Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A Perfect Day

Picture this:  Snow falling, fire glowing, kids reading (or playing outside in the snow), Christmas music playing and no errands to run.  That was the very infrequent scene in our house last Saturday!

Not to mention, the first gift showed up under the tree.

That's enough to break any mother's heart. 

 A perfect day, indeed.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Good 'Ol Ed

The Ideal:  Drive 30 minutes to a fabulous tree farm where we are overwhelmed by the selection of beautiful Christmas trees and the smell of pine.  Be pulled by horses in a sleigh until we get to the said selection of trees at the farm.  Wander through the field of trees until we find the Perfect One.  Cut down the Perfect One with a hand saw and load it into the sleigh to be drawn back to the car.  Drink hot chocolate and visit with the live reindeer.  Load tree onto the van and drive home.  Spend the remainder of the day decorating our tree while discussing what a romantic experience it was for our family and how we can't wait to do it again next year.

Our "horse-drawn" sleigh

Searching, Searching, Searching

"This must be the Perfect One, Mommy, it's just my size!"

Tired of searching

The Reality:  Drive 30 minutes to an OK tree farm overcrowded with cars and people looking for the romantic experience of cutting down their own tree.  Find a sled in which Trevor pulls two cold, whiny girls to the trees while listening to the boys complain and question why they don't get to ride.  Wander through the trees looking, looking, looking for the Perfect One.  Find some trees that are OK and would probably work, but find out they aren't for sale.  Wander around some more hoping we might find a Decent One.  Check the price of a 3 1/2 foot tree.  $50.  Look at one another and decide in unison, "Ed's!"  Drive to our old stand-by, Ed's Feed and Seed, where we immediately spot 83 Perfect One's.  Decide on the 9-footer that Hannah declares, "wants to go home with us".  Have the tree loaded on the car, pay the guy 75 bucks and drive home happy knowing that next year we'll head straight to Ed's.

See you next year!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

'Tis the Season

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

Friday, November 28, 2008

Happy Day-After-Thanksgiving

I'm still so new to blogspot...I'm having trouble getting my photos posted as I want them with my text. Why do they keep posting backwards? You know what I mean, right? Plus, I can't get my text to inter-mingle with the photos. Please help me, ANYONE! So, forgive the bunch of photos followed by the text. Once one of you smarty-pants out there gives me a clue, I can edit this and it will make some sense. Until then...

Yesterday was a great day! We started out early for the 99th Annual Thanksgiving Day 10K. The boys weren't very happy about it as Trevor told them that 10 kilometers is equal to 16 miles. I still can't believed that they fell for that one. The girls have been very excited and have been asking everyday when we would get to go to "the race". Maybe they were more excited because they knew there was a stroller involved? I am still amazed at how many people were there. We were looking for the highest bib number and saw 14,000 something. I tried to get some photos of the sea of people, but they just didn't do the scene justice! Amazingly enough, we ran into several friends there and even Jean Schmidt stopped to say hi. OK, really it was her daughter, Emilie, (she owns and runs the ballet studio where my girls attend) that recognized us.

Jonathan became excited once we were there and kept insisting that he wanted to run the whole thing. We kept warning him not to try and run too fast or he would become too tired too fast. I decided to jog with him and Trevor did his best to keep up for the first 2 miles (he was pushing the stroller and had Timothy to contend with). After we couldn't see Trevor and company behind us anymore, Jonathan and I decided to just keep going. I was very proud of him. He only walked 2 times--both when we were going uphill and just for a minute or two. For the last mile or so, I picked up the pace and he started to hurt. He kept saying, "Mom, I can't! I have to walk!" I just kept telling him to go another block and that we were almost there. Finally we turned the corner and could see the finish line. I thought he would take off in a sprint, but he was pretty dead. I encouraged him across the finish line and couldn't believe he jogged the whole thing! This morning he did complain that his legs were a bit "wobbly".

Poor Trevor. I guess around the 3 mile mark Rachel began to cry because she was cold. Trevor did his best to warm her up and even got her out of the stroller and carried her while pushing Hannah. Then, about a mile later, Hannah started to cry because she had to go to the bathroom. All the while, Timothy was complaining about the race, about how he was tired, about how stupid this idea was and how he wanted to stay home with a babysitter next year. I sure felt guilty about taking off with Jonathan when I heard what he was left with! It will be interesting to see what we decide to do next year. We'll either get a sitter for Timothy and the girls and just take Jonathan, or we'll repeat history by trying to convince ourselves that it will be different when in reality it will be just the same...

