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Saturday, December 26, 2009

Feliz Navidad

Christmas Day 2009
Eve - 7, Cole ~ 13, Soleil - 3 1/2, Emerson - 9 1/2

Friday, December 25, 2009

My Christmas Birthday Girl

Did you know Evie was born on Christmas Eve? Seven years ago, today? Indeed she was, and that's how she got her pretty name

So this year, to celebrate her day, we had a beach side birthday party complete with pinata and pina coladas. That was on the 23rd and today (I guess technically it was yesterday since it's currently way past midnight- merry christmas) she opened presents under her birthday tree, we went out to breakfast at "Rollie's" and then, per her request, she and I went horseback riding on the beach - just the two of us. She is such a delight and I am so thankful to be her mama. I love you, Sissy. Here are some highlights:

"A bunny? A begging poodle? A...Idunno. What? Oh, duh. A reindeer."

Those two could almost be twins.

My best Christmas present ever.

With Edgar.

I love this one.

Sissy - you get more beautiful inside and out every year. I am so lucky to be your mama. I love you so much. Happy Birthday.

P.S. I just checked NORAD - Santa's in Greenland. I'm off to bed before he gets to my house. Merry Christmas.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Merry Christmas to Me

Internet's back! And I take back everything bad I ever said about the Telmex guy. He did show up "manana" as promised and was able to track the problema. He's my new BFF. (You don't think it's weird that I saved his number in my cell phone, do you?)

Anyway, just wanted to say "hi" because I can. And here's a fun pick for your viewing enjoyment.

"gonna take it right into the danger zone...right intoooooo the Danger Zone"

All he needs are his aviators.

Saturday, December 19, 2009


Internet's down at our casa. And, in true Mexico form, the Telmex guy is coming to fix it "manana". We've been waiting for...a while.

Here's an uber fast update while we wait for the check at breakfast:

*Dave & Em are fully recovered from Dengue. Yeah. (And I am becoming quite skilled at mosquito hunting.)
*The kids are doing great in school...learning all the bad words Senora Hernandez never taught me in high school. Who knew.
*Dave is surfing his heart out whenever possible and his abs are delicious proof of his new favorite sport.
*Our casita (did I tell you we were building a little casita on our lot?) is coming along nicely. Lots of decisions to be made. Lots of trips to the Home Depot in Puerto Vallarta. (Apparently, there's no escaping the H.D. no matter where you live.)
*Me -- I'm trying to find my groove. Sometimes I feel like my entire existence is devoted to making sure everyone else is taken care of. And, currently, everyone is fairing rather well, and I'm feeling I lost my compass. Ya know? (And I'm embarrassed to admit that having no internet makes me cranky.) I think I need some Mama time. Maybe I'll try yogalates (but I'm scared). Retail therapy is always helpful...and more coffee (yeah, yeah yogalates is a far healthier choice...whatever.)

Anyway, thanks for checking in and Feliz Navidad!!

I'll leave you with this image that we used for our Christmas card this year. Click to make bigger -- check out Soli's face.

And, since some of you have already seen that one and I still have a good signal, here's a few more...

Cocos helados by the river.

The river that's also a road...

The view of Monkey Mountain at sunset from the master of the casita.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Tribulations of the Tropics continued...

Dave and Emerson have Dengue Fever. The good news is that at this point it does not appear to be life threatening. That's a bonus. In fact, it seems that in these parts (and many other tropical areas) it runs rather rampant. Apparently, it is caused by a virus (actually one of four viruses) which is transmitted by mosquitoes. Lovely. Whose idea was this? Anyway, they've been sick for about five days and their symptoms are bad headaches, eye pain, and Emerson has had a fever, althouth they both seem better today. I became suspicious when no one else in the fam came down with the "flu". Then when I told another mom at school this morning what their symptoms were she said, "Dengue". Ohhh. It almost sounded like a swear word.

