Sunday, September 29, 2013

Blast into the past

Mark and I (well mainly Mark) have been cleaning out the garage today.  We're trying to downsize and get rid of things we don't need/use anymore and clear out some of the clutter.  I came across our old cell phones that we had before we moved to Italy.  I was able to turn on Mark's and saw that he had a lot of pictures of Abbie as a newborn.  I'll admit, I stood in our garage looking at these and cried.  It doesn't seem possible that she was ever this little, although I guess in all reality, she wasn't that little.  She came out the size of some 2 month olds, but she was a lot smaller than she is now!

Our first baby with me when I was about 34 weeks pregnant with Abbie.

Brand spankin new Abbie!

This seems like an eternity ago.


This photo melts my heart.  He still looks at her like this.

This is still in the hospital.  As I said, she came out looking like a 2 month old.  (9lbs 9.2oz)

I am so ready for baby #3!  These pictures aren't helping at all!  SO CUTE!

She was very jaundiced when she was born.  They had to prick her little heal a LOT.

Abbie was about a month old here.

I don't know how old she was here, maybe 2-3 months.  SO cute!!

She's always liked to play with her daddy.  (This was taken in TLF's
 before we moved to Italy, so she was around 10 months old.)

Monday, September 23, 2013

In overdrive


Life has been so busy lately, and I’m getting a little bit (or maybe a lot) run down.  I knew having an exchange student live with us would add more to my plate, but I guess now I’m realizing the full extent of it.

Life seems to be flying by right now.  Here’s what a day in the life of me looks like right now.

6:50am – Alarm goes off, get up, get myself dressed and ready for the day

7:15am – Get Abbie up

7:15-7:45am – Do everything I can to get Abbie to get dressed and fed.  (She needs a LOT of coaxing to get going in the morning, which I find really ironic because on the weekends, she’s up at 8am, dressed and ready to go, all on her own.)

7:45am – Get Ben up and dressed

7:55am – Take Abbie to school

8:10am – Get back from taking Abbie to school

8:15-11:30am – Clean the house, get groceries, run errands, feed Ben lunch, play with Ben, etc.

11:30am – 2:50pm – Ben naps and I work from home or blog or write letters or nap.

2:55pm – Leave to go get Abbie from school

3:15pm – Get back from getting Abbie at school

4:15pm – Load the kids back up in the car to go get Emily from her cheerleading practice

4:45pm – Get home, get changed, start dinner

5:15pm – leave to get to my real estate license class

6pm – 9:45pm-ish – In real estate license class

10:15pm-10:30pm – Get home from class

10:30pm – clean and organize kitchen, make Abbie’s lunch for the next day

10:30-11:30pm – relax, watch tv show, check email, etc

11:30 – 12:00am – go to bed

It’s a lot to deal with.  Thankfully my class is only Mon, Tues and Weds, and this is the last week of it being 3 days a week.  Then it’ll drop down to once or twice a week until I take my test in November.  It’ll be worth it, but it’s a lot.  And it’s great that Emily made the cheer team, but it is a lot going up there to get her 4 days a week.  I think she’s going to try to get rides home from practice sometimes, and I think soon her practices will only be Mon and Weds.


Last weekend was really busy also.  I had to get up at 6am on Saturday (no, I’m not at all a morning person, ESPECIALLY on Saturdays) to take Emily to a volunteer thing she was doing 30 mins away, and then I had to go volunteer at Abbie’s school to avoid paying a $500 penalty from 1-5:30pm, and that was kind of a waste of time.  We ate at our friends house on Saturday night, went to church Sunday morning, went out to lunch with 2 families after church and then took Emily back to church at 5:30pm for her teen thing.

I love being busy, but this constant running around gets a little old, not to mention expensive.  I can usually go 2 weeks or so on a tank of gas and I barely made it one week this week.  I’m struggling with how much help I should expect from people around the house.  Thankfully, my husband is the best one around and picks up my slack when I’m at class.  He will make dinner for the kids, clean up the mess, give the kids baths and put them to bed without ever complaining and that’s after he’s gone in to work at 6am for 11 hours.  I’m not sure I could ever ask for a better partner to have a family with.  I think Emily is used to her family life revolving around her and her twin sister, and I think if I had two kids that were the same age, my life would revolve around them too.  But since we have two little ones that demand and require a lot of attention and then Emily, who demands and requires a different type of attention, it is exhausting.