We had a fantastic afternoon feast with some friends to counter-balance all of those calories we burned off in the morning. We didn't think to take a picture until after we had all stuffed ourselves and who wants to see pictures of that? Once again, there is always next year...

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

On a Lighter Note

I really don't feel much like discussing last night's election results. I've just decided to move on and pray. Boy, do we ever need to pray for this country.

That being said, I thought I would begin the day on a lighter note. Awhile back my good friend, Sharese, wrote a post titled, "100 interesting things about me". I thought I would give it a shot. So, here is my list of 100 interesting (or not so interesting) things about me. Maybe you'll learn a thing or two that you didn't already know about me. Then again, maybe you won't.

1. My maiden name is Butcher (now there’s one to get us started).
2. I have always found myself in disbelief when someone asks, “how do you spell that?”
3. I always answer, “just like it sounds” while thinking, “Haven’t you seen it spelled in huge block letters on the grocery store wall your entire life?” Dummies.
4. My father was a High School Vice-Principal or Principal for most of his career.
5. We (his kids) thought he should hang a meat clever on his office wall.
6. He never did.
7. I learned to drive a stick-shift at 14.
8. I taught my older sister how to drive a stick shift when I was 14.
9. I drove a 1968 Ford Mustang nicknamed “The Green Pig” in high-school. Wish we still had it today. It might be worth some $$.
10. I once had 13 people piled (more like smashed) into said Mustang.
11. I was the only girl on our water polo team in middle school and high school.
12. I quit playing after my freshman year and became the “manager” (kept the books at the games) instead. Was tired of everything that went on under the water.
13. I missed out on Title IX.
14. My grandfather was a fisherman. I hate fish. Don’t know how that happened.
15. My favorite food on the planet is lobster. Smothered in melted butter. Don’t know how that happened either. Did I mention that I hate fish?
16. I think I have the perfect family.
17. No, we’re not perfect. Just having 2 boys and 2 girls is.
18. My family couldn’t survive without me. Example: Monday morning I spent an hour looking for a cell phone that wasn’t mine, got a phone call from my oldest saying he forgot his trumpet at home and could I bring it to him (I did which made #4 late for school), then received another phone call from 2nd child saying he lost his backpack (how does one lose their backpack walking from the bus to the classroom) and therefore did not have a lunch. Could I bring him one? When I showed up at school with one, the secretary informed me that the backpack (and lunch) had been found. Why couldn’t I have received that call?
19. I love my life.
20. I hate doing laundry.
21. I hate ironing even more.
22. I would much rather scrub toilets than iron.
23. There is a skinny hard body inside of me screaming to get out.
24. I’m working on that.
25. I am also not delusional enough to know that it will never happen.
26. I love playing sudoku.
27. I love doing puzzles.
28. I’m good with numbers. Trevor’s not.
29. I deal with all of the finances for our household.
30. I still remember my best friend’s phone number from the 4th grade—213.254.5854. Wonder who it belongs to now?
31. My dream car is a Suburban. Yes, a Suburban. I love driving those boats.
32. I’ll never have one as my husband thinks they guzzle too much gas.
33. I traveled alone to India at the age of 16. I arrived at the airport outside Calcutta praying that someone would be there to meet me. The first place we stopped was at my friend’s uncle’s house in Salt Lake City. I kid you not.
34. I’ve been to the Taj Mahal.
35. I’ve always wanted to visit the 7 Wonders of the World. What are they? Depends on who you talk to.
36. The 7 musts on my list include: the Great Wall of China, the Pyramids of Egypt, the Taj Mahal (check), the Great Barrier Reef, Machu Pichu, the Grand Canyon (I lived in Arizona for 5 ½ years and never went—we’ll have to take the kids), the Colosseum. By no means is this an all-inclusive list.
37. I was Homecoming Queen in high school.
38. I used to alphabetize my mom’s soup cans and spices when I was a little girl. I still like to have my spices alphabetized.
39. I hate my wardrobe. It basically consists of jeans and a collection of long sleeve t-shirts for the winter and shorts and short sleeved t-shirts for the summer.
40. My shirts are arranged in my closet by color. Lightest, to darkest. Used to do the same thing with my collection of Izods when I was a kid.