So we went to the clinic here in town, and the doctor said that it did appear to be Dengue. Luckily, neither of them are currently showing any signs of Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever which affects a smaller number of people and can cause serious internal bleeding and all kinds of other bad problems (that we don't need to get into, right?). So, I think that as long as it doesn't evolve into Hemorrhagic Fever then it's just a matter of time (10-14 days) while treating the symptoms, resting and drinking lots of fluids. So Emerson's out of school for the rest of the week and Dave has to try to take it easy, too. The doctor gave us two boxes of paracetamol (which I believe is a form of acetaminophen) to treat the symptoms as needed. (Did you know that public health care in Mexico is free? I wanted to kiss the floor - but I refrained.) Send healing thoughts our way if you're so inclined.

On the school front, I will tell you that the Honeymoon appears to be over. In other words, the novelty of a new school has worn off. Dave coined the following stages of adjusting to a new school: fear, excitement, resistance, acceptance. Towards the end of last week we started to see some of the "resistance stage". We heard the classic, "I don't have to go if I don't want to" and my favorite, "I'll homeschool myself." Cole had an especially hard time on Friday morning (they don't celebrate Thanksgiving in Mexico, of course, so the kids had school all week) so Dave sat in on a few of his classes which I think made Cole feel understood. I think it was helpful for him to see Dave communicating succesfully with limited Spanish. I think he had been disengaging in class because he was timid to try and communicate. He gained some confidence by watching Dave and seeing that even though he didn't speak perfectly he was able to communicate and no one made fun of him. And Dave was able to gain some insight into Cole's struggles and gave some suggestions on how he could be more successful in his classes. Yeah for dads. Already today we're starting to see signs of acceptance: "I don't really want to go to school today, but I'm going to." That's the attitude. And he had a successful day.

Emerson had a tough go at the beginning of the week because a "ginormous fifth grader" stole his collection of pogs right out of his hand while he was playing with some friends (the big kid also stole the friends' pogs). So he was pretty distraught (and I was peeved), but it gave us the opportunity to talk with him (Emerson's a rather docile fellow) about standing up for himself and not allowing himself to be bullied, using his BIG voice, etc. The other good to come of it was when Cole heard what happened he wanted to go to bat for his brother. He asked me if he could take Em to school the next day so he could "get it sorted". Nothing like a bully to unite brothers. As it turned out, the principal had made a new rule that pogs were no longer allowed at school and this boy had appointed himself pog sherriff and had "confiscated" the boys' pogs to turn them in to the principal. Brown noser.

Evie is adjusting very well. She has several little "best friends" in her class and she loves to take some pesos to school to buy little snacks and popsicles and aguas. On one of her first days she tried to buy an "agua" - one of the few words she knew - or thought she did. The lady gave her a juice because in Mexico an "agua" is a fruit flavored water - or a juice. She came home from school and said, "Mom, I asked for a water and she gave me a juice." We had a good laugh and now she knows. I went to school with her on Wednesday morning for an hour to see how she was getting by. Of course she loved having me in her class, and I was impressed to see how well she's getting along. She just does what the other kids do and copies into her notebook anything the teacher writes on the whiteboard.

And little Miss Soleil is totally flying under the radar. Being that she doesn't have school and she doesn't have Dengue the poor girl is just not gettin' any airtime. I might look into a little preschool after the Navidad, but the truth is, right this minute, I feel tapped out. I'm not prepared to handle the needs of another child adjusting to a new program. You know? Right now she is very happy hangin' with Mama and Daddy and we are just as happy to have her company. The other day I said to the gang as we were heading out the door, "Come on, Kiddies" and Soli said, "Yeah, come on Doggies." She cracks us up.

Thanks for checking in. H

Friday, November 20, 2009

A Great Day (except for that scorpion in the kitchen)

So yesterday was Cole's first day at the middle school. Here in Mexico, elementary school (primaria) goes through sixth grade and middle school (secondaria) is 7th grade - 9th grade. Cole was bummed to find out that he would be in the youngest grade (again). We had picked up his uniform the day before, and it looks very much like his boy scout uniform - khaki pants and button up shirt with pink tassle on the shoulders to indicate his grade. The boys have to wear their shirts tucked in, but, apparently, leaving the shirt unbuttoned to display a stylin' t-shirt underneath is all the rage. We had learned this on our visit so Cole had prepared by cutting off the arms of his coolest T and laying it out the night before. Honestly.

