NEW BABY!!

We are so excited to spread our exciting news to our friends and loved ones.  I know everyone thought that we were done with babies, and frankly, so did we.  Well, I did anyway.  But sometimes surprises are a good thing, right?  So surprise and welcome to our newest family member, Shelby Elizabeth Oliver.  She was born on February 10, 2008, and weighs a whopping 4 lbs, 2 oz.  She’s a petite little thing, won’t shed and isn’t hyper.  And she’s the cutest little puppy around!  And the best news is, we all agreed on it, so there are no divorce proceedings in the works. 

 

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Reminiscing

I had a fun, albeit unproductive, afternoon today. After getting my morning work done and Cooper down for his nap, I was doing a little organizing. I found some letters that Grandma and Grandpa had sent to the kids recently and decided that I would put them in a binder right away so that they wouldn’t get lost or ruined. I decided to put them in the page protectors in the back of my journal binder. Big mistake. I spent much of the afternoon reading, smiling, laughing until I almost cried at some of the funny things that the kids said and did when they were little. Reading my labor stories, first days at school, disappointments at Pinewood Derbies…it was a wonderful afternoon. One of my favorite stories that I had totally forgotten about was about Landon when he was just barely three. He was in the bathtub, and I walked in, noticed that the toilet needed to be flushed, so I flushed it and then walked back out. Suddenly I heard Landon frantically yelling for me, and hurried back in to check on him. He was looking into the toilet, yelling my name. He thought I had been flushed down the toilet! What a funny dingbatty little boy he was! Anyway, I did manage to pull myself away from the journal since I had to go visiting teaching at 2, and then picked kids up from school and then took Hayden to violin. The house is in a lot better shape tonight than it was last night, so maybe I should sit and reminisce a little every day!

I never did put those letters into the binder though!

Hayden and Dix went to Burfoot tonight for Mutual.  They picked Noah Zeledon up on their way and took him along.  Did I tell you that his dad just got called to be Dixon’s assistant?  They had a barbecue and played a little at the beach.  They had a lot of fun. 

While they were gone, Ken Eldredge picked Porter up and took him to his house for Scouts.  The Charleston’s grandson went back to live with his mom, so Port is once again the only 11 year old scout.  Oh well, he seems to be enjoying it quite a lot!  Tonight they whittled a flag pole for their patrol flag.  They are the eagle patrol.  He really loves scouts and looks forward to going!  I don’t think there is another boy that will be turning 11 before Port turns 12, so it looks like he’ll be getting one on one for the rest of the year.  It’s just as well, he really is a lot better behaved that way!  He’ll be going to the day camp in June.  I’m sure he’ll enjoy that.  It’s weird that the 11 year old day camp is just one day, but the Cub Scout day camp is three or four.  11 year olds kind of get gyped! 

Tomorrow morning Landon has his well check, then I have two meetings and then Landon’s violin lessons.  I have the house in pretty good shape, so as long as our morning goes smoothly, it should stay in pretty good shape for most of the day.  Chanda will be watching the little kids while I take Landon to the doctor. 

 

Now I can join the bicycling set, too

My new toy

I bought it yesterday and picked it up today. I rode it around a bit today, and I think it will be awhile before I am up to commuting to work on it. While I have been walking quite a bit, it perhaps hasn’t been aerobic enough of exercise for me.

The bike is a Specialized Globe Sport — it’s pretty much designed as a commuting bike.  I might get a luggage rack added later, but for now, I’ll just use a backpack.

Another week

Well, it looks as if I may stay sane this week.  Dix isn’t working late and we don’t have quite as much going on.  We had a nice Sunday yesterday.  After church Turner “rested” in his room for awhile.  In other words, he didn’t take a nap.  Cooper didn’t nap for long, so I finally laid down with him and we ended up snoozing for a couple of hours.  Earlier, in Sacrament Meeting, we found out that there was to be a Fireside that evening, but we didn’t know about it until then.  Normally it wouldn’t have been a big deal, but Barbara had given us tickets to the Symphony that night and the guest artist was a violinist, so of course Hayden was excited to go.  I gave him the option of going to the fireside or to the symphony.  He responded, “You’re just trying to make me feel guilty.”  I told him that I really wasn’t, I just wanted to know which one he would rather do.  He answered, “The symphony, duh!”  What a guy.  So Dix took Hayden to the Symphony and once again, they loved it. 

