Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Where did the time go?

Our little pumpkin

Somehow I never posted about Halloween. We actually carved the pumpkins, unlike last year. The kids were real troopers, and the 3 oldest trick-or-treated for a full hour.

Carving a pumpkin with a butter knife is exhausting work.

A very scary jack o' lantern. Grrrrr.


Then Thanksgiving came and went in a rush. Because of work, Devin and Maran couldn't come until Friday, so we celebrated Thanksgiving with a big feast on Saturday. (We ate homemade pizza on Thanksgiving day.)

The following pics are courtesy of Benjamin, a budding photographer:


Maran holding Courtney


The next weekend we went to a Metallica concert. It was amazing. Devin and Maran came with us. Both brothers love the band but never saw them in concert before. I'm slightly familiar with their music, but mostly I wanted to go to share the experience with my husband. It was a surreal experience seeing them live onstage. They look just like their videos. They even performed my 2 favorite songs of theirs: "Nothing Else Matters" and "Sandman." Unfortunately I forgot my camera.


So, before this also passes by: we're moving! We'll be in-transition for the rest of the month. First, the owners are replacing the carpets and painting. So we're helping paint whenever possible. Then, since it's an in-town move, we have the option of moving out and then cleaning. That sounds so much better than cleaning while packing with kids running amok. All of our previous moves have been across country or out-of-state. I'm looking forward to this one. Although we'll be in a different school district, I'll be driving Samuel to school so he can stay in his class.

Since we signed the new lease back in November, I knew we would be very busy at Christmastime. All the shopping and mailing is done. Wahoo! I'm crossing my fingers that we won't lose any presents.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

We caught a trash can!

It's been a bit windy here. So windy, in fact, that I heard something thumping down the street - not the usual sound in our neighborhood. When the wind calmed down enough to go outside without blowing away the children, we found this:

OK, so I arranged the hat on the fire hydrant, but the hydrant did catch it. I was hoping the owner would see it and reclaim it, but no. Samuel has now claimed it as his. I, on the other hand, claimed the trash can, which will soon be employed in clearing out the junk we've accumulated over the past year. Yup, we just passed the first anniversary of moving into our home. That was a fast, eventful year; hopefully things will calm down soon.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Sweet boys

Tonight as I was putting Rachel to bed, I was singing her a lullaby when Samuel came in and started singing along. A little bit later Benjamin came in and joined us for the end of the song. We quietly left the room together. I was touched with how sweet they were. They love their baby so much; this is one lucky little sister.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Starting Solids

I've inducted Rachel into the ranks of those who eat solid food. She was very excited, as though she understood the importance of this new phase in her life. Actually eating the rice cereal was another story. Her older siblings were more than happy to help out:

Benjamin eventually found her mouth.

Elisa is still learning how to be gentle.

Samuel did a great job.

The verdict? Rachel ate it all up, making faces with every bite.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Cold War Memories

The 20th anniversary of the Berlin Wall collapse just passed. At first I thought the cold war didn't really affect me, but in fact it had a big impact on my life.

1. My dad could either join the military or get drafted. He joined as an officer. Because of that decision, our family was stationed in West Germany when I was born.

2. As a child I thought the Berlin Wall was the Iron Curtain people kept talking about. They both conjured images of darkness, sadness, and depression in my young mind.

3. The wall came down when I was 12. It was an exciting time: pictures and videos all over the news, stories of families reuniting, radio stations giving away pieces of the wall, and an overall feeling of happiness and hope in the air. It wasn't until college that I realized how long it took for the Communist Bloc to disintegrate, or how the former Bloc countries fought for self-government and peace. Living in an established democratic republic, I think we forget how difficult change can be. It still surprises me that communist governments currently exist in the world.

4. My eighth grade year, 1990-1991, I began studying Russian. German was my first choice, but not enough students signed up for the class. I continued to study the Russian language and culture into college. It was new, exciting, and very different from the romance languages typically taught in school. I especially enjoyed hearing my teachers' stories about traveling in the Soviet Union - stories filled with danger and excitement, as well as the commonalities we shared with the regular, everyday people.

5. I hope to some day travel to both Germany and Russia.

I believe the Cold War will separate the generations before and after, much like the Great Depression and World War II did. In remembrance of Veteran's Day, I am very proud of my dad's, grandpas' and great-grandpas' military service. Thank you for your sacrifices.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Big Baby

Rachel recently went to the doctor, and she is in the 100th percentile! We knew she was big, but wow. The best part is that we can now teach her to sleep through the night. Yay!