Anyway, the middle school goes from 7AM-1:30PM. So yesterday morning I checked him in with the principal and then a nice looking boy, also with pink tassles, took him to the "Primer A" classroom. They distinguish between grades by calling 7th grade "first", 8th grade "second", and 9th grade "third". So the principal put Cole into the "First A" class (there are two 7th grade classes) which has another gringo. Yeah. The kids stay in the same classroom, and the teachers move from class to class. There really are no educational supplies or decor in any of the classrooms so any subject can be taught in any room. Very good. Anyway, when I dropped him off I told him I would meet him in front of the school at 1:30. So you can imagine my shock when he walked through the door of our house at 12:30. My first thought was he had hated it so much that he had jumped the fence and made a run for it. But when I asked him what happened he said that his last two period teachers were absent and since they don't have substitutes the kids had all walked home early. Oh my. It was like a 45 minute walk (up hill, in the snow...) and he was dripping in sweat. But, at least he looked cool with his cut-off, sleeveless t-shirt! So then I asked how his day went, fearing the worst, and he said, "It was soooo much fun." Oh yeah!! That was music to my ears, let me tell you. I have spent many a sleepless night over the last few months fretting about the potential negative impact of putting our kids in a total immersion situation. And the kids have been worried (of course) about going to a school where they understand nothing. Needless to say, I was delighted that he had had a good day. Phew!

And Evie and Emerson had a great second day and were both smiling ear to ear when we picked them up. Hallelujah! Emerson had discovered pogs (called tossles here). Do you remember pogs?? Anyway, they are all the rage down here with the primaria boys. So Emerson had traded a couple of his little finger flipper skateboards for a sweet little collection. Some of them are so well loved that the pictures on both sides are rubbed clean off. When we picked him up he said, "I love school in Mexico!" Oh yeah. Do you hear the symphony? And Evie can say her alphabet in Spanish. Yippee!

Today was Mexican Independence Day, and the kids had the day off of school (Emerson was so bummed). There was a big parade this morning and then dancing and food booths in the square. The kids were dressed in traditional Mexican folk clothing, and the middle school kids did a reinactment of the war against Spain complete with fire crackers and fake blood. Then they all sang the national anthem and saluted the Mexican flag. Very cool. Viva Mexico!!

So last night I was sweeping the kitchen and I swept a scorpion right out from under the sink. Yikes!! Great. I'm already sharing my house with geckos, now I have to cohabitate with scorpians? Unacceptable. BTW, it's amazing how having children can turn the gentlest of women into ruthless bug killers. I used to spare all varieties of creepy crawlies by getting a paper, coaxing said creepy onto the paper with encouraging words and then nicely setting it free outside. But no more. Setting them free outside does me no good because I have a half inch gap under all of my doors. They come back in! So I have been squishing spiders and centipedes and scorpions for the last four days with ruthless ferocity, for fear that they will crawl into bed with my kiddies. No spankyou! Not on my watch. Give this mommy a shoe! And that is exactly the fate that befell the scorpion in my kitchen. Ruthless, I tell you. And then we gave the kiddos a quick lesson in scorpion safety (always check your shoes before putting them on, don't walk around barefoot in the dark house, you know...the basics). Like we know anything about scorpions! Yikes. But according to our caretaker as long as you get to the clinic within a few hours of a scorpion sting for a shot of...something (what it is? epinephrine? I don't know.) then you should be OK. But, that only made me feel a little better. Maybe one of my Arizona friends can shed some light on the whole scorpion thing. Ladies??

Anyway, aside from the creepy crawlies we're doing great. Glad for the weekend. Thanks for checking in. ~Heather

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

All Things Considered

Well, I'm happy to report that Evie and Emerson's first day of school was a relative success, all things considered. They looked darling in their uniforms this morning and they were happy enough to be dropped off at their classes. Their classmates were very excited to have new students which I have to say is a testament to the friendly and warm disposition of the people of Mexico. I helped Evie find a seat next to a friendly looking little girl named Jimena who towed her around all day and even bought her a popsicle at lunch (which, btw, happens at 10:30, as they get out at 12:30). Emerson's teacher sat him next to a boy who spoke some English which was very comforting to him. After we dropped the kids at school we were off to Costco (just like any other day in the states, right?) and to pick up Cole's uniform. I had to laugh as I thought about how easily we fall into our old patterns no matter what country we live in.

