A Quick Testimony

We've always been very blessed financially. We don't have gobs of loose cash, but we have more than enough to meet our needs and have some nice wants taken care of, too. We've always been faithful tithe payers and have tried to give a very generous fast offering. Sometimes, when you simply look at the number, it can seem like a lot of money to part with. However, the rich blessings that follow obedience to a principle are well worth the sacrifice.

There have been many examples of Heavenly Father's promise to pour out blessings to those who are obedient. Today, was one of those experiences for our family. As you know, the well has been an unexpected expense. We got the professional out here who charges $95 an hour. That can add up pretty quick. Because we try very hard not to carry any debt, we're very aware of the amount of actual cash in the checking account. Allen asks him for an estimate of sorts explaining we don't have lots of give this month. First, he says, he'll only charge $85 an hour. He looks at our well, drops a rock down in there and SPLASH! There's water. Yippee. He says it'll be $200 flat and he'll have us up and running within the week. (By the way, he adds, his fee to come out and put a new well is $750. Remember our estimate of $2000 that drove us to do it ourselves. We didn't know whether to laugh or cry.)

We feel really lucky that the amount is only $200. I head out to give a riding lesson to find out that a horse we've been trying to sell for about 6 months finally sold! This horse has a certain vice that lots of people don't want to put up with so he's been really hard to move. He's very valuable, but we had to drop the price by $2000 to finally get him off the feed bill. (For example, his daddy's stud fee alone was $15,000.) We've had all sorts of people try to jerk us around and waste our time. This last guy wasn't too promising, the horse hadn't been ridden in a month, but they worked perfectly together. He bought him outright. The commission: $200.

So, minus tithing, this unexpected gift pays for almost all of the work we'll need to get the well fixed. Considering we also chose to invest a few hundred dollars into paint, pictures and professional framing, this is a nice surprise and will make it just a little easier to stay true to our no debt goal.

I have a very strong testimony of the principle of tithing. It has never been a struggle for me to be obedient to this principle and I'm really grateful for that. We all have our own crosses to bear; this one isn't mine, though. We have been abundantly blessed, more so than we ever thought for ourselves. I had a friend say once, "Whatever Heavenly Father has planned for you is so much more than you could ever hope for yourself." That is completely true. He knows our needs, our wants, our hurts, loves and our true potential. He gives so much more than we expect and usually, than we really need. I'm grateful for this knowledge and to see his hand working in my own little life so often.


Under Construction

Well, we've had enough. Our house was in dire need of some attention - on the inside. This last weekend, Allen helped me do a major deep clean and finally find places for stuff that has been homeless since we moved in. I had pictures printed, bought frames, and arranged the photos so they would be ready to hang. I have two photos in with the art and frame place and should get them back at the end of next week. I've still got to get some frames for a few pictures I had printed, but we hung most of what we've got. You'll see from the pics, there are some places that need pictures and they should be done pretty quick. We got paint for Lexi's bedroom, the family room and hallways, and the guest bath and laundry room. What else would we want to do from 8-10 p.m. during the week?

This is the contractor white that is in everyroom, on every door and all the base.

The pictures alone have made a huge difference in the feel of the house. We have lots of remodeling to do, but that will probably be a few years out. In the mean time, we're doing the few things we can to make the home ours. We ordered a really cool bookshelf for Lexi's room and a toy box for the family room, too. They should be here this week. I've bought some cute stuff for the laundry room since we won't be doing much in there to change the layout.

Allen and I got a start tonight on the hall bath since it will be the easiest to paint. The color is called something-or other-beige, but has a strong green base, we think. It goes great with her current motif, but is neutral enough to carry a different decor as the kids age. The family room and hall ways will be a butter cream color. It's really subtle, but very warm and cozy. We're just proud of ourselves for doing something more bold than khaki everywhere.

This is a swatch of the color we'll be putting in the family room and hallways.

Guest bath before.

Guest bath after tonight.

Of course, this doesn't mean we're slowing down on the outside at all. The well guy comes tomorrow morning, Allen sets forms for concrete walkways and lawn curb on Friday and hopefully, we pour cement on Saturday. He chopped down the weeds in the front and sprayed everywhere last night.

Lexi and I had Monday off, I had 2 lessons today, 2 tomorrow, run to Albuquerque for her haircut and errands on Thursday, have Friday off, and give a lesson super early Saturday morning. Youth conference runs Thursday - Saturday, too. We're in charge of food for Saturday lunch so I'll be there to feed about 100 people and help chaperone.

We're hoping that if we work hard now, when the baby comes, we won't feel bad if the home improvements are on hold for a few months. It's tiring, and sometimes we want to throw up our hands, but we both know if we work hard while we both can, come December we'll be really happy to spend the winter indoors and see our new lawn flourish in the spring.