Her new favorite game is blowing raspberries with the binky in her mouth, which of course makes it fall out. Then she fusses until we put the binky back in her mouth, and she does it again. It makes her happy.

She is such a happy baby. The other day she started laughing in the grocery store for no apparent reason. I was able to keep her laughing just by making little noises. Last night I was holding her upside down and saying, "ha, ha, ha," which made her laugh really hard.

She still doesn't roll over, yet. Soon enough.

I love babies.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Of blessings, haircuts and birthdays

First and foremost, Dominic got a job! We are all very happy about that. He is doing PSR (psycho-social rehabilitation) work again. He already has activities and lessons planned for his clients.

We blessed Rachel last Sunday. She's already 4 months old. Where did the time go? Dominic said it is much easier blessing an older baby: she was calm, quiet, and smiled at him.

Elisa before, front and back

I finally did it. I cut Elisa's hair. It was so long and wavy that it was difficult for me to do. But her hair was getting unmanageable. She wouldn't leave clips in, so her hair was always in her face. The other day she got mad and yelled at her hair, so I knew it was time. It's a cute little bob that she can comb herself. Now she looks a lot like my childhood pictures. It's so weird; I keep staring at her, but I'm gradually getting used to it.

And lastly, I celebrated my birthday. Dominic gave me the Cake Wrecks book and shoe shelves! Now our shoes are organized and not scattered over the floor. My mother-in-law gave me kitchen gadgets (thank you).

The morning started off with my turn teaching Benjamin's preschool class. Except when Benjamin cried because people were playing with his toys, we all had fun. What a bunch of cute kids! After lunch I got to take a nap. Aahh ... until I woke up and saw the mess the kids made. Drat. The one gift I ask for every year is to not make dinner. This year we ate at IHOP. We had a coupon for a free movie ticket on your birthday, and we saw "Where the Wild Things Are." (It was well made and exciting, but left me with a feeling of melancholy. I like the book better ;) Overall the day just felt fun, easygoing and a bit carefree. Mostly due to Dominic's efforts, it was a wonderful day.

Friday, October 2, 2009


Today we held our 1st annual celebration of Oktoberfest. We started off with several episodes of "Hogan's Heroes." Next we headed to a local military store to learn more about Dominic's heirloom item, a Nazi youth knife, which his grandfather acquired during WWII from a soldier who no longer needed it.

Now we know how to get rid of the rust, how to keep it in good condition, and the picture on the back is considered trench art. Interestingly, the knife's value would increase if we knew anything about the soldier or the girl.

Dinner featured brats and rootbeer, while we taught the kids a few German words, and some historical and cultural tidbits.

I ended the evening by telling the story of Hansel and Gretel. I realized that wasn't the best choice when the boys started crying. Perhaps next year I'll go with Little Red Riding Hood.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

School days

Samuel on his very first day of kindergarten.

Our family has entered a whole new era. Samuel started kindergarten! August 27th was actually his first day (Thursday? Who starts on a Thursday?). I've fallen behind on just about everything lately, but this it too important to skip.

Every morning we walk Samuel to school, then he rides the bus home. The first couple of weeks, when I asked if he liked school, he said, "No, because we're not learning anything. All we do is sing and play games." When I asked about any friends, he said, "I asked three people to be my friend, and they said yes, but then they didn't play with me." There are people he plays with at recess, so he isn't friendless. This is the same kid who goes to a park and is immediately friends with the kid closest to his age, so I wasn't too concerned.

It's been a bit of an adjustment for all of us. Sometimes some people (I won't name any names) have a hard time waking up. Samuel still turns on movies in the morning, and I have to remind him that he doesn't have time to watch them. I keep forgetting that he has homework. But when I do remember, all the kids like to sit at the table and work or color at the same time. And then Lisy kept packing Samuel's backpack with toys until we bought her her own.

At first, Benjamin kept asking when he will turn 5 so that he can go to school, too. Now he's excited about preschool. We're doing a neighborhood preschool once a week, in which the moms take turns teaching. The first week he clung to me the entire time. Now I can drop him off, and he does fine. He also goes to speech therapy once a week, and his therapist gives him little books to "read" to practice his sounds. He especially likes reading to Samuel. Anyone who heard him at the family reunion will be impressed at how discernible his speech is now.