When we went back to school at 12:30 several of the kids that past us on our way to the classrooms asked if we were looking for Eva and Emerson (pronounced Emehrsone). I was so surprised to see how many kids of all ages seemed to know them. It was pretty cute. They both had a pretty good day. Evie cried a little at recess when she realized that Emerson didn't have recess at the same time. Ahhh. She'd been looking forward to seeing him. And Emerson got a little flustered right at the end of the day as he was feverishly trying to copy down the homework assignment. After school he said, "That was the worst four hours of my life! It was so boring. I didn't understand anything." Oh dear. But after a mini meltdown, we got the homework done, and I was impressed (he even surprised himself) with how much Spanish he had already picked up -- in just four hours.

Cole starts tomorrow and I have a feeling that he'll be in hog heaven - what with all the attention and the pseudo celebrity status. Here's to hoping...

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Tribulations of Living in the Tropics??

I picked up Dave's water glass this morning and brought it to my face to steal a sip. As soon as it was close to my nose, my olfactory senses sent up a red warning flag: "Abort mission! Abort mission!"
Me: "Oooh, Honey. Your water smells funky. Where did you get it?"

Dave: "The water cooler."

Me: "Hmmm. Maybe it's the cup."

He proceeded to slurp down the rest of his water and refill his cup at the water cooler.

Again I attempted to steal a sip. Again my olfactory senses would not allow the maneuver.

Me: "Pew! Babe, something is definitely wrong with that water. It smells like toilet water! I would not drink any more. Kids, don't drink the water from the water cooler."

He saw the serious look on my face and decided best to do some investigating. That's when he disassembled the water cooler and found a dead gecko in the base. Honestly. I almost ralphed, and I didn't even drink any infusion of gecko! Uhhhh! So absolutely disgusting. We're trying to flush the water tank after letting it soak in bleach all day. But the chunks of gecko guts that are coming through the tap are almost more than we can handle. Every water I drink tastes like dead gecko, and Dave still thinks he's having gecko burps. We may not recover.

Then...after our gecko incident we picked up some of our favorite to-go platters from "The Chicken Lady" with the awesome Chipotle sauce for lunch. I was absolutely famished (after having lost my appetite at breakfast time), and as I ravenously shoveled rice into my mouth I happened to glance down at my plate and low and behold.....a maggot!!!!! Uhhhhhh!!!! At least it was dead. And Emerson reminded me that they're good protein.

On a less disgusting note -- We visited the kids' schools today and they seem quite lovely. We got to meet Evie and Emerson's teachers (darling twenty-something gals with sweet dispositions) and the kids at the middle school seemed excited to have a gringo join their ranks. Cole even got some "knuckles" from a boy on the school yard and it warmed my heart to see that the "wuz up" hand shake appears to be universal. Evie and Emerson start tomorrow and Cole will start on Thursday. Wish us luck!!

Monday, November 16, 2009

We're Here!!

We left Cabo yesterday morning and after a lot of barfing (at one point both the girl and the dog were barfing at the same exact minute) and an overnight ferry to the mainland, we've arrived safe and sound in Sayulita. Yahoo-oo0!! Our house (that we rented until April sight unseen) is delightful -- a little bachelorfied after the last tenant, but give me a few days and I'll have it sparkling. I've already got a load of laundry going (what with all the barfing on the way), Cole is waxing the surf boards, the girls found a big pile of dirt to keep them entertained, Emerson told me he can't wait to start school, and Dave already got the Wi-Fi hooked up. All's well. Thank goodness. Maybe now my stress headache will go away.

Thanks for checking in! And stay tuned as the adventure continues...