Wagons and Dress Up

Lexi loved her wagon ride with Aunt Rachel and Nolan so much, we decided to get her one when we got home. Because of the sun here, we opted for the canopy edition. She loves it! This is the order of things: "waggin?" Ok, we'll go in the wagon. "Babies?" You may take one baby. "Pink. I wanna take pink." Ok, get your pink baby. "Juice?" Yes, we'll take juice. "Thank you mama." Would you like a snack, too? "Snack?" We proceed to round everyone up and go out to the garage. Lexi tells her baby, "sit here baby. Sit down!" She puts the baby on the opposite seat, gets her juice and sits down herself. As soon as we start moving, she holds the baby and the juice. She doesn't let go for the entire ride. Then, on the way home she always asks to pull the wagon. She makes it about 15 ft. then abandons the whole thing. She gets back inside and resumes the holding of the baby. Most people who drive or walk by get a good laugh and Lexi really enjoys looking at the goats, ducks, trees, and flowers we pass on our way.

Lexi has really been enjoying pretend play with her babies. I wondered if she might like dress up games, now, too. While at the store, she picked out a purple dress and a few necklaces. We even
got a tupperware container to store all of our dress up things. She didn't like the dress at first because I made her wear it with clothes underneath (it's way itchy). I played up how pretty it was and now she wears it for 4 or 5 hours a day if we're home. I also got a full length mirror for our bedroom. I set it in the hallway when we got home and she sits in front of it almost all day. I caught her showing herself her belly button. She was also going through the parts of her face saying, "Eyebow, nose, eyes" to her reflection. She acts a little embarrassed and runs away when I come down the hall, but I snapped a quick picture of her in her dress talking to herself.


Summertime Fun

With new camera in tow, we put Lexi's $3 pool up and decided to have some easy leisure time. Of course, if water is involved she's gonna have fun.

Spinning My Wheels

Ok, so there will be some complaining. Additionally, this is nothing new for every mom/wife/woman. But, I want to vent and since I'm the selfish author of this blog, I'm gonna do it. (Yeah, I only have one kid and I know there's another on the way so don't even say anything about it if you've got more 'cause I see what's in my future. Again, why don't people just start crying when you announce with jubilation "We're pregnant!"?)

You know how you feel all jazzed one day (and yes, by one day I mean that the feeling is quickly fleeting only to be replaced by endless days of feeling guilty or trying to justify not doing anything) and clean the house. Maybe you even clean the house, go to the park, do some of your calling and make dinner. That's a pretty full day.

The next morning you wake up feeling good about yourself. You head into the kitchen. Damn it! You left the dirty dishes in there thinking, "Just this once" since you were pretty tired after the full day you had and it was basketball night so you were on your own for the bath and bed time routine. The milk from last night's cup smells already, there's cheese on at least one plate, spaghetti on another and your husband's lunch container - still sealed and thus providing ample heat and moisture for rapid bacteria growth - sitting quietly on the counter (nope, it didn't even make it into the sink). Grrr. You can handle this. You'll just work your way through the chores like any other day. Remember, you're already one step ahead because you did a major cleaning yesterday.

Heading back into the family room, you see the substantial breakfast of dry Fruit Loops and milk as energized your kid and she is now leaving her fingerprints on the TV (yes, freshly dusted) and full on hand prints on the glass on the doors (you guessed right, they too, were cleaned). While you were contemplating the dish situation, she made her way down the hallway to get herself a diaper. Of course, being the efficient kid she is, she pulled her old diaper off while in motion. As you head down there to see what is going on, squish! Pee in your toes. I'm sure in some high end day spa this is the newest form of a pedicure, but not at my house. Gross! Chase ensues as the kid knows this must be some funny game since your screaming and jumping around. Finally wrangled, you slap the new diaper on her and decide to put on some clothes yourself since underwear aren't the most conventional attire for the day ahead.

Notice the remote, batteries strewn on the floor, bowl, and hanger (what is that doing out here?)

Oh yeah, I was soo good yesterday I put some laundry in. Crap. I got so involved in the other stuff, I left it all in the wash. The dryer is full of something or other, too. You make the switch only to realize your one and only neutral colored bra is wet. The only option: black. The only shirts left in your closet: white. Of course. Start layering is what I say. With 5 or 6 different shirts on, no one will be able to tell, right? Plus, isn't layering "in" right now? Teeth brushed and hair put back, you're ready to conquer the day.

Since you took a few minutes to get yourself "ready" you shall be punished accordingly. Your kid has totally dismantled your bedside table and has some kind of throat lozenge dripping down her chin. Her nose is running and she is naked again! She slaps her chest like a gorilla and yells, "NAKED!" as she runs full tilt out of the room. Sigh. At least, you say, there shall be no vacuuming or dusting today.

As you re-enter ground zero (the family room), you realize that the dust has already settled back on the shelves. The cereal from this morning is now ground into the carpet, but not yet fine enough to just filter through so you can pretend to ignore it for now, nope you'll either be vacuuming or pulling ground up Chex off the bottom of your feet all day. The kitchen floor is sticky with throat lozenge. The oven light has been turned on so your child can look inside just to make sure there isn't anything of value in there. She has climbed the table and spilt salt (for good luck, I'm sure) on the floor. Her babies are sitting diligently in their chairs, waiting for breakfast.