41. I love to organize. Can you tell?
42. My favorite animal on the planet is a dolphin. Wish I could swim like them.
43. I got to swim with them once. I’m dying to do it again.
44. I’ve promised Jonathan that we’d do it together someday—just the two of us.
45. I can’t stand ungrateful people. We all have so much to be grateful for.
46. In addition to my hometown in the LA area where I lived for 17 years, and Ohio where I currently live, I’ve lived in Arizona, Utah, Hawaii, Chile and Argentina.
47. When I married Trevor, I dreamed we would live the perpetual ex-pat life. I’ve now lived in Ohio for 7 ½ years with no end in sight.
48. I love Ohio.
49. I still dream of living an ex-pat life.
50. I’m insanely jealous of Amy who is about to move to Spain to live the ex-pat life.
51. I like to think I’m funny. See #37.
52. I’m really not that funny.
53. I love, love, love my funny friends.
54. Wish I could spend more time with my funny, funny friends to laugh until I cry (or pee my pants).
55. Laughter truly is the best medicine.
56. Other than babysitting, my first job was at Baskin-Robbins.
57. I was only 14 and my boss thought I was 17.
58. I got paid minimum wage--$3.35/hour. Soon got a raise to $3.50/hour. Was worth it for all the ice cream you could eat!
59. I was a swimmer in high school.
60. I spent 3+ hours a day in the pool. Good thing because of #58.
61. The bottom half of one of my front teeth is fake.
62. I have a great dentist (Dr. Della Bella) that makes it look like I don’t.
63. I have to pull the blinds in my house when it gets dark. I can’t stand the thought of anyone watching us.
64. I grew up in LA with the Night Stalker running the streets.
65. I am a true sap. I cry at everything—movies, sappy articles, even Pampers commercials (the one with the baby animals).
66. I love to swim.
67. I love the water.
68. I get sea sick.
69. I deal with the sea sickness to be on the water.
70. I’m proud of my moldy watch and my thrashed car. It’s a symbol to me that we’re living within our means. Besides, if I got a new car, my kids would only trash it (i.e. mud, food, books, etc.) and my husband would crash it.
71. I know a lot of people named Jennifer and none of them are the age of any of my kids.
72. I hate exercising, but I love waking up sore the next morning after a good workout.
73. I like proper grammar.
74. I try very hard never to end a sentence in a preposition.
75. One of my pet peeves is when I see “sister-in-laws" (or anything of the like) instead of “sisters-in-law”. The plurality is in the sisters! I almost e-mailed Ann Romney one time when she posted "daughter-in-laws". Trevor informed me that I should refrain myself. I took his advice (although I didn't want to).
76. I really wish people would learn the difference between your and you’re and there their and they’re.
77. I really, really wish we lived near family.
78. No two members of my immediate family or Trevor’s immediate family live in the same state.
79. My family lives in the states of California (OK, both parents live there, but they’re divorced), Washington, Maryland & New York.
80. Trevor’s family lives in the states of Colorado, Virginia, Nebraska, New Mexico, Arizona and North Carolina.
81. It’s difficult for our families to get together.
82. I love maps.
83. I could sit and study a map for hours.
84. I can’t study maps on road trips because I get car sick.
85. I do most of the driving on road trips or I get car sick.
86. I hate doing most of the driving on road trips.
87. My last (paid) job was at Fox Animation Studios in Arizona.
88. I can’t draw.
89. I am a pretty good cook.
90. My family is extremely spoiled when it comes to dinner.
91. Loved having a 7 foot fence in our backyard in AZ. We had complete privacy.
92. I wish I had one here.
93. Fall weather is my favorite. Crisp, cool weather with the sun shining. It doesn’t get any better than that.
94. I hate cold, grey, Cincinnati winters. They bring cracked, bleeding hands and feet.
95. I have this phobia that everyone looking at me is picking out every single one of my physical flaws. Please don’t tell me if you really are. It will just make my phobia worse.
96. It bothers me that I color my hair. I wish I could have just held on to the natural blonde I had pre-kids. Maybe I should just let it go yucky brown again?
97. I had a killer Farrah Fawcett haircut in high school—too bad it was the 80s and I hated it the minute it happened.
98. I can’t stand people that think they know it all.
99. The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don’t know.
100. I’m grateful for repentance. I need it a lot more than I would like.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Do Your Duty

Try JibJab Sendables® eCards today!