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

On Our Way

After months and months of prep and packing we are officially on our way to Sayulita! We'll live there for six months, put the kids in local schools, teach ourselves to surf and build a little casita on our property. Why not, right? With Cole in 7th grade we know that all too soon our kids will want nothing to do with us and school and sports (and girls) will be more important to them than hangin' with their parents (as groovy as we are). So we are taking advantage of the fact that they still want to be with us more than anywhere else on earth (how sad to think that will ever end) and we're taking them on, what will hopefully be, the adventure of a lifetime.

We're in Cabo right now for our annual week of fun in the sun with the cousins. And I'm glad to say that after a four day drive south of the border, we are just about fully recovered. (Amazing the healing quality a mojito - or two or three- can have on Mommy's grated nerves.) And you would simply not believe the jalopy we're driving. There's really no describing it so I'll just post a picture. It's the quintessential Bajamobile and it has come to have a very special place in our hearts. It carried us, and six months worth of junk, across the Baja desert with nary a hiccup or hesitation. Hallelujah! I had nightmares of being stranded amongst the saguaro with four crying kids and a barfing dog (she gets carsick - honestly.). One of the biggest challenges of the drive (aside from all the barfing - Evie gets carsick, too) was the public restrooms at the Pemex stations along the way. Imagine no toilet paper, no toilet seat, puddles of whoknowswhat on the floor and really no way of gracefully positioning a six year old so she's not touching ANYTHING and the urine stream stands a chance of making it into the toilet bowl. Not pretty. So after one of our first pitstops I declared a new rule: all future potty stops would be road side -- far cleaner. Needless to say we spent a fair amount of time pulled off on side roads for varying lengths of time while everyone found their preferred patch of dirt. And as I was teaching Evie the art of the road side squat, I thought to myself, "This is so much more important than anything else she'll learn in first grade". And therein lies our motto for the next six months. We hope that the life lessons our kids will learn in Mexico will outweigh the lessons they will miss in their classes in the States. Ojala (hopefully).

The kids getting ready to go trick-or-treating in Mulege. In Mexico, (at least in Mulege) the kids say, "Tricky, tricky Halloween" as they go trick-or-treating mostly at little stores and shops.

"I think I see Cabo, honey!" Dave and the B.U.S. (big ugly suburban) on one of our many road-side pit stops along the Baja.

Emerson, Arizona, and Cole in the back row of the BUS. "Are we there yet?"

Monday, October 19, 2009

What to do with all that artwork that comes home from school.

In our house, every piece of artwork that comes home from school is a masterpiece. But, really how long can you display it on the fridge? And then what do you do with it?? If you're my sister, you throw it away. But if you're me you may try recycling a master piece or two only to be seen, three days later, sprinting to the sidewalk in your bathrobe at 6AM, to rescue that glorious assortment of finger paint from the bowels of the recycling bin just as it's about to be hurled into the back of a dump truck. (Our trash man has no patience for me). Here's a much better idea:

As you know, most of the artwork that comes home is themed for a specific season or holiday. Save the best of the best and store it along with your holiday decorations for that season. Then when you go to decorate you will have some darling, homemade touches that are oh, so sentimental. The kids love it because you're displaying their handiwork, and you don't have to keep them up all year. Everyone's happy. See the jack-o-lantern? Cole made that in kindergarten. Be sure to put names and dates on the back. Happy Fall!!

*This idea brought to you by Mom, who every Christmas hangs the cutest handprint Christmas tree from when my sister was in preschool...20 years ago.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Sayulita or Bust

Did I tell you we're taking the kids out of school, renting out our house, and moving to Mexico for six months? Well, we are. Leaving in 2 weeks. We're putting the kids in the Sayulita public schools and hoping they learn some Spanish. Total immersion. Are we crazy, you ask? I think so. Anyway, I'm swamped with all the prep, but I wanted to fill you in on our crazy plans.

Stay tuned...

Sayulita - February 09

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Bathroom Chatter

Have you ever noticed that the acoustics in public restrooms make every comment "whispered" by your 3 year old bounce off the walls like she shouted it through a megaphone? Well...