I worked really hard on staying on task in my housework today.  I got several loads of laundry washed, folded AND put away, and I got my kitchen mopped, dinner fixed and a FHE treat made.  I got the sheets in my room and in Turner’s room changed, and cleaned both of the upstairs bathrooms.  The kids’ bedrooms are disastrous, as is the basement, but oh well.  I watched Marilyn today and she and Regan played so cute.  I went downstairs to get the laundry and heard them playing.  “You’re Faline, and I’m Bambi.  Oh no, here comes the fire.  And then Bambi’s dad…..”  It was so cute.  They played Bambi for at least an hour.  They had the downstairs all set up with a blanket and stuffed animals.  Turner napped for a while this afternoon which is why they were able to play in peace.  I forgot how much I loved it when Turner naps! I woke him up after about an hour and a half so that he would be able to go to sleep tonight.  Which he did with no problems!  Yay!

We had a family over for FHE tonight.  It was a mom and her two kids who are about Landon and Porter’s ages.  The boys all got a little wild, especially during “Don’t Eat Pete,” but we’re used to it.  The kids had a lot of fun together and spent some time outside running around before our new friends left.  We read a few chapters in “Little Town on the Prairie,” did our scriptures (we’re in the Isaiah chapters in 2nd Nephi…it’s slow going), and got the kids to bed.  Regan and Turner have checkups in the morning so I have to be on the ball to get this crew ready and out the door in time.  I’ll drop the boys off at school about 10 or 15 minutes early, which they’re not thrilled about.  They like to get there right when the bell rings. 

Dale bought Regan (and Marilyn and Lacy) a little Asian dress in Chinatown.  She decided to wear it to church yesterday and looked absolutely delicious.  It was overcast after church, the perfect weather for a photo shoot, so I got a bunch of pictures.  Most of them were good, but none were great.  I’m trying to get some good pictures to hang up in my family room.  I’m tired of getting pictures at the photo studio at department stores.  Anyway, here are a couple of cute ones.  Click on either of them to go to photobucket and see the rest of our pictures there.  And speaking of Regan, she has a loose tooth!  Aah!  I’m not ready for her to be a big girl!  I just want to freeze time!  She is growing up WAY too fast!

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FoodBlog

Okay, I’ve already described the picnic lunch from day 1: Rye bread, spicy headcheese, garlic ham (oh, and I forgot to mention the hazelnut wafers).

And that evening, we ate FREAKING HUGE pork carnitas burritos from a takeaway stand. Heavy. And yummy. Day 2 continued the Mexican theme as we visited La Super Rica Taqueria in Santa Barbara and had Stuffed roasted chilis, Beef tri-tip with onions and bacon, marinated pork tacos, and chorizo tacos (plus nice cold Jamaica). Soooooo yummy.

At the farmer’s market in S.B., we had numerous tidbits of fruits, juices and oils (yes, oils).

Finally, we ended up having a picnic supper that EAG had prepared consisting of fresh bread, brie, some hungarian sausage, tomato, fragrant pears, plus some produce we had purchased at the market: cherimoya and carrot. It felt very European.

Day 3: Lunch as the LYL Garden in Monterey Park. We had Baked Pork Chop with Spicy Salt (crispy and yummy), String Bean with Minced Meat (so salty and fresh), Shrimp with Eggplant and Spicy Garlic Sauce (So savory and delicious), and Deep Fried Fish (I think it was flounder, and so light-tasting. Mmm. It was a fabulous lunch.