Not to leave out Dominic, this is a grueling semester of statistics with a demanding professor. He has a plan of attack, and there are ways I can help; together we can get through it. After this, he can get back to the classes he wants to take.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Rachel's check-up

Rachel's first smile caught on camera.

Rachel had a check-up today and got shots. The shots are always sad but better than the alternative. I am happy to report that she is in the 97th percentiles for height (26 in) and weight (15 lbs 12 oz). At 3 weeks old she hadn't regained her birth weight, and the doctor was concerned. I listened to his suggestions, followed my sister Emily's tips, and I fed Rachel everytime she cried. Apparently it worked. Dominic said, "she's a chunk, not a baby." My sister Ellen commented that "she is perfectly rotund."

By 1 week old, Rachel was sleeping 7 hours a night. So one of the doctor's suggestions was to wake her up to feed her. Well, the alarm woke up Dominic, but not me or Rachel. After 3 nights of that, I stopped setting the alarm. Sleeping through the night obviously hasn't stunted her growth. Nowadays she's asleep by 9 pm, wakes up once to eat, and then wakes up around 7 am. She is a great sleeper.

At 5 weeks old Rachel rolled over for the first time. She has only rolled over half a dozen more times, so I thought she forgot how or gained more weight than her little arms could handle. But no. She rolled over for the doctor! He said she never forgot, she just doesn't want to.

She has a scream that shatters glass. Not really, but it does reverberate around my skull. She has even been known to give Dominic a migraine. The weird part is that she doesn't have an intermediate fussy stage like most babies. Instead she goes from happy or sleeping to 100 decibels in the blink of an eye.

Other than that though, Rachel is a very happy, cooing baby. She is very ticklish and laughs easily. Her older siblings adore her. Samuel likes to hold her and say, "take a picture of us." Benjamin calls her "my baby Wachel." And Lisy likes to join Rachel for tummy time or pat her back to burp her. Sometimes she likes to get all wrapped up, not because she's cold or tired, but just to be swaddled. She especially enjoys lying on the couch, swaddled, staring at the ceiling fan.

Rachel's latest picture, from Sunday

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Mini reunion

With summer almost over, I need to talk about the second and most important half of our California trip. Family! My parents moved to the central coast about 13 years ago. Now three of my sisters live there with their families, and my youngest brother Ben is going to school there. That's about half of us.

Ellen, Hilary, Me and Kristen

Question: Can you tell who doesn't live in California?
Answer: the one not wearing sunglasses.

Kristen's son Luke. Cutie!

Cousins and best friends:
Elisa, Anna and Brennan

Dominic built a sandcastle at every beach.
The kids added the feathers on top of the towers.

We had good times talking, going to a children's museum and to beaches. One sad note: Avila Beach. When I first moved to California, Grandpa said Avila was the best kept secret of the central coast, where the locals go. Unfortunately someone discovered it, commercialized it, and locals now go elsewhere.

We stayed with Hilary's family and celebrated Dallin's 5th birthday with them. Half-way through the week they went on vacation, so we were their impromptu housesitters.

My sister Kristen, who also has a baby, watched Rachel so Dominic and I could see Ben perform in "The Music Man." Rachel did great. According to Kristen, it's because we both have blonde hair and smell like spit-up. I can't argue with that.

My Grandpa Wight enjoyed his newest great-grandchild. She smiled at him a lot.

We had a wonderful, relaxing time. It was really hard to come back home to reality. I'm glad we went. We really needed the break.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Money saving tips

Disneyland isn't cheap, but we didn't spend like crazy and still found ways to save money.

1) They had an online deal that gave us 5 days for the price of 3. Considering the summer crowds and the baby who needed to eat every 2 hours, we needed all 5 days to see everything.

2) The hotel made a mistake and refunded half the bill. They called and woke us up at 1 a.m. to tell us that our van was taking up 2 spaces and that we needed to move it. By the time Dominic got there 5 minutes later, the lady had already parked her car since our van was within the lines of one space, but she still cussed out Dominic. He complained to the manager that they hadn't confirmed the crazy lady's story before waking us up, so the manager refunded half our money.

3) We brought groceries with us, including bottled water. Even renting a hotel microwave, we saved a lot of money on food and water.

4) Dominic's mom was happy that we could go to Disneyland. Even though she couldn't come with us, she sent us money to buy souvenirs. We told the kids to look around, and then on the last day they could each choose one thing: Samuel chose an Indiana Jones dress-up set (pictured in previous post), Benjamin got a Pirate set, Elisa has a set of 5 princesses, and we bought a book of Disney cartoon short stories. (Thanks, Llama!)

