thanksgiving video by libby

Since I was limited on picture/video space on the last post, Libby's Thanksgiving post is being presented in two installments!
Ambika in the kitchen, and Andrew kickin' it on the hearth!

A short video Libby took while chasing Barrett downstairs.

Warning: you may want to take Dramamine before viewing.

thanksgiving by libby

After dessert I took a break from the kitchen and took advantage of the opportunity to hold baby Sammy. While he fell asleep in my arms in the rocking chair, Libby got a hold of my camera and got some amazingly good candids of the family! I thought they were certainly worthy of a post a la Libby.
Barrett finds a haven on the floor and in between the gamers.

Anthony gives Libby a sweet smile for the camera!

Libby catches Bailey in usual form.

Uncle Jubba[aka Jeff]-like a deer in the headlights! Seriously. The flash was really blinding everyone.

Grammie hams it up for the camera!


giving thanks

Thanksgiving 2007! As has been the tradition for the last several years, we gathered together at our home to celebrate Thanksgiving and have a wonderful dinner [and desserts!]. Mom and Dad, Ana and Ian, and Ambika and Jeff, along with all their children, were able to attend. As usual, we had way too much good food!

After we got the children served and situated outside, the adults retired inside to enjoy their dinner in peace! The kids really enjoyed their Thanksgiving picnic and had fun playing outside with their cousins.

Table for two, although I'm pretty sure cousin Barrett never actually sat down to eat! Collin enjoyed his dinner, though.

A nice, peaceful Thanksgiving inside! The baby bottle is where Ambika was sitting, although Sammy didn't let her sit for very long. He was having a fussy day and would only accept his mom's attempts at consolation. She ended up eating at the counter so she could hold him and use a fork at the same time!

Later, Sammy takes a break outside with Grammie and cousin Libby. Here, Libby is marvelling at Sammy's enormous jowls. They really are quite the sight! After dinner I finished cleaning up while the adults walked the kids over to the neighborhood park to shoot off homemade rockets brought by Ian and Anthony. Apparently they soared to a height of about 3,000 feet! I'll have to take their word for it-I was elbow deep in soap suds! When everyone got back from the park, we served dessert and the cousins battled each other on the GameCube.


go elf yourself!

Last Christmas my sister-in-law Deana got me hooked on the OfficeMax "Elf Yourself" website. This year it's back and better than ever! Now I can have all four of my dancing elves on the same page! Check it out here for a good laugh! And if you make your own, you'd better send it to me, 'cause I want to laugh at yours, too! For even more laughs, click on this link to see actors from "The Office" getting their elf on.

coast getaway

Over Veteran's Day weekend we spent some time over at the coast. It was a pretty lazy weekend. We didn't actually get there until Saturday just before dinner, so after we unloaded our stuff, we headed into downtown San Luis Obispo to get some dinner. After dinner we made our ritual visit to Coldstone Creamery for a half gallon of cake batter ice cream and took it back to the condo to enjoy.

Sunday we took it easy. Collin woke up in a foul temper and we decided against taking him to church. Instead had a quiet spiritual message in front of the fire. In fact, we kept the stove burning all day and just lazed about in front of it. In the late afternoon, after Collin's nap, we headed over to explore the nearby Elfin Forest. It is pretty, but I was worrying so much about the kids touching the poison oak that surrounded us on all sides [in huge, overhanging bushes at times] that I was undeniably relieved when we headed back. I believe in the above picture that Owen is telling the kids [again, because it was constant] NOT TO TOUCH THE PLANTS. NONE OF THEM. AT ALL.

Bailey and Libby's conversation at a vista point in the Elfin Forest:

Libby: Bailey, come and play patty cake with me!

Bailey: No way! Do I look like a wussy boy to you?

Libby: Do you really want me to answer that?

Can't you just feel the love?

After we left the poison-oak-infested Elfin Forest [it really is pretty, just not much fun with little kids] we headed south to Montana de Oro. We went to one of our favorite spots, with the huge pebble beach and the many caves. The kids all had fun collecting rocks and pebbles and exploring the rocky hills and caves there. We stayed there until just before sunset, then went home and Owen put the kids in the shower while I put the gluten-free pasta bake into the oven for an easy, warm dinner.

Collin enjoyed throwing the many rocks at Montana de Oro back into the ocean. He looks pretty serious about it in this picture. Fortunately we never had a problem with him aiming his missiles at anything living. He was pretty intent on making big splashes in the water.

Monday morning we cleaned up the condo and spent some time in Morro Bay [walked around the Embarcadero and had lunch by the bay] and San Luis Obispo. The kids have a favorite toy store downtown called Tom's Toys. They have a lot of things that the kids really like, so they got to pick their favorite [within reason]. Then I got to hit Banana Republic while Owen took the kids for a walk--and even found a cute blouse on sale! We decided to head back early to avoid the holiday traffic, so that was the extent of our big weekend! It was nice to get away from the house for a couple of days and just hang out together. If we'd been at home we would just have been doing **GASP** chores and **DOUBLE GASP** yardwork!

marching band

looking good in uniform!

Earlier this month the marching band at Bailey's school had their final band review and I was able to get some good shots of him in uniform and of the school band in action. They had a pretty good marching season and placed at nearly every competition. Most of the schools they compete against only have 7th and 8th graders marching, but at Bailey's school, being K-8, they have students as young as 5th grade marching in the band. It's quite a learning experience!