We then had little tidbits for most of the rest of the day. At the market, EAG gave me a Chrysanthemum tea which was so tasty and thrist-quenching. Some of the stuff we had throughout the day included mochi ice cream (I had red bean flavor), melon ice cream, strawberry cake, and a churro at “Mr. Churro”.

That evening, we spent some time at some friends of EAG’s and had some of our LYL leftovers plus some spicy beef, pig’s ears, and some more American-style Chinese takeout. Oh, and ginger beer.

Day 4, we had another picnic: Bread, brie, hungarian sausage and fragrant pear made reappearances, plus a grilled Ahi salad that we purchased on the (Getty Museum) premises.

That afternoon, for a snack we had ice cream sandwiches: mine was chocolate chip cookies with mint chip ice cream. Soooo decadent.

The grand finale was dinner at El Rocoto Peruvian restaurant in Torrance. Despite its being a Peruvian restaurant, however, they did not have Guinea pig on the menu. We ordered the Lomo Saltado (beef sauteed with onions, tomatoes and french fries) and Saltado de Mariscos (Shrimps, squid, scallops and mussels sauteed with onions, tomatoes and french fries).

Basically we ate like kings… and yet, food was way cheaper than parking.

Vacation Blog 2

Okay, I’m way behind on my blogging, so:

Wednesday morning, I did a little walking around on my own, and found myself in a used bookstore. There they had a really interesting book on the opera Der Rosenkavalier which included a brief novelization of the work by none other than Anthony Burgess! Unfortunately the pricetag was $70, as this was a limited edition autographed by the great mezzo-sopranos Risë Stevens and Tatiana Troyanos. However, they also had an ordinary, non-autographed version that I obtained for the princely sum of $5.50.

After EAG picked me up, Wednesday was “Asian Towns of L.A.” day. In Monterey Park, we ate (details forthcoming in the Food post), and shopped at some markets there. Then, we went to Little Tokyo, including the Anime Jungle store.

Next stop was Olvera Street, where we perused the market. Last was Chinatown, from where we visited many souvenir stands, plus markets. Oh, and we were about literally the last customer of the day in three or four stores… we would walk in, look around… the lights would start to turn off, the clerks would stand expectantly near the doors… yeah. And we waited for the L.A. freeway traffic to die down so we could make our way back.

As a bookend for the trip, Thursday featured a trip to the other Getty museum, the Getty Center, which is a stunning place. Even without the art, it would be worth the trip up (via private train). The museum contains most eras of art history, from late classical up to impressionism. There wasn’t much from the late-20th century apart from some pieces in the special exhibitions. And like the Getty Villa, admission is free: the only cost is $8 for parking (eminently reasonable, IMHO). The big impressionist room included famous works by Van Gogh, Degas, Manet, Monet, Cezanne, Renoir, and others… the one room is probably worth upwards of a half-billion dollars.

From there we traveled down to the UCLA district, then to Torrance, where we met a friend for dinner (Food details forthcoming), then finally to the airport.

I had a wonderful time, the weather was lovely (the latest intelligence indicates that the weather is no longer lovely there… nor is it here, as well), and I look forward to visiting again in the future.

TV Turnoff Week

Well, it’s been a long week.  But we’ve about made it.  Kind of.  I’ll have to admit, we did let the kids watch movies on Thursday night since they were home alone and Turner had had a nap so he would be up the whole time, and also on Friday night since Hayden was babysitting again and he also had Marilyn.  We thought it would be better for the kids to have screen time on those nights than to totally destroy the house!

So sorry I’ve stayed off the computer way more than usual and haven’t posted.  And now I don’t even remember what we’ve done.  I can’t believe I haven’t posted in a week!  Bad me!  So get a snack, sit back and relax.  And welcome to a week in the life of the Olivers.