You look around and think, "What in the hell has happened here?" Suddenly, the realization that all of that work means zero hits you like a ton of bricks. The progression goes like this (it's very similar to the abuse cycle): "the high" (you've just cleaned or done something productive), the "it's ok that things get dirty, I'll just clean a bit at time (you know, maintenance things like a few dishes, picking up toys, etc.) but I'm still feeling like life is worth living" phase, the "I'm getting really sick of this phase", to the "I don't give a flip about this and I'll never clean again because it's a totally useless endeavor that no one seems to notice, let alone appreciate" phase. At this point, you protest anything beyond just being sort of sanitary. But alas, after a period of time (this phase varies quite a bit for each person depending on their personal situation, number of children, spouse, and level of desperation) you succumb to the hope that it's worth it to clean again and start the whole process over.


Just sick!

So, I'm heading off to bed around midnight and I hear Lexi cry out. Well, it was an attempt to cry. I could tell, though, that something was a little off. She would inhale a bit and try to cry out, but nothing would come. I went into her room and she was really distraught. She couldn't breathe! She was wheezing and trying to cough, but couldn't get enough air. I could tell from the way she was struggling that it wasn't like a cold, but that her airway had become restricted. She started getting a little panicked so I grabbed her and tried to calm her down. It took a few minutes before she could take some really shallow breaths and then respond when I asked her some questions.

Her nose was completely stuffed and her throat was raw. She kept croaking out answers, and tried to relax, but each time she would nod off, she couldn't breathe deeply enough and would wake up panicked. I got her some liquids and cough stuff thinking that coating her throat would help with the rawness. She didn't want to drink and when she would, she would cough so hard she almost threw up a few times. Finally, I got her settled enough to take her meds. About 1:15, she finally tried to sleep.

At 4 a.m., I woke up to use the restroom. As I turned the light off and lay down, Davis starts making this awful noise, urps and then runs to the door. I kick him out and of course, he urped on our bed before he made it oustide. I had just washed all of the sheets and the duvet cover, too. The bummer is that my washing machine leaks whenever I put more than a medium sized load in so I have to take my comforter to the laundry mat now.

Lexi woke up at 7 this morning and had bright green snot running out of her nose. She went from totally fine to gross and green in like, 4 hours, last night. I hoping this thing goes away as fast as it came on. Summer sickness is the worst!


Customer Service

Warning: the following post contains language that is not politically correct and my be offensive to some readers. Parental discretion is advised.

Ok, so I called the camera folks this morning. They quickly connected me to India or some other terrible place and tried to help me. This is the conversation:

"Hi, I ordered a camera and UPS is..."
"Can I have your order #?"
"Well, since you placed this order with Amazon, we can't do anything to help you. They will send the camera back to us, we'll give you a refund, and have to place the order again."
(my thought: right, cause that's gonna happen. You can take your order and shove it in your 3rd eye, India)
My actual response: "Well, ma'am, how is that going to change anything since the address you have on file is correct? Won't this just happen again?"
"Oh. Well, in that case, will you hold a minute?"

They got a hold of UPS. UPS called me and asked for directions (hello, has anyone every heard of a map or even GPS?). We should get it tomorrow.

You know it's bad when one of the options on the menu for customer service is: if you are having issues with a delivery or address confirmation press #1. Yes, it's even #1.

We'll see how it all pans out tomorrow.


Even more memories

UPS is telling us we don't have a valid address so our camera has been delayed. Talk about realizing how awful your place must be when even an international shipper who goes to the ends of Africa won't come to your house. Hopefully, we'll count as a real home and we'll get the camera soon. Again, in the mean time....

This is Lexi telling us she is all done on the last day of our big trip through UT and CO last summer. Look at the poor thing. We were all very ready to be home.

Ben, almost 1 year old, at the 4th of July parade. I love this picture.

A picture is worth a thousand words.

Balloons landing across the street from our old house during the local festival.


Cost of do it yourself well: $1000
Cost to have it fixed: $95 PER HOUR
Cost to know you should pay people to do work you have no freakin' clue how to do: Priceless


Change of scenery

I've noticed, as I've checked out the blogs of others, that mine is pretty dang plain. Everyone who knows me isn't surprised by that fact, though. But change is good, right?

I totally stole this idea from my friend's site. She's been changing it up a lot and I was wondering how. In the top left corner is an unsuspecting box that states exactly where she was getting her creativity from. Since I never come up with cute stuff on my own, I took her link and ran with it.

My original thought behind changing my background was for printing purposes. If I hope to get this bound one day, a black background will be way more difficult to make work out easily than a lighter background. But, the blogger templates aren't too exciting for the most part. I started wondering how some others were getting the variety. It also dawned on me that I can change my template to a very simple one when I actually print the thing rather than be boring for no reason.