We recently took the kiddies to Disneyland. And, since we had a 3 year old in tow you know that we visited every restroom in every land at least once and some more than once. (My fave is the one right under Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, just as you leave the back side of Fantasy Land...almost never a line.) Anyway, during one such visit to one such crowded restroom, my darling 3 year old daughter, sensing the perfect lull in flushing toilets and running water (in other words, it was perfectly silent), decided that it was high time to ask the granddaddy of all questions...

"Mommy! Why you no have penis?"

The tiled walls reverberated her little voice back to me as I stared at her wide-eyed and scrambled for the right answer. You would think that after four kids I would be prepared with a quick response for that million dollar question.

But, no. I wasn't prepared and I must have stalled half a second too long making it quite clear to my darling 3 year old that I hadn't heard her the first time.


Please, for the love of Pete, someone flush a toilet!

"Well, is a mommy. well...he's a daddy."

Gotta love 'em...3 year olds.

Friday, September 11, 2009

On My Mind Today... nephew, Gaige. (I'm so possessive. I guess, technically he's Dave's, too...and Rob's, and Kelly's, and Shane's, and Erica's.)

Dave is the middle son of three boys. The youngest brother, Steve, lives in Northern California with his wife and 3 kids. Steve's oldest child, Gaige, our nephew, has been having a pain on his right side just under his rib cage for the last seven weeks. They've taken him to see specialists, had all kinds of testing done, tried different treatments and nothing is helping and the pain seems to be getting worse. We've all been wracking our brains (and surfing the net late into the night,) and we're coming up empty handed. Needless to say, we're feeling very worried and frustrated and somewhat helpless at this point. Your prayers and healing thoughts would be so much appreciated.

Cole, Gaige, and Emerson - Cabo '08

*Also on my mind today...Teacher Robin and those who lost loved ones on 9/11. May peace be with them. May peace be with us all.

*And one more thing...Cole's off at the first dance of the school year. Guess what he of Dave's shirts...and it fit him. Now that blows my mind.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Quinoa Summer Salad

I don't know about you, but whole grains intimidate me. I don't mean like whole grain bread or whole grain pasta which I think I have a handle on, I'm talking WHOLE grains. As in, freshly plucked from the grain or wherever they come from. Here's my typical MO: I see the whole grains in the bulk food bins at Whole Foods. I think to myself, "I'm gonna buy me some of that there grain and make me somethin' real nice (pronounce 'nass')." Apparently, I must think that in order to cook whole grains I need to live on the bayou. So I buy a big bag of said grains feeling quite proud of myself as I write the bin number on the twisty tie. Then the poor bag of grains will sit, completely ignored, on the pantry shelf for, say...three years, before I toss it out after convincing myself that surely it must be crawling with pantry mites or something equally disgusting. (Is there really such a thing as a pantry mite?)

You may remember that recently I visited Peru. And in Peru they grow a grain called quinoa, (pronounce "KEEN-wah").

quinoa growing in the Peruvian Andes

Have I mentioned that the food in Peru is amazing?? I mean AMAZINGLY delicious and quinoa is a staple in many a national dish. Upon returning home from Peru guess what I found in my pantry! A bag of quinoa that I had just purchased before my trip. I didn't even know what I'd bought. But now I had just enough confidence to try and make something edible with it. I knew it could be done. I had sampled the goodness just the week before. So I cooked me up a pot (there's that whole bayou thang)...and served it to my children for dinner. And they ate it! And asked for seconds!! I had broken the barrier of the whole grain (at least one of them).

Since then I've been experimenting and I have a recipe (with pictures!) to share.

To 2 1/2 cups cooked quinoa, add 1/2 cups chopped carrots.

Add 3-4 chopped chives and 1/2 cup chopped sweet peppers.

Toss in 1 cup of cherry tomatoes, 2 T chopped basil & 1 T chopped mint.

Oh my heavens, I wish you could smell this picture.

Add juice from 1/2 a lemon (squeeze through the seasoned fingers of a 6 year old for optimal flavor).

Add 1 T olive oil if you're feeling extra skinny. Or skip this step if your jeans are feeling snug. (You really won't miss it.)
Season to taste with Trocomare or Herbamare (all natural seasoned salt -no weird stuff- I get it at Whole Foods). *I love this pic with Evie stealing a taste of mint from the bowl. Yummy!