Carolyn came over on Monday.  I think maybe that was the day that Lacy had a dentist appointment and I was watching Rose.  After they got done with the appointment we played for awhile.  I was a bad hostess and folded laundry and cleaned while they were here, but it needed to be done!  Carolyn and I worked together to make a yummy carrot cake.  I don’t remember what I made for dinner, but I remember a huge pile of dirty dishes when I went to bed that night.  Whoops.  Monday night we had Family Home Evening.  It was really late, and I was in charge of the activity, so we sat at the table and had the snack (carrot cake) and I was still racking my brain about what we should do that wouldn’t make the kids hyper.  And then I started chanting, “Who stole the cookie from the cookie jar?”  And none of my kids had ever heard that before!  And even though it was pretty lame as far as activities go, it was new, so it was acceptable! 

Tuesday was kind of a crazy day for me.  I tried to get some housework done on Tuesday morning and was working on getting Turner potty trained (still not working!).  I dropped Sam and Regan off at preschool and then I went shopping and errand running for two hours.  I was in Fred Meyer’s and looked at the clock and realized that I should already be in the car driving to pick Regan and Sam up.  I thought it would be faster to go through the self check since there were lines everywhere else.  I didn’t consider that almost everything I had gotten was bulk, so I would have to look up all the numbers.  Finally I desperately asked for some help and a lady came over and quickly finished it for me.  Whew.  I loaded the boys up and zoomed over to pick the kids up.  Ten minutes late.  Whoops.  I had about an hour at home then I went to pick up the kids from school.  Dix had to work late that night and I had just found out that Hayden had to be at the Olympia Stake Center at 7 for dance rehearsal.  Landon had a violin rehearsal out on Marvin Rd at 6 and then Cub Scouts at 7 at the Lacey Stake Center.  Aaaahhh!  So after several phone calls I found a ride for Hayden, talked Porter into babysitting Turner and Regan, and took Landon to his two places.  I also had a temple recommend interview while I was at the church, so I just waited there afterwards until Landon’s scouts were over.  I was exhausted by the time I got home.

Wednesday was actually a little crazier than Tuesday if you can believe that!  I got the kids off to school and just had time to shower and get ready.  I sent Regan and Turner off to Sam’s house and then I picked up my companion Desiree and we went visiting teaching to three people.  One of them wasn’t there, and we have four on our route, so we still have two more visits to make.  I got home around 1, so I had about two hours to try to conquer some of the disorder that had taken over from my previous two crazy days.  With little luck.  I got some laundry put away and a load of dishes done.  I picked up Porter (Landon went to Keagan’s after school), came home, got the kids, dropped Hayden off at violin, took the other kids and about 70 books to the library, picked Hayden up, hurried home, had about 45 minutes to make and eat dinner, sent Hayden and Dix off on their bikes for scouts, picked Landon and Keagan up, went to the school to see the Reptile Man, dropped Porter off at the church for scouts, dropped Keagan off, picked Porter up from scouts and went home.  Talk about pooped out.  It was a fun day, but I think I’d prefer boring days, thank you very much.  That much running around in one day is just not fun. Dix and Hayden rode from our house to the Chehalis Western Trail, then north to the Petsmart area, then back.  It was Dixon’s first ride in sooooo long, and although it was hard for him, he did it and hasn’t even been too sore this week!

The Reptile Man was so fun.  It was at the kids’ school.  He brought in about 15 reptiles.  They were really cool and interesting.  Nothing boring like a bearded dragon or a ball python.  Cool stuff like a gaboon viper and a king cobra.  He did a really cool show.  Turner was AWFUL, though.  He kept running around.  He actually ran up front where the man was doing his show.  I was so embarrassed and mad.  And Hayden wasn’t there to help me!  I was holding Cooper and Turner most of the time so I was physically exhausted by the end of it.  Landon won the raffle, so he got a Hulk book.  That was kind of cool.  The kids all got to pet the rock iguana and the albino Burmese Python at the end.  Regan wasn’t a bit scared. 