So, I can change my background with my mood (black may be back after all), the season, occasion, or just because.

Total Bust

So, we decided to drop another $200 on the equipment, get lots more pipe, hire some help, and go for it. Uh huh.

We've put another 20 feet of pipe in and nothing. We're in the middle of what feels like rock, but is probably clay. At 11:00 a.m., I went out to help Allen because our hired help had to leave. Some of the materials had been warped and the threads on the pipe ruined so things were not going our way. We decided to call it quits at 11:15 and made phone calls to buy new material. We tracked it all down and ran the errands.

After stopping by the Pioneer Day activities at the church and talking to our Bishop, who is a plumber, we found out we should have stopped 14 feet ago and tried the well. When you start to feel hard dirt or rock as you're pounding, you should stop because you're probably in a pocket of water before you go through the tough soil. Allen had mentioned doing that, but I had encouraged him to continue going deeper while we had the help. In order to test for the water, he would have had to clean up all of his gear and take it all apart, then blow out the pipe with the air hose. He couldn't get all the equipment back up by himself or run the jack alone, and I can't lift that stuff right now. My logic was: do everything you can with someone here who is useful. So, we pushed through. In the process, the cap that protects the pipe while we're pounding on it wasn't tight enough and it ruined the threads on both the pipe and the cap. So, the cap won't work for anymore pipe, and we can't put any more couplings on the ruined pipe to make the well any deeper. Not good. Since we discovered the problem with the pipe half way into the ground, we couldn't pull it out and use a new piece. So, we have pipe sticking about 5 feet up out of the ground, and can't thread anything onto it. The option is to cut the pipe, re-thread, and put a coupling on to make it usable to work with again. Having a tool that can do that vertically isn't easy to come by. Because our Bishop is a plumber, we thought he might have that tool.

After talking to him, we realize we've wasted the $200 on equipment and a whole weekend of time because we can't finish the well today. The ride home from the church (after this was all made clear to us) was a little tense. Allen felt pressured to do keep going even though he felt we should check the well after the first length of pipe which might have proven to be the sweet spot we'd been looking for all along. I felt frustrated because I always had a bad feeling about trying to do this job ourselves. I thought stubborn pride had played a huge part in the choice and now we are going to pay the price. So, we just kept quiet. We got home and put the hose down in the pipe to see what the situation was. Still, no water. Allen cleaned up and did yard work for the rest of the afternoon.

We've called in a professional who should be able to diagnosis the problem. Allen says we're going to pay him to make it go away. We thought we'd be saving $1000 by doing it ourselves and now will be paying for all of the rented equipment and for professional installation (to the tune of around $1500). We've also lost 2 weekends worth of time in the yard. Ugh!

We managed not to get into a finger pointing match and agreed that this was a total effort to save some money with zero experience. A real gamble. We both realized that after our last attempt, we should have called for help from pros and avoided the whole debacle today. We moped around all afternoon feeling sorry for ourselves and dumb to boot. I decided to make some cookies for the neighbors in an effort to serve someone else and quit feeling sorry for myself. Since chocolate heals all wounds, Allen is feeling a little better tonight too. However, WELL is now a 4 letter word in our house so please don't mention it again.

(Oh yeah, our garbage disposal upped and died earlier this week, too. Excuse me while I attend my own pity party.)


Catching up

Since we've been camera free, I've been working on our family history. I found this great website that is click and drop for scrapbooking. There are lots of different things you can do there like announcements, postcards, etc. For $3, I get to buy the scrapbook I make and email, print, or blog it. I figure it may not be as elaborate as one done by hand, but it's easy enough I'm actually doing it. I can have the whole thing printed on photo paper and then bind it and wa la! a cute scrapbook.

I also found a website called ldsjournal.com. I'm terrible at keeping written records and don't feel the blog is the right medium for everything that I should be writing down. It's free and makes it very easy to record your life. I've tried to put a little bit down a couple of times a week and have been pretty successful. It has special place called "All about me" that asks questions and you answer them. Those answers become your journal and include your birth history, childhood, marriage, spiritual feelings, hobbies, etc. Because it's one question at a time, it's easy to keep the answers on point and not get overwhelmed. So, you can put daily entries in and have your own personal history wrapped up into a neatly dated and organized format. I'm really enjoying it. Among the blog, scrapbooks and journal, we should have some good information about our family saved for the future. And since they all can be made into bound, paper books, they should be nice keepsakes, too.

I've been doing about 1 scrapbook a day on smilebox and will keep chugging away as I can. They're not too long, so that makes it easy to play catch up, also. Anyhow, you'll see lots of our past as I try to get our little family's story recorded.

More memories

Click to play Alexis Michelle Riddle
Create your own scrapbook - Powered by Smilebox
Make a Smilebox scrapbook

Scrapbooking: my style

Click to play Christmas 2006
Create your own scrapbook - Powered by Smilebox
Make a Smilebox scrapbook


Where's the pics?