Serve with baked chicken and steamed broccoli.


*disclaimer: Although the kids enjoy quinoa plain (or with milk and honey) they weren't ginormous fans of the quinoa summer salad. Dave and I, however, thought it was heaven on a fork.

**According to wikipedia: Quinoa contains a full complement of the amino acids which the human body can't produce itself, making it an unusually complete foodstuff.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Quote of the Day

As usual, accredited to Evie...

The other day Evie and Soli went to visit our neighbor Gayle. Evie began to tell Gayle a story, and Soli, being the little parrot that she is, promptly began copying Evie's story and hand gestures, repeating the story just a few words behind the original still being told by her sister. Gayle looked down at Soli and said to her,

"Well, you are such a character."

And Evie corrected her with all seriousness,

"No, she's a Mexican."

Most definitely a character.
Our Soleil Mia 3 1/4
Zion National Park August 09

My Darling Husband on his 40th

When Dave and I were first married and Cole was just a baby we lived and worked in Montana. My mother in law owned a cabin camp and we ran it for the summer and fall months. And I was depressed. Only now, 12 years later, can I really say that with clarity. I was depressed. And I felt so guilty for being depressed (even though at the time I really didn't call it that). And of course feeling guilty, in turn, made me more depressed. I hated that I couldn't snap out of it. That I wasn't strong enough to will away the sadness and emptiness. "What is your problem?" I would ask myself. "You have the perfect life; everything you've ever asked for. An adoring husband, a darling baby, a lifestyle that allows you to spend everyday with them. You don't have a thing in the world to be sad about. And shame on you for not feeling happy every single day." These are the tongue lashings I would give myself, which typically didn't help me to feel any happier. I adored my husband and my baby. I loved being in Montana. But still, I was miserable. It certainly wasn't a suicidal sort of depression, but it was definitely the kind that made me want to stay in bed...all day. And my poor, darling husband. Trying to do his job and mine with a baby on his hip, while his wife drifted further and further away from him.

Then one day he must have grown tired of feeling helpless. I remember him coming into our bedroom (it was probably noon) and gently lifting me from under the covers. He carried me to the shower and said simply,

"It's time to get up and start your day."

"I don't want to," I replied.

"I know. But, it's time," he whispered helping me out of my p.j.'s and into the shower. "You'll feel better soon."

I could hardly imagine that he could love me anyway. Even though I was so pathetic. Even though I didn't love myself. But, he did. He loved me more than ever. And he didn't give up on me. That day he washed my hair, brushed my teeth, got me dressed and then called his friend Jay, recently graduated from med school. Jay recommended that I get out everyday for fresh air and exercise. Get the endorphins flowing. So everyday that summer Dave would load my bike with the baby seat onto the back of his '64 Scout, and Cole and I would ride up and back down the West Fork and pick wild raspberries. The depression subsided and has stayed at bay ever since.

Every now and then I think about that day in Montana when Dave plucked me from my despair and helped me right myself. Thank you, my sweet. Thank you for being an amazing and brave husband and loving me unconditionally and walking this journey beside me.

I love you.

And happy birthday.


Monday, August 03, 2009

Summer Catsup

I've recently been made aware that it has been far too long since I've blogged. So here we go...a summer catsup.

We love our Daddy!! Father's Day 2009

Emerson's 9th birthday at the Santa Cruz Beach & Boardwalk was so much fun. Dave and I loaded up 13 kids (including our own) into two cars and took them to the Boardwalk for $10 admission night. We stopped at Costco for pizza and cupcakes on the way (I thought they might kick me out of the food court for lighting candles, but they didn't. In fact, everyone was thoroughly amused. When was the last time you saw a birthday party at Costco?). Then it was off to the Boardwalk where, on a Wednesday night, we all but owned the place. The kids walked on to almost all of the rides, only waiting in lines once or twice. It was a blast and only slightly more expensive than the cost of renting a jumpy house.
P.S. I love 9 year olds...almost too cool for picture taking, but not quite.

Who said you can't have a birthday party at the Costco food court??