Thursday wasn’t nearly as crazy as earlier days, but it was still busy.  I was home all morning.  Regan had her friend Aurora over, then I took Sam, Regan and Aurora all to preschool.  Regan went home with Aurora afterwards.  I picked her up when I picked up the big boys from school.  Then Landon had violin lessons, we had an hour or so and then I took him to the west side for his last group lesson of the school year.  Barbara was so cute.  She gave them each one of those little monster finger puppets and called it a bow monster and stuck it onto the tips of their bows.  So fun!  So then they played “monster twinkle” and did a twinkle parade around the room.  She is so great.  We’ll miss having group lessons all summer, although it will be nice having Thursday evenings free for awhile.  We’ll have our recital on Thursday the 8th for anyone who is interested.  We got home from group lessons around 8:30.  Dix finally got home from work about half an hour after we got home. 

On Friday we went to the Woodland Creek Park with Chanda and her kids.  We had a picnic lunch and got our daily dose of vitamin D.  I love sunny days.  The kids played for quite a while and then we took the kids down to the edge of the lake to throw rocks in for a few minutes before we left.  I put Turner and Cooper both down for naps when we got home around 2.  I had a nice quiet hour with Regan playing quietly with play doh.  I got more laundry folded and more dishes done.  We made smoothies for after school snacks. 

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Then Kurt and Marilyn came over to play.  It was such a nice day, the kids mostly just played outside.  Dale stopped by around 4, bearing gifts.  The kids were happy to see him and I saw his California pictures and got a little info about his trip.  He and Kurt rode bikes with the kids outside for awhile.  The boys really enjoyed that.  We decided to do Arts Walk, so around 7, Kurt and Jackie, Dix and Dale and I all went to Thai food for dinner (yummy!) and then to downtown.  Me and Dix stood out like sore thumbs.  We are so not hippy.  It was fun for awhile, but when some really loud bass beat about tore out my soul, I knew it was time to go home.  And not a moment too soon.  Hayden called while we were on our way home and Cooper had just begun wailing.  The kids had done pretty well and the house wasn’t too trashed. 

Saturday morning was glorious so we decided to seize the day and go for a bike ride.  While I cleaned up the yummy breakfast mess (the breakfast was yummy, not the mess)(whole grain pancakes with buttermilk syrup.  Yum!), Dix got the bikes loaded up into the truck.  I drove most of the kids in the Suburban and he drove the bikes in the truck. It worked out nicely.  We started at 45th and went south.  We stopped for a little rest just past the railroad bridge.  We heard some horses running and looked up and saw that they were running our way!  To the kids’ delight, the horses stopped right at the fence and the kids were able to pet their noses.  They were very nice (and huge!) horses.  Regan and Turner were thrilled. 

 

PhotobucketAt that point, I headed back towards the car with Turner, Cooper and Regan.  Dix and the big boys headed farther south for a few miles before turning back.  (By the way, during all this, Landon was at Riley’s birthday party at Build a Bear.  He had a great time.)  I don’t know how far we went (I need to check the bike trail map!), but I suspect it was about five miles for me and Regan, maybe 8 for the other crew.  Regan was so tired for the last mile that she was as slow as a slug, not as fast as a gazelle.  Every time that I told her that she was doing so great and was a real trouper, she would speed up.  If I told her that she was going too slow and to speed up, it would slow her even more.  Hmmm…a little lesson in positive reinforcement!  The boys caught up with us for the last mile or so.  It was a great ride.  I hope we can go on at least one ride a week until fall! 

After our bike ride, I came home and started making salads.  I made a broccoli salad and a pasta salad.  Mark and his friend John came down an hour or so after we got back.  We got ourselves all organized and headed downtown.  Kurt and Jackie didn’t go, but everyone else met downtown to watch the parade.

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Here we are trying to keep people from stealing our spot.  And no, I’m not pregnant.  Just fat.  And had no idea how bad I looked today until just now.  Darn that carrot cake!