Hope you all like to read! Our camera bit the dust. Word on the street is that it was left on the beach and got a good dose of salt water at Pt. Reyes. That rumor has been heavily denied, however, by he who left it on the beach. That, really, is neither here nor there. The bigger issue is that we got this camera just over a year ago and it's dead. The bright side is that I got to get a bigger, better, faster camera that will hopefully capture the moments I seem to miss with the delay on our other camera.

So, you won't be seeing much of us until the new camera comes in (we had to order it). Hopefully, that will be soon as I've already missed some great moments with Lexi in the last few days.
Since I'm such an empath and know we all want to see stuff, rather than read boring text, I'll indulge you by posting some oldies but goodies. I apologize, in advance, for any repeats.

Our first winter in Albuquerque.

I'm still not sure how such a cute, little Davis could turn into the almost 50 lb. smelly beast he is today. We still love him though!

Ok, so this is when they first met. They've been married, what 3 years, and still look like this. We just keep waiting for the normal disdain that is marriage to creep in. Just waiting.

General Conference, Fall 2004 (I think?)

Little Dani

Camping at Lumsden. Oh, no. Don't start thinking "that doesn't look so bad". That day, on his way up, Brent's car caught on fire (yes, literally) and that night it rained and flooded our tents.

Me with little Hannah the day before we left for ABQ.

Craig's wedding.

Marti, Nana, Lexi and me at Lexi's blessing, July 2006.

The Mart-eye and Allen sympathizing with Lexi's housing situation during her stay in the NICU.


Back to the Grind

Since it's the weekend, we decided to do what we do best: work in the yard. We tried to get the paperwork on the septic from the Village, but the two people who could help us on are on vacation - they are married. Shocking. Small town, USA. Knowing that we couldn't get that worked on just yet, we decided to do some clean up.

At 9 a.m., we drove about 1/2 an hour to Belen to get hay. We got home at 10:30, unhooked the flatbed, hooked up the horse trailer, moved the horse trailer, hooked back up to the flat bed, backed up to the barn, unloaded the hay, loaded the 20 ft. lengths of horse fence onto the flat bed to move them up to the front area of the yard, drove back out to the front, unloaded the panel, loaded the front 1/2 of the flatbed with junk (we took a break here for lunch and put Lexi down), backed up again to the huge pile of crap by the barn and filled the last 1/2 of the trailer (there is still at least one more load of misc. stuff in the back pile to sort through and load), pulled back up to the front, unhooked the flatbed, hooked up the horse trailer, backed that in to it's new spot, unhooked, hooked back up to the flatbed to move it to its more permanent location, unhooked the flatbed, hooked up the RV, and backed it up to its permanent home next to the chain link fence. Finally, we were done with all of the trailer work.

We went inside to rest for a few minutes because we were leaving in an hour to help some friends do demo work on their new home. The neighbors were out riding and working on some issues, so I stepped outside for a few minutes to help. They remarked on how nice the yard was taking shape. I mentioned that we had received a letter from the city because a group of about 10 weeds had grown while we were gone and were taller than 12 inches. We were told we had 15 days to clean them up or pay the $500 fine. Allen and I were so bummed to get that notice considering how hard we've been working to improve the property. We had forgotten about this because we were so focused on the back yard. While were in CA, it rained every day and everyone's weeds went nuts. Our little patch took off and they caught us in "a drive by assessment". My neighbor couldn't believe that we had gotten a notice with all of the work we had done. We visited a bit and then I came back inside at 2:45. Lexi was still down, so I had some water. Lexi announced herself by yelling, "Daddy!" at just about 3. We got her up, changed, drinks loaded, Otterpops for the crew at the house and took off.

This place of our friend's is going to be really nice, but it is going to need tons of work. They are gutting the entire house. The yard was 4 feet deep in weeds and there were signs of mouse activity everywhere. They've built their own home before and flipped a lot of properties so this is old hat, but still a ton of work. Today, they dug up the septic and we helped pull out a wall and the whole kitchen. I took off at 5 since it was getting a little dangerous for Lexi with flying glass, nails, falling walls and such. When I got home, the neighbor had taken his week whacker to our front yard! It looks so much better. That was so nice of them.

Lexi and I are waiting for a call from Allen to go and grab him when he's done. He has to be up at 3 a.m. to go to work tomorrow. He'll work from 4 a.m. to 1 p.m. and be home just in time to take naps when we get home from church. While we didn't get anything really huge done, but cleaning up sure made us feel better. Next week we rent the compressor again to try and get the well to work. I'm sure we'll get our fill of "productivity" then.



Sigh. So, you all read about our super busy, yet fun trip. I whole heartedly agree with Laura's comment. With the "vacation", comes the recovery.