I did mine! I didn't even have to wait in line. Whew!
P.S. I love JibJab (at least when they're not being crass).

Monday, November 3, 2008

I've Made the Switch!

I’ve been thinking for some time now about switching to blogspot. First, I want to remove our last name from the blog. Second, I’m sick and tired of my comments not working (so, please leave lots of good, witty comments)! I miss the witty comments coming my way. Third, I want to be able to blog whatever is on my mind, whether I have a photo to go with my thoughts or not. It has taken me forever to switch pretty much for one reason only—I couldn’t come up with a new name. So, here is the story behind “three cups”.

Several months ago, my sister recommended a book to me that she had just finished reading. She thought Trevor and I would both love it. I thought it sounded great, but I thought, “I don’t ever have time to read anymore” and that was that. Then, the week before Trevor and I were leaving for California for my brother’s wedding, I was wandering through Target (maybe if I spent less time at Target I would actually have time to read!) and saw said book sitting there, staring at me. I picked it up and threw it in my cart thinking it would be a great read for our trip.

In the meantime, I had been trying to come up with a good name for my blog. Seems like everything I tried was already taken. I turned to my extremely creative and mostly humorous husband thinking he would come up with something immediately. No such luck.

So, there I was, sitting on our flight to California when I decided to pull out my new book and start to read. I read for awhile, then Trevor and I began to have a conversation. I can’t remember what it was about, only that somewhere in there I reminded him that he hadn’t given me any good ideas for a new name for my blog. He looked down at my book and said, “I have a great idea. Why don’t you call it ‘Three Cups of Tea’?” I looked at him like he was crazy and told him I couldn’t plagiarize and we didn’t even drink tea. He responded with a smirk, “How about ‘Three Cups of Herbal Tea’?”

The more I thought about it, the more I liked it. First of all, it was available. Secondly, no one would ever guess it’s meaning without an explanation and thirdly, it captures the essence of our love of travel and my intense desire to live out our retirement years doing humanitarian work. Not to mention, we consider so many of you, our friends, as family since we haven’t had family live near us in our almost 12 years of marriage.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Good Intentions

So, I had the best intentions of taking time to download photos and post while on vacation. Here I am, just a few days from returning home and I haven't posted a thing! You'll have to wait until I get home to see them. We have had a great time. We spent the 4th of July in my hometown and went to the town parade in the morning and fireworks in the evening. The kids loved it! We spent the next week at the Colorado River and enjoyed every minute (OK, except when the kids would fight) and the boys even got up on skiis. That's a story in itself. After that we spent a few days in Prescott, AZ with Trevor's parents and grandparents and then on to Mesa to visit with my grandmother, aunt, cousins & their kids. Back to LA on Wednesday to get Trevor to the airport and then down here to Newport Beach where we are currently staying with my dad. We went to Legoland yesterday where the boys fought incessently and today has been a day of eating and sleeping. Everyone is trashed. Rachel asked me this morning if I was sick. I assured her I was just tired and she replied, "Are you just a little bit sick?" I guess I'm looking sick at this point. We're off to the beach after naps (the kids are asleep right now) and perhaps a ride in a duffy boat in the bay that surrounds the island where my dad lives. I have to admit we've been living the life of luxury. I did wake up this morning, however, thinking that I was just about ready to go home. I'm not exactly sure why, because I know the kids will just be bored and constantly at each other's throats. Maybe I'm just craving a good night's sleep in my own bed with just my husband who doesn't kick me constantly during the night. Then again, maybe, just maybe there really is no place like home.

Monday, June 30, 2008

You've Found Me!

Sorry about the boring look, but this is just a temporary site (unless I change my mind and I'll fix it later) until we get home from vacation.  I can at least post photos and give updates while we're gone this way!