5) Around midnight in the California desert on the way there, we stopped to help a stranded motorist. The poor guy had been waiting an hour, and we were the only vehicle to come by. Dominic helped him change the tire. The guy unexpectedly paid us, and that's what we used to buy the kids' mouse ears. (He gave the money to me, and Dominic told me later that we shouldn't accept money in that type of situation. Oops)

Sunday, August 9, 2009


Where have I been, you wonder? To sunny California, of course! We've actually been home for a week and a half, but I needed that time to re-coup, unpack, and upload all those pictures. I took a lot (with digital cameras, I never run out of film :)

First stop: Disneyland!

Yes, Dominic is still job searching (don't worry, he hasn't turned to the dark side quite yet), but right now we have the time to go, the kids are young enough to believe in the magic, and the boys are old enough to remember the experience. Elisa did surprisingly well, with only 1 or 2 meltdowns. Rachel did great in the snugli and slept through most of it. Dominic was fortunate enough to twist his ankle the first day, so we rented a wheelchair. It cut down on wait times for the rides, and it gave the kids a place to sleep:

Their favorite rides were Space Mountain (Benjamin thought we were actually in space) and Star Tours (Samuel was happy to see that C-3PO and R2D2 are real), which they are still quoting. Lisy liked all the rides she could go on.

The Haunted Mansion did not scare anyone, even Lisy, and they all enjoyed the projected holographic ghosts. Splash Mountain was also exciting, because the animatronic animals were singing to us, according to Benjamin. Pirates of the Carribean was thrilling; Samuel liked to make up stories about the scenes portrayed. The Jungle Cruise was fun because of our funny tour guide, though the kids didn't get the jokes. The boys loved shooting things in Buzz Lightyear's Astro Blasters, but Rachel and I thought it was too loud. All the kids like "Monsters, Inc." movie, and they were tickled that the ride made it feel like they were in the story. For Storybook Land, their favorite part was when we went through the whale at the beginning and thought the rest was only mildly interesting. They loved the Matterhorn and wanted to go again, but we didn't want to wait in line again.

We kept missing the shows, but we saw all the 3-D movies. Their favorite one was the Muppets, which they quoted a lot. I was surprised that none of the children were interested in the characters or princesses walking around. We pointed out the characters, like "hey look, there's Tigger!" and they'd glance up and say, "uh huh."

It was very hot. For example, one day we bought ice cream cones. The moment we left the air-conditioned store, the ice cream started dripping. We discovered that the Bug's Life area in the California Adventure park had several water areas. In seconds the kids were drenched and very happy.

In the end, and I think all will agree that Disneyland is fun and exhausting:

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


Welcome to my 100th post and 100 things about me. I like keeping traditions, so here goes. I hope it is more interesting than boring.
  1. I am 5'4" tall, and my weight fluctuates every 2 years between a healthy BMI and 9 months pregnant.
  2. I have blond hair that is usually long, but is occasionally short, and is currently of medium length.
  3. My eyes are blue, but I've been told they look green in the sunlight.
  4. I wear glasses, though I don't think of myself that way. I'm always surprised when I see pictures of myself wearing glasses.
  5. Currently my favorite color is red. As a little kid I liked pink; in my school years I preferred blue; in college I narrowed it to a jewel-toned blue; now I just like red.
  6. My favorite color combination is red and black.
  7. My least favorite color is orange. I don't hate it, but I like the other colors better.
  8. I prefer argyle over paisley.
  9. I must have labels facing out.
  10. I make lists for everything.
  11. Palindromes make me smile.
  12. Rodents scare me to death, and yet I own one (a degu).
  13. I have a bad sense of direction and get lost a lot.
  14. I have a horrible sense of time.
  15. I am a great sleeper. I fall asleep quickly, sleep deeply, and wake up gradually.
  16. I love to exercise, especially aerobics and running.
  17. I still laugh out loud when reading comic strips in the newspaper.
  18. I like experimenting with food and trying new recipes.
  19. I enjoy baking. I do not decorate cakes.
  20. My favorite type of pie is cherry.
  21. I can't stand fatty meat. I trim everything, even bacon.
  22. When telling a story, sometimes I forget to mention key details, which confuses my audience.
  23. I love my birthday and still look forward to it. I don't need or want a big party, just a simple acknowledgment will do.
  24. One meaningful present is more important to me than receiving many gifts.
  25. I thinks it's really cool that my birth certificate says "Certificate of Birth Abroad." (I was born on an American army base in Germany.)
  26. My favorite holiday is Halloween, probably because it's near my birthday.
  27. Spring and Autumn are my favorite seasons. I'm a weather wimp - I hate extreme temperatures.
  28. Monday mornings seem full of hope and possibility to me.
  29. I love early morning when the sun is just rising and the air feels fresh, but ...
  30. I'm a night owl and usually stay up too late.
  31. Housekeeping is not my forte. Clutter is my nemesis.
  32. I like the idea of being organized, but I am not. Somehow I've gotten slightly more organized with each baby.
  33. I do not like cutesy, except when it comes to babies.
  34. I love my children whole-heartedly. I love being their mom. I have no regrets staying home to play with them.
  35. My house is noisy with 4 children, so I soak in the rare moments of quiet.
  36. One of my biggest worries is that I'm not giving my children the individual attention they need.
  37. My favorite lullabies to sing to my children are "Baby Mine" from Dumbo and "Summertime" from Porgy and Bess.
  38. "What a Wonderful World" by Louis Armstrong is my all-time favorite song.
  39. I enjoy singing, and I think I'm ok.
  40. I have a tendency to remember song lyrics wrong, probably because ...
  41. I make up new lyrics to fit the situation or to make my kids laugh.
  42. I'm a very patient person, except when I'm tired, pregnant, or feeling anxious.
  43. I'm prone to anxiety, but I've learned how to calm myself down before it gets too bad.
  44. I have a tendency to ignore problems, hoping against reality that they will just go away.
  45. If I can't ignore it, then I need time to mentally prepare myself to tackle the problem.
  46. I don't like making phone calls, and I have to mentally prep myself for them. Sometimes I talk myself out of calling.
  47. I don't have strong opinions, except when it comes to my family and my religious beliefs.
  48. Once I realize that I don't have an opinion about something, it's a lot easier for me to make a decision.
  49. I avoid political discussions - politics are not worth arguing over.
  50. I do not feel comfortable drawing attention to myself.
  51. I hope to never be featured in the newspaper.
  52. I enjoy socializing but initially feel very shy.
  53. I still feel that teenage awkwardness in social situations.
  54. I can't watch awkward or embarrassing movie scenes and usually cover my eyes until the scene changes.
  55. I feel like I'm too loud and I say the wrong things a lot.
  56. I have the bad habit of finishing other people's sentences.
  57. I feel that I am unreliable.
  58. Sometimes I don't understand why people like me.
  59. I try to be open-minded, but then sometimes I realize later that I was being judgmental.
  60. I try to give others the benefit of the doubt.
  61. Some people say that I am naturally very nice and loving.
  62. I've been told I am good at understanding human nature. I think it's because I'm constantly asking why people do what they do.
  63. I try to be observant.
  64. I am not fashionable, even if I could afford to keep up with current styles.
  65. I prefer classic and elegant styles.
  66. Women's obsession with shoes baffles me.
  67. People have often said I look younger than I am, and now I'm trying to stay younger looking.
  68. I have also been told that I have a great memory.
  69. I've heard that I am a good teacher.
  70. People have told me that I'm a trooper, that they can see me crossing the plains with the pioneers.
  71. I enjoy camping as long as there is running water.
  72. I've always been fascinated with Native American cultures, and I like attending Pow Wows.
  73. Growing up I knew I would go into a science-related field, and my degree is in dietetics (which has a lot of chemistry).
  74. I like attending science fiction conventions.
  75. My favorite sci-fi involves the 3 stars: Star Trek, Star Wars, and Stargate.
  76. I enjoy stargazing and find it relaxing.
  77. My movie preferences are musicals, comedies, action, some chick flicks and occasionally dramas.
  78. I can remember the movies and shows actors are in, and I like following their careers.
  79. I like the theater and wish I could go more often.
  80. I love reading anything, whether books, magazines, newspapers or blogs.
  81. In fact, I feel restless without reading material on-hand.
  82. My favorite magazines are: The Ensign, National Geographic and Scientific American.
  83. Regarding novels, I feel safe choosing Young Adult fiction, because it's clean.
  84. If I own the book, I use a marker to censor the bad language.
  85. I like visiting libraries, whether they are big and fancy or just a small town branch.
  86. One of the first things I do after moving is get a local library card.
  87. I enjoy reading out loud. On long trips it helps prevent car sickness.
  88. I like road trips, especially spontaneous trips. However, with kids along I need at least one day of planning.
  89. I enjoy working on crossword puzzles, though I rarely finish them.
  90. As I get older, I prefer listening to classical music.
  91. Although far from being a photographer, I like taking pictures and really like my digital camera.
  92. I have liked every place I've lived, but I feel more comfortable in the west.
  93. From what I know of my paternal grandma, I think my personality is a lot like hers, but I am more relaxed and calmer because of my mom.
  94. I sound like my mom when I tell my older children "You're not the Mom, I am. Now let me be the Mom."
  95. I also say "good heavenly days" like my mom.
  96. Like my dad, it takes me awhile to leave the house, because I keep going back in to get the things I forgot.
  97. I get along with all of my siblings.
  98. I feel that I can make it through anything with my husband beside me.
  99. I am very happy with my life.
  100. I am an optimist.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