My absolute favorite 9 year old on this planet. How darling is he?
Happy birthday, Em! We love you.
Stay cool, Dude.

We have the cutest little hometown 4th of July celebration. Our volunteer fire company puts on a 10K run, craft fair, and old fashion fireman's muster. My favorite parts of the day are the lemonade stand that my kids always do and the darling little hometown parade that goes right by the front of our house.

Cole was selected to play for one of our allstar baseball teams this summer. We were so proud of him and had so much fun watching him bloom. Our "A" allstar team made it to the Little League World Series! Go Toro!!

Camping on the Russian River in Guerneville, CA. I love it that our "house" always attracts all of the "neighbor" kids.

Me and Grandpa Fanch

Have I mentioned how much I adore my husband? And how cute is he? July 6th - 13 years and counting...

We rented a house and met my side of the family for a week long family reunion in Scottsdale, AZ. We had the best time ever. So, so fun.

Soli and Mimi poolside in Scottsdale. I love this pic of the two of them. How gorgeous is my mom?

My brother, Landon proposed to his long time girlfriend, Julianna. Congrats, you two! And welcome to the fam, Jules! We love you!!

What do you get when you add 2 grandparents+6 siblings+3 spouses+7 grandkids+afewtoomanymojitos? You get a whole lotta family fun (and a lotta karaoke/dance parties). Next year, Gang...same time, same place (or maybe a new place??)

After leaving Arizona, we headed north to Montana stopping for a looksee at the Grand Canyon on the way. Oh, and check out our new doggie. She adopted us while we were in Scottsdale. Guess what her name is...Zona; short for Arizona.

And since we normally do not go through southern Utah on our way to Montana we thought we would drive through Zion National Park. It just happened to be the park's 100th birthday on the day we were passing through. No admission fee for us!! We love that. Happy birthday, Zion!

I hope you all are having a lovely summer. Don't remind me that school is just around the corner...
Hugs, Heather

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Corona, please.

Have I mentioned that I love summer??

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

simply summer

oh, how I love summer. late nights and lazy mornings. lemonade stands. little purple fingers stained from backyard olallieberries. barefeet. summertime songbirds at sun-up through an open window and then rolling over to snuggle with a special someone. ahhh, summer.

what's your favorite part of summer?

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Discrimination Upheld

Simply unacceptable. What else is there to say? Sorely disappointed in our sunny state. And that's twice.

Liberty and Justice for All.


Monday, May 18, 2009

Something Sunnier

Like my sunshine, Soleil Mia.

Would you believe it if I told you our baby princess turned three on May 7? Well it's true!! I'm pretty sure that makes her officially a "kid". No more babies for us?! Well, she's still sleeping in her converted crib and sitting in her high chair now and again, so I'll hold on to the baby status a little longer. (Although, between you and me I'm pretty excited to be done with the diapers, and bottles, and sleepless nights, fun as they were.)

We had a delightful after school party for her at the park across the street from our house. I sent out Evites on Tuesday for a Thursday party. Is that legal? My poor fourth child (and my poor friends - sorry for the last minute notice, girls). But, the weather was perfect and we had almost 20 kids (it helps that most of our family friends have 4+ kids). We had a jumpy house and a pinata, neither of which excited Soli much, but they kept the rest of the group entertained. Soli was happy sticking close to Mommy and eating as much watermelon as her little belly could hold.

Here are some pics of her day.

It's my birthday!

Mommy, Daddy and Soli

Come get some watermelon!! I love after school parties for many reasons. First, they don't interrupt a weekend. Yeah. Secondly, there's no meal involved. Set out some healthy snacks, throw around some cupcakes and you're done. Love it.

Emerson and Jarret

Soli and her little pal, "Boshing" (Boston). When I asked Soli what she wanted to do for her birthday she said, "Me hab potty at da pock wit my pends an' Boshing." translation: Me have party at the park with my friends and Boston. So that's what we did. Luckily, Boston was able to make it, otherwise we would have had to change the date.

Cole and Justin

Butterfly cupcakes.

Make a wish, Baby. (And try not to spit on the cupcakes!)

I love my Sissy.

Happy Birthday, Sunshine! We love you so much!