When we got home, Davis and Mia were very happy to see us. Davis has been keeping a close eye on us since to make sure we don't leave again. The young man who was sitting for us did a great job. I Be Streakin', however, was pretty mad at us. Usually, if he hears the back door open, he nickers. He didn't say a thing when we went out to check on him. In the morning, he wasn't at the fence for breakfast. He stayed in his stall all day, glaring at us from the doorway. The farrier came today (he's known the horse for years) and noticed how awful he looked. I explained that as weird as it may sound, he was mad at us. He stood quiet with his head hung low the whole time we did his feet. Just tonight, he started hanging out at the gate again when it was time for dinner. I'm sure he'll get over it, but I have to admit, I've not met a horse who is so human. I'm sure if he could talk, he'd chew our butts.

Allen took Monday off from work to help get us back on track. Even though his lab totally fell apart and suffered major mutiny while he was gone (yes, they called and paged and left voice mail on my cell during the trip), he decided he was going to stay home rather than go to work. We talked on the flight home about all of the good stuff we would get done. HA! We petered out and took naps.

We put Lexi down at the usual time and she chirped and talked for about 30 minutes. Once she was quiet, we laid down. She was up only an hour later. Hmmm, I say. She should have been exhausted. Allen goes in there and before he even calls for me, I'm at the door. I knew exactly what had happened. Lexi had taken her diaper off again. Usually, she does this after she's woken up. This time, she did it before she fell asleep. She also went poop. When Allen went in (I'm almost too ashamed to even write about it) she was kneeling in crusty poop and had peed all over the bed. Obviously, she had slept in it. Allen whisked her to the bath while I tried my best not to touch anything gross while stripping the bed. Everything including pillows, blankets, and babies went into the washer. I washed it on hot and twice. Allen scrubbed her clean. He asked me, "How do you do that when you're all alone?" Well, after pulling good amounts of my hair out, crying for about 30 seconds, and controlling my urge to beat the child, I put her in the bath and then get the bed done. "That must suck." You said it.

I was still dragging since I didn't get a chance to fall asleep for the whole nap thing, but Allen needed to get the oil changed on the car. He took off to do that and I asked him to pick up pizzas for one of my visiting teachees who I owed dinner since she just had a new baby. While on the trip, I had organized the rest of her meals (12 - is that a lot?), but had decided to do my part by making someone else cook and simply deliver. Allen got home around dinner time and he and Lexi ate. I wasn't feeling the Rice-a-Roni and chicken tender fare, so I opted out.

While in CA, I did 4 loads of laundry. Because of my lovely backside, I can only wear pants, capris, or other bottoms once because by the 2nd wear it looks like I've had an accident in my pants. Since I only have 3 bottoms, we did lots of wash. Allen and I thought we had it pretty much under control seeing as I did so much laundry at LaNell's. Amazingly, my closet is leaking laundry. It's like the blob. I put one shirt in and 3 come out. I can't believe it. In my house, the laundry has a way of getting washed, dried and folded. For the most part, that is the end of the cycle. We often lack the "putting it back where it belongs" part. The good thing about having so much laundry is that I don't have enough baskets to simply let it sit at the end of the bed until it's empty and start over. So, I put the laundry away. Lexi has gobs of clothes from our shopping trip AND Laura always offers her stuff from the girls that I readily accept since it's always so cute. Her basket is literally over flowing with new stuff. I'm sure we'll try to conquer even more tomorrow so that eventually I can see the floor in my closet again.

The chores are pretty standard so I guess I shouldn't complain about them too much. The pooping was awful and could have happened anywhere, anytime so the trip really isn't to blame. I guess what makes the normal stuff seem more daunting is the exhaustion traveling can bring upon someone. I'll admit: I'm feeling more tired than ever. I'm not sure if I've become a total weenie or if I'm just older or what, but I have zero energy. I've already started getting the ugly swelling from pregnancy so my legs and feet hurt something awful. Lots of people have said when the summer is over, it will get better and I hope so. If I am this bad at just barely 5 months, I'll look like the blueberry girl from Willy Wonka by the time this is all said and done. I asked Allen if he was feeling good and he said he felt great. Yeah for Allen! He looked at me and said, "You're dead, huh?" Um, yup. Feeling pretty crummy.

As anyone who's traveled with kids knows, you don't really get a break. You just do your normal chores in a different location. Lexi did all right, but had a few (ok, at least a few a day) meltdowns. Mostly, she was overwhelmed and really sought out quiet time for herself at the end of the day. Everyone was very nice and understanding about it, but being away from home is hard for any kid looking for their normal comforts. I wouldn't call the trip restful. Productive? Yes. Allen really enjoyed his time. For him, the routine was different. He didn't have to go to work or worry about working in the yard. Even though he helped a lot with Lexi and was awesome to let me nap a lot, it was different for him so he got a break from the norm. I know that refreshed him. I don't mean to sound negative, but I won't go so far as to say I felt refreshed. I felt supported, but it was the same stuff, different day. I really enjoyed seeing my friends and family, though.