First Month with Baby, part 2

Rachel is channeling Calvin. See the resemblance?

Last time I left you hanging, with "part 1" in the title. So now I'll fill you in on the trips (yes, that's plural).

Trip #1: Family reunion at Aspen Grove. My Grandpa Wight hosted most of his descendants at the family camp owned and operated by BYU. Thank you, Grandpa! It was wonderful! I enjoyed seeing everyone again. I'm especially glad my children were able to play with their cousins (almost 40 of them). I wasn't as social as I wanted to be, but I did as much as I could. A lot of people helped me, either by playing with my older children or caring for the baby. My cousin Valerie even took pictures for me when I couldn't. And I took pathetically few pictures.

Samuel and his cousin Anna "feeding" a bronze bear cub

The camp is designed for people to walk everywhere, but we drove instead, per doctor's orders (it'd only been 2 weeks). The kids went to groups divided up by ages. One day Benjamin's group had a pirate theme. He came up with his own pirate name: Captain Benjamin with a Real Sword. Dominic and I took naps, went to a lecture, spent time with family, etc. Here are 2 of my sisters:

Emily holding a sleeping Sabrina

Jen holding Kristen's son Eric

The most active thing I did was archery. Dominic said I did very well for my first time ever shooting an arrow :) He did very well, winning the tournament and earning the Robin Hood award. Samuel was sick that day, so he stayed with us. The range master helped him shoot 3 arrows, and the third one actually hit the edge of the target. Samuel was elated! A hail storm added to the excitement.

Grandpa taught his great-grandchildren the song "Two Blue Pigeons." Apparently, when his grandfather was a boy and crossing the plains, he learned to count by singing that song and counting the pigeons sitting on the millstone. Samuel really got into it and stayed near Grandpa after the other kids left.

Grandpa in the upper right-hand corner, singing.
Shown here are some of his great-grandkids.

We actually made it to the family dance this year. I danced a little, but mostly we just enjoyed watching everyone cut loose and have fun.

Elisa dancing with Gracie, my cousin Teri's daughter

While we were there, Benjamin asked, "Is BYU real?" So on our way home we made a detour through the BYU campus, pointing out important buildings and the giant Y on the mountain. When we arrived home, we discovered that the pilot light for the water heater had gone out :(

Instead of going home to California, my parents came to visit us for almost a week. Grandpa wrestled, played games and took the kids to the movies. I was still recovering, so my mom took care of the cooking, cleaning and laundry (thanks!). They both took the kids to the library and park. I'm not sure who had more fun or who was more worn out - the children or the grandparents. It really doesn't matter, because we all had a great time.

Grandpa teaching Benjamin how
to play "Othello"

Grandma playing with Rachel

Trip #2:
Silver City, a semi-ghost town (because people still live there). The day before Father's day we visited this place about 2 hours away. The last 17 miles were on a mountainous dirt road; it was as bad as it sounds, but the view was gorgeous. Almost everyone we saw either had a truck or an ATV - anything else would get stuck in the mud during a storm.

The old schoolhouse, currently
getting renovated inside

It was interesting to see that some of the buildings were dilapidated, some well-kept, and others have the original store front but are now homes. We explored a little but didn't stay too long. The boys were fighting; we told them we'd leave if they didn't stop, and we left early. The weather was noticeably cooler there and perfect for taking pictures. We would like to go back eventually and try the restaurant's must-try pie.

Dominic and Rachel behind the old hotel, which is still in use