Wow, were there some interesting people there!  The kids had fun writing on the street with chalk while we were waiting for the parade to begin.  Porter had a terrible attitude about it and didn’t want to be there, but ended up having fun after all!  I handed the camera to Landon and let him take pictures of whatever he wanted…it was interesting to see what he chose!  Lots of pictures of the rhino and of the monkeys.  When the parade was over we hurried home to eat.  Mark and John dragged the BBQ over to our house, we opened up our french doors from the dining room and we had a really nice dinner.  Mark contributed some potato salad, and I got out the other salads.  I whipped up a carrot cake for dessert, Dale cut veggies for the burgers, Carolyn mostly had to keep Rose from falling off the deck, Dix fried the burgers…the kids weren’t bugging us because we were outside and they could jump on the tramp or ride their bikes or do whatever!  It was great!  Sometime in the evening Hayden and Porter rode their bikes with Nathan (Mary’s son) to the corner store to get candy.  Wow, was that an exciting thing for them.  I don’t think my kids have ever been in a store without a parent before.  Yikes.  They came home fully loaded with candy.  Did I mention that our evening was pleasant mostly because Turner fell asleep in the car on the way home from the parade and we just put him to bed?  Yes it is now midnight and he has been asleep for over six hours.  He was so tired today!  I suspect that all the kids will sleep hard tonight after our busy day today!

I know I’ve probably forgotten some important things and probably some funnies that the kids have said, but that’s what happens when you try to do an entire week in one blog.  I’ll do better about blogging more often next week.  Hopefully our week will be much less eventful, though! One last picture.  Cooper is going to be mobile soon!  Yikes!

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Yes, Virginia there is a sun.

Today is our preparation day.  I was expecting rain all day like we had last weekend, but it was not to be.  We woke up to a high and light fog which I knew meant sun later on.  Sure enough we were not disappointed today.  There are clouds but also sun, glorious sun.  We spent the morning doing laundry and cleaning the apartment.  Dad replanted all our seedlings into the window boxes.  While he was doing this he noticed the scourge of Germany, snails.  We will have to watch and be extra careful because our window boxes sit on the ground next to our basement windows.

We also drove to the German grocery store where we picked up some yogurt and museli mix for next week’s breakfasts.  Then we went by the commisary and bought a sandwich for lunch and some more groceries. 

We took our stuff home and then drove over to Vilseck so we could watch William Pomares’ game.  We got there right at the end.  William hurt his shoulder and couldn’t play, but we watched the last few innings as his team beat the team from Hohenfels.  It was fun to be there with the Pomares and talk to them while we watched the game.  It is a good thing we went, this is the last home game for them. 

We tried to drop off our gps at Kayla Monroe’s house.  She is going to Nurnberg to pick up her husband tomorrow, but she hasn’t been home.  I wonder if he came a day early. 

Several ward members are in Frankfurt this weekend waiting for a hop to get home.  There are at least 2 families that are there.  Hope all goes well for them.  They are trying to get to McChord and from there will buy tickets to either Boise or Salt Lake. 

We have had an interesting week, no dinner appointments, but we have had very good visits with the ward members all week.  We will set up the visits for next week tonight.  We have decided that we need to set up all our appointments for the week at once and then do reminder calls the night before.  We will be going to Nurnberg on Wednesday for interviews with the mission president. 

 

I love days filled with sunshine

Today, we spent a lot of time outside.  At the market for a couple hours, planting the garden, and running around.  Tonight, the girls were asleep within 30 minutes, without waking up.  Usually Rose will wake up after I put her down immediately, and it is a struggle to get her to go to sleep for the night.  And lately, Lacy has been busy busy busy trying to use stall tactics to stay up, reading books in bed, and doing whatever else she can to avoid actual sleep.  It was such bliss to have them both in bed, asleep, at 8:15.  I can’t wait for my lawn to come in so they can play outside like this every single day!

I planted some dry beans today!  I’m so excited to see how those work out for us!  They’re both an heirloom variety.  One is a kidney bean (not the every day store variety kidney bean, though, but it probably tastes the same or very similar) and the other is called yin yang.  It is beautiful, black and white that kind of looks like an orca whale.  I’m so excited to see my garden grow!