We just got home last night from our big 8 day trip to CA. Lots of our family is there and we both grew up there so we never have a shortage of things to do while we're in town.

We flew in Saturday morning - discovering that Lexi gets air sick - and mostly just hung out in Tracy. We ran some quick errands and laid low at the Riddle's. Allen's Aunt Camille, Uncle Martin and Cousin Jenny were in town from Utah so we got to visit with them a bit before they made their way over to Brentwood to visit some other family. Brent and Laura came over with the kids and everyone played. Laura made a super cute church packet for her girls and gave Lexi her own. It has animals, colors and is all laminated so it's durable. It comes in a zip pack and uses Velcro to attach the parts. Lexi loves it. They also got her a beautiful church dress. I honestly can't remember what we did that evening....so we'll just move on.

Grandma and Poppa Riddle with Lexi

Sunday we went to church as usual. Lexi did pretty well. She played in nursery for the normal time and, as far as we know, did great. After church, we took naps and then went to Sacramento to visit Craig, Rachel and Nolan. We'd never been to their house before so it was great to see them in their element. Rachel made a great dinner and Lexi terrorized the place. Nolan is super cool and very happy. They have a turtle that comes to the door for snacks and Lexi got a kick out of him. After that, we went over to Rachel's parents home and had Nolan's one year birthday party. Brent, Laura and the kids and Robert and LaNell came too. The party was very cute. Rachel is very gifted in the area of creative works and with kids so it went smashingly. We took off around 7:30 p.m., got home at 8:30 p.m. and Lexi played in the yard for a while. We went to bed around 10 or so. Thank goodness Lexi sleeps like a champ most of the time so we all got a good night's rest.

Monday we spent the day with Brent and Laura and the kids at their place. They moved into a really cute house just down the street from the Riddle's. They made breakfast and then the kids played outside. They have their trampoline up and a swing set in the backyard. Everyone had a blast jumping and swinging. Laura's kids are pros, but poor Lexi just hasn't mastered the jumping idea just yet. Hannah was so cute with her and tried to teach her Ring Around the Roses, but Lexi kept skipping ahead to the "we all fall down" part and pulling Hannah over. Hannah also read to Lexi and taught her how to play with some of the toys. For 3 1/2, she is a fantastic teacher and friend. Because we knew we would be running the whole week, they were cool with just taking it easy. I had a hair appointment at 11 and Brent, Allen, Dani and Hannah went down to Brent's new Medical Supply location to check it out. I got done and met them to get lunch worked out. We went back to their place, lazed around, ate and let the kids nap. Laura had mentioned going out for dinner and had the brilliant idea to get babysitters for the kids. LaNell agreed to watch Lexi and Laura found someone for hers so we went to Texas Roadhouse and had steak. We went back to the house and hung out till about 10. While watching 4 kids is not "relaxing", it was a pretty laid back day and we all had a great time.

Hannah on the trampoline

Tuesday, we went to Concord to see my Dad and Grandpa. They have a nice yard with lots of trees, berries, flowers, birds and some squirrels. Lexi loved picking tangerines and throwing them down the hill. She gives high-5's to Grandpa V. really well and it makes both of them smile a lot. He's 94 and just starting to feel his age, though, so we're really grateful for each visit. Lexi helped Dad water some plants and pick plumbs. We went to lunch at Applebees and then to the park. We went to the same park last year but it was 102 degrees then so it was a quick visit. This year the weather was awesome so we played a lot more. There is a big lake with ducks and geese, too. We walked around and a goose swam right up to Lexi looking for some snacks. We went over to a beautiful rose garden that is at the park. Lexi loved pointing out the various colors and playing in the small fountain with running water. We went home where Lexi took a great nap and I snoozed while Allen and Dad yelled politics. We also learned that Lexi gets car sick, too. We went straight to Jenny and Jeremy Silcox's from there where we had dinner, the kids played and we hung out. We got home at around 10:45 or so.

Grandpa V. watering with Lexi

Rose Gardens at park

We went up to Rio Vista on Wednesday to visit LuAnn and her family. Gavin is already 3 months old and was very happy while we were there. Dallas played with Lexi and taught her how to ride the scooter outside. Terry made lunch and we got to talk for a bit. Lexi had a few melt downs and had started asking for us not to put her back in the car. Between Sunday and Wednesday, we had already spent about 6 hours driving and she was getting tired of that routine. Fortunately, LuAnn has had a 2 year old and was patient with Lexi's outbursts. We decided to stay for a 1/2 day since Lexi was tapped out, I was hitting my travel wall and they had just gotten home from a long vacation to Michigan. We got home and Allen let me take a nap while he and Lexi played. That night, we played an incredibly long game of Settles of Catain and hit the hay about midnight.

