is a bit EXTREME for my taste- but I was happy to help him shop for great deals on a sport kayaks. Heck, the Trinity River is practically in our backyard, and people come from all over the west coast to play on this river- so I'm glad to see Wes getting into such a fun new sport. He's now got all the basics- most importantly the helmet and vest for safety- and is planning on getting out on the lake ASAP to practice rolls and all sorts of tricks before he hits the river.

Here are some pictures from our visit with my mom and dad, and, of course- Wes showing off his new gear! A big THANKS to Wes' parents for taking care of the kids-we had a great day, and I know the kids did, too.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Preschool Graduation

We've been busy enjoying the last few days of school and the first day of summer break! Kylee graduated from preschool last night, and we were lucky to have a big group of family with us to share in this big day. Kylee did great, she was beaming with pride the whole time, and loved joining her class in singing all of her school songs. I am so proud of Kylee and all the leaps and bounds she made this year, with overcoming her shyness and showing the world the side of her we get to see everyday. I couldn't help but showcase some of her school work on a banner and in a writing portfolio for the family to see when we partied at our house afterwards. Here are all the fun pictures from Alps View Preschool Graduation- with the kids who are moving on to Kindergarten sporting their super-fly grad capes. Enjoy!