And on top of that, I think I’m extra pissy because I’m really missing fall here.  I get to read everyone else’s status updates on Facebook about how the fall weather is so nice and meanwhile, it’s still 105 here.  I LOVE fall weather and the crispness in the air and the jeans and t-shirt attire you can wear.  It’s a little depressing when most other people are getting that and we still have temps here hotter than they had all summer.  The joys of living in the desert.  On the bright side though, when everyone else is having their winter, we’ll be enjoying our “fall” weather.  I’m looking forward to that!


Friday, September 20, 2013

Fort Rosecrans Cemetery


After we had gone to the zoo and grabbed some Noodles & Co for dinner (my favorite!!), we decided to check out Point Loma.  Unfortunately that park at the very end of Point Loma was closed, but we did discover Fort Rosecrans Cemetery, which I had no clue was up there.


We got there just as the sun was setting and anyone into photography knows the best time to take photos is an hour after sunrise and an hour before sunset, so we got there at the perfect time!  All of these pictures were taken at the same time of day, I just adjusted the settings on my camera to get different affects and then highlighted those affects in Lightroom.  I truly do love photography.


Fort Rosecrans cemetery is where the old Fort Rosecrans existed.  It was established in 1882 and was made a California historical landmark in 1932.  It was named after William Starke Rosecrans, who was a Union general in the Civil War.  The cemetery is spread out over 77.5 acres and its located on a peninsula so on one side are great views of the Pacific Ocean and on the other side are great views of downtown San Diego.  There are over 101,000 graves here.


I was only able to walk around for a few minutes since Mark was waiting in the car with tired kids, and we all know how fun that is.  So I was rushing around trying to get a few shots.  I read a few of the gravestones I passed and saw ones for babies and ones for retired military, and everything in between.  There were a few people there, standing in the middle of the cemetery looking out over the ocean and watching the sun set.  (You can see one in the first 2 pictures on this post.)  I wondered if they were just enjoying the view, or missing a deceased loved one, or maybe both.


I think being in any cemetery is moving, but especially a military one.  They are such a good reminder if the sacrifices people make for our country.  I couldn’t help but think of our friend, Luc Gruenther, who I know would have gotten some beautiful shots if he had been there.


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The San Diego Zoo


Our first day in San Diego, we spent hours at the zoo.  I love the San Diego Zoo and it was Emily’s first experience at an American Zoo.  From what we saw in Europe, the zoo’s in the US are typically better than the zoo’s in Europe, and the San Diego Zoo is probably one of the better ones in the US.


First we rode a tram all over the zoo.  The San Diego Zoo is pretty much one big hill, so it was nice to be able to sit and watch the animals go by.  The day we were there it was HOT.  Not Phoenix hot, but still really hot and humid.  Not ideal, but oh well.


After the tram ride, we checked out the reptile building.  I loved the Gila Monsters.  One of them was pretty photogenic and I had fun taking pictures of him.


Next we went to the kids petting zoo area, which left a little to be desired.  They had some goats to pet, but the rest of the area was kind of vacant.


After lunch, we went and checked out the monkey’s, which Ben loved.  I call him “Monkey” more often than not because he is a little monkey, so he had fun watching them swing around.  I was surprised they were so active in that heat!






I guess I’m at the stage in life where I take more pictures of my kids than the animals at the zoo.


We went and checked out the koala bear exhibit while we were there.  I love looking at the koala’s.  I would love to hold one some day.


Abbie saw this character while we were on the bus and she REALLY wanted to go say hi to him.  She was so cute though because she was running to see him until she got up close and then she wanted to hold someone’s hand as she got close to him.  Then she was fine to take a picture.  Ben wanted NOTHING to do with him though.  He stood a good 20 feet away and was more than happy to scream goodbye to him from that distance.



Another one of my favorites are the polar bears.  This big guy was putting on a show.  I could have sat there and looked at him for a long time.



We did the Skyline before we left the zoo.  We had to go in 2 separate buckets since they only allowed 4 people in one bucket.  We’re not used to being a family of 5 yet!


It was a fun and tiring day at the zoo.  We even ran in to friends of ours that were stationed in Italy with us who now live in Vegas.  So random, but it was fun to see them for a few minutes!!