I couldn't help remembering my own marching band days in the 7th and 8th grade. I hated marching. I just thought it was so lame. And my super-ugly uniform was always way too huge on me, so that certainly didn't help my attitude towards the entire experience! Of course I haven't relayed these sentiments to Bailey so as not to taint his own experiences. He seems to enjoy it OK. And his band uniform is a lot sharper looking than the one I had to endure!

The morning of this particular band review was so foggy and cold; so foggy, in fact, that there was a major accident on the freeway that morning. There was a 100 car pile-up in the fog just north of our exit at the same time we were traveling that morning. I didn't even hear about it until that evening. We felt so blessed that we weren't involved in any accidents.

A short video clip of the band in action. You can't see Bailey because I ended up on the wrong side of the street and didn't realize it until it was too late to go back across! But you can at least see them all marching and playing.


library of congress

columns and arches as far as the eye can see

view looking up from the ground floor to the balcony and ceiling

I'm sure that this sculpture has some meaning, but I missed it during the tour!

After our trip to Mt. Vernon, we headed back up to the city to visit the Library of Congress. We were a tad late due to the [wet!] line outside, so we didn't meet up with our original tour and just kind of amalgamated ourselves into another. So, we're not sure how much of the actual tour we experienced, but it was very memorable.
I had already heard that the Library of Congress was a very ornate building, but I had no idea that it actually resembled the interior of an Italian palace! Simply breathtaking. There was a Gutenberg bible on display in a case, and another display in the basement about the era of early American radio and television. I really wanted to visit the stacks, but I guess you have to be a registered user and all that. Evidently anyone can register, but [per all government procedures] it's a big deal. Whatever! All I want to do is see all the books!

mt. vernon

the mansion, home of george washington

walking the grounds

it was beautiful but w.e.t. for our entire visit!

Here are some of my favorite pictures from our trip to Mt. Vernon, Virginia during the trip last month to Washington, D.C. We hopped on the metro and then caught a bus going southward through scenic suburban Virginia to get there. Mt. Vernon is a beautiful place and I can easily understand why George Washington loved it so much. It has such a spirit about it, especially outside on the grounds. We got to learn more about Washington's life, saw his real dentures [crazy-too bad they weren't really wooden or they might have looked better], and toured his beautiful home. The actual Bastille key presented to Washington by Lafayette was currently on tour, so we saw a replica in its case of honor in the entry way. Guess we'll just have to go back another time to see the original! I would love to take the kids there. I think the older ones would really enjoy it and I know I would love to visit again. Plus it would be nice to go again when it wasn't constantly raining. The only day of our trip that it didn't rain was Saturday, the day before we left. At least we had one dry day without dealing with dripping umbrellas!

rogue grasshopper

One day after school we were sitting outside of Julia's classroom to work on some homework when all of a sudden she let out this extraordinarily shrill shriek. I turned to her to see what was up when she motioned to her jacket and screamed, "Get it off!" about a dozen times. "It" turned out to be this rather innocent looking grasshopper! He really scared Julia! I quickly brushed him off and we turned to the pavement to examine him. I, of course, had my trusty camera on handy and so we got a cool shot of him to share with you!

halloween in the haunted orchard

the fearsome threesome

Bailey duels with Matthew

Collin in awe of the makeshift graveyard

I really liked this shot-it was just getting dark and tried a different setting on the camera

I'm really trying to get back into the blogging swing of things after my hiatus, so I have decided to start playing some catch-up!

Here are some of my favorite pictures of the kids from this past Halloween. As you might have already noticed, we had some fun with hair color this year! I figured that since we told the kids that we weren't buying any new costumes this year [meaning they were to use their creative noggins and come up with costumes from items we already owned], I supposed we may have overcompensated by getting the colored hair spray to make things a little more interesting!

Collin started out as a pirate, but ended up looking more like a punk headed for a club! He decided not to wear his pirate hat or eye patch, so I ditched the sword as well, added the glow sticks, and sprayed his hair extra purple. There is actually still a faint purple color on the head area of his car seat from that night!

Libby is a veterinarian. Or maybe Stephanie from "LazyTown" dressed up as a veterinarian! She wasn't sure about the pink hair at first, but then she really got into it! Julia dressed in the same outfit as last year-the black dancing cat! I'm amazed she still got into it with as much as she's grown, but I'm sure this will be the last year as the dancing Halloween cat. Guess that means we'll have to get more creative next year. And I'm still not sure what Bailey was supposed to be. All I know is that he was to be some video game character and that he had to have blue hair. Come to think of it, Bailey was the instigator for this whole hair thing! We're really good at finding reasons to blame Bailey for everything around here!

Bonus: This is the first year the kids were at a school that allowed them to wear Halloween costumes to school, so they had fun doing that. The school even has a parade in the afternoon where each class takes a turn walking around in front of the school to show off their fun costumes. It really was a lot of fun.

Halloween night was spent in our bishop's walnut orchard, where they kids enjoyed carnival-type games, trunk-or-treating [at the tree trunks], going through the haunted spook alley put on by the Young Men, and had root beer and chili in front of the bonfire. After we got home, Owen put the punk to bed and I took the rest around the neighborhood for some old-fashioned trick-or-treating.



taken on the way home from school one foggy morning

It's been awhile, I know, but I'm still here. Still trying to catch my breath after a hectic couple of weeks. A lot has happened: the trip to DC [so much fun!], Halloween [will post pix of the kids soon], working a lot at the school, and just your basic everyday stuff to keep me constantly on my toes. At least it has all been a good busy. I promise to post about the fun trip and update my Flickr stream with some of my favorite photos. And I need to catch up on what everyone else has been up to as well!