Thursday Allen, Brent, Craig and Robert went to Point Reyes. Allen loves to hike and backpack and as you all know, our efforts to get into the wilderness have been less than successful. Besides, I always tell him if I'm going to be climbing mountains it's gonna be on the back of a horse. I know he was really looking forward to spending the day with his brothers and dad and getting in some good hike time. They left early in the morning and hiked 11 miles in one day! Three of those miles were in sand. There was fog all day, but they all got sunburned! They went out to the Elk Preserve and got some good shots of a few herds. After finishing the hike, they investigated some tide pools and tinkered around on the beach. They left at 5 p.m., but didn't get home until after 10 because of 4th of July traffic coming from the Bay Area.

We usually head to the outlet mall in Tracy for a morning since they have Carter's, OshKosh and Gap there. Since the guys were gone, Thursday was the perfect day for this. Laura, Jenny, LaNell and I went without kids! Tyler came but since he's only 3 months, he really doesn't count because he's happy to sleep and eat most of the time (I'm sure Jenny would say he counts since she is the one who had to get him ready, load him up, feed him and placate him - so sorry Jenny). Lexi was all excited to play with Dallin and Lauren, but when we showed up she started saying, "No play!?!". She cried for a little and as soon as I left, was great (or so the babysitter said...). We had a really good time, bought way too much and had lunch at Olive Garden. That evening, Lexi and I went to Dunlop's for BBQ and to visit. Lexi was fried, but did all right. LuAnn and her clan were there and even though wrangling Lexi seemed to take more time than anything else, I really enjoyed my time there. We got home around 9:30 or so and waited up for Allen.

The 4th was spent doing the usual Tracy celebratory stuff. Allen had mentioned going down at 6 a.m. to see the balloons lift off, but after their uber hike the day before, decided just to hit the parade. We met up with the family and their friends to watch the parade around 8:30. Lexi had been getting a little overwhelmed by all of the weekly activities (she started saying, "No car?" whenever we would start getting ready) so she hung out with Allen and I most of the time. She enjoyed seeing the dancers, animals, and fire trucks. She loves suckers and got a few of those, too. After the parade, we went over to the park to the booths. We ran into some friends there and the kids played on the playground. My favorite BBQ guy was there so I had a chicken sandwich at 10 a.m. We had decided we would take really good naps that day so went went home and all slept for a few hours. After napping, we went to the Silcox party for a bit. We didn't swim there since we had been invited out to Reich's. We did see lots of old acquaintances and friends and enjoyed catching up. We then went to Reich's and the kids swam for a while before Harold made tri-tip, linguisa and lots of sides. After dinner, we ran home and changed and then went to the park. Since Brent and Laura so graciously go earlier than the rest of us, we already had a huge spot saved with lots of blankets. Lexi ran all over and played with anyone who would look at her. Allen tossed the football around with his friends. Lots of people we know go to the stadium for the fireworks so we always spend a couple of hours chatting and eating candy before the actual fireworks. This year, they had some entertainment in the form of a drag queen who sang to us. After she (he?) was done, a local band came out. They played some fun songs, but were so loud we were screaming at eachother to talk. The fireworks were great and Lexi really liked telling us what color they were. We got home around 10:30 and went to Brent and Laura's to hang out with them and Craig and Rachel for a while. We finally got to bed around 1 a.m.

Nolan at the fireworks.

Saturday morning Allen and Craig went to Brent's new store to help move. Aunt Rachel took Nolan and Lexi in a wagon ride. Lexi LOVES Aunt Rachel. She learned how to say her name in about 1/2 an hour and never stopped. I told Rachel that if Lexi asked for her when we got home, I'd be sending her a box with Lexi in it. Laura came over with the kids since Brent stayed behind to wrap up as much as possible and we were all at the Riddle's. We all crashed (well, I had to do my hair so I spent forever getting that done while Allen and Lexi rested a bit) and made sure we took good naps since we had family pictures at 3 p.m. My dad and Grandpa were able to come over, too, so we got a 4 generation shot. Allen's Uncle Howard came over for a while (he lives in San Fransisco). We celebrated Ben's birthday with cupcakes and presents. The boys (the adult boys, I should say) played games on the lawn until dark.

Lexi and Nolan in the wagon.

Sunday we went to church, but left right after sacrament to go to the open house for Tyler Silcox. He was blessed during church and we wanted to visit a bit before getting ready to head to the airport. We spent, like, 20 minutes there and ran home to visit with Brent and Laura and the kids before we had to get Lexi down and packed. Lexi took a good nap and we went to Dunlop's to return the car they let us borrow and visit for a little before we actually left for Oakland. We got wise and gave Lexi dramamine for the flight home. She slept from take off until we woke her when we landed. We got home around 11:30 p.m. Whew, what a week!

About Me

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What started as a way to communicate with far away friends and family has become a place for this horse trainer/HR manager turned stay at home mom of 3 girls to hold on to a bit of her own identity. It's my take on the ins and outs, the ups and downs, the thoughts and feelings, the mistakes and triumphs of this family as we bumble our way to eternity.