Monday, October 29, 2012

One Busy Week

Big weekend with my friend Angie and sister Cathy. We drove to Las Vegas to walk neighborhoods for the Romney campaign.
Abbie made an aborable cake for Luke to enjoy on his first birthday.

Luke is ready to dig in.

The shirt came off once Luke became serious about eating.

Happy Birthday beautiful boy!!
   I am still recovering from an extremely busy week, so I thought that I'd recap a bit about what's been going on while I sit here and take a deep breath.  First off, in the fall each year Mark takes a long business trip to India and the Phillipeans which keeps him away from home for two weeks.  BOO! We miss him so much while he's gone.  This year the second week of his trip fell on Emma's fall break so I took Emma and the boys to Disneyland for a couple of days while Abbie stayed home with a friend so she wouldn't miss school (eighth grade really cramps my style). We had a great time running around the parks and got home the day before Mark returned on Wedensday.  Thursday Mark stayed home from work and continued tiling our kid's bathroom.  It just occured to me that since I've been so bad at blogging this year I haven't mentioned that we had some major water/mold damage in our home in August (the week school started to be exact and we were stuck in a hotel for 10 days) and the upstairs bathroom is now being remodelled by Mark.  Maybe I'll post a picture when he's done.
   Friday at noon I loaded into the car with my friend Angie and sister Cathy and hit the road for a girls weekend to Vegas.  A girls' weekend like no other, actually!  After braving Friday afternoon traffic we finally arrived at the Mitt Romney Headquarters in Henderson, Nevada to be put to work for the next 24 hours.  Since Nevada is a swing state and California clearing is not, we wanted to help get out the vote for Romney in Nevada where it really matters.  We spent a couple hours on the phones and seven hours on Saturday walking a pretty sketchy neighborhood encouraging Romney supporters to vote early.  We met some really nice people who felt like we did about the election, and some others who slammed doors in our faces (supported or not) and even yelled at us.  The high point for me was meeting a kid who was turning 18 on election day and was going to the polls to vote with his parents to celebrate.  He said he couldn't think of a better was to spend his 18th birthday and then shook my hand as I left his door. The low point was when Angie approached a door and then decided not to knock.  The guy living there saw her anyway and ran outside where he saw all of us and asked (shouted) who we were campaigning for and flipped up off, etc. as he went back inside.  Seconds later he ran outside again and started screaming at us about being women voting for Romney.  The guy was a loon.  All in all, though, it was a great experience and really exciting to feel the energy at headquarters as people came in and out with yard signs and as busloads of peopel from other states joined locals to be put to work. I'm glad that we were a part of it.  Go Mitt!
   I got home on Sunday in time to celebrate sweet Luke's first birthday,  It's hard to believe that a year has gone by since little Luke has joined our family. We all have such a big crush on him.  Luke always has a big smile on his face (that dimple!!!!).  He even smiles when he cries--which isn't very often.  He's happy and laughs easily.  He loves us and reaches out his arms for us to pick him up when he sees us. He loves throwing balls, swinging, playing outside and taking baths.  He doesn't like getting his diaper changed or being put in his carseat.  He is such a special part of our family.


Friday, July 20, 2012

My Sweeties

One more thing... On our trip to Utah we had some great pictures taken in Draper.  I just had to post a few pictures of the kids for the grandparents.  I know, so boring to the rest of you. But, you have to admit they are pretty cute!

Can It Already Be JULY??

Really?  Since so much time has passed I really don't know where to begin.  "It's been busy around here."  "I haven't had time to blog." "A dog ate my computer!" All good excuses for not blogging for so long, but the truth is I just didn't feel like it. But today I downloaded a bunch of pictures from my camera while the baby was napping and figured that it was time to jump back on the wagon.  So here goes... Instead of trying to backtrack since February, I am going to jump right into our trip to Utah two weeks ago. 
 The forth of July in Utah is wonderful. We thoroughly enjoyed all that was going on there.  We ran in the Freedom Run (Mark ran with Mike who ran for the first time since his stroke 16 years ago), watched the balloon launch, watched a play about liberty thru the ages while eating shaved ice, BBQ'd, swam, and watched fireworks from Aunt Lolly's house.  Speaking of fireworks--Mark proposed to me again before the fireworks started since we were in the very same location, on the very same deck when he did it the first time.  Aunt Lolly called for a "reinactment" and my girls LOVED it. Good times. I said yes again. You bet I did!! 
 After the forth, we went up to Sundance for a few days to enjoy some cooler weather and the mountains.  Mike and Hilary and their family came too and Grandma and Grandpa popped in as much as they could. On our way back to California we stopped in Zion National Park.  What I am wondering now is why we hadn't ever done that before.  It was so beautiful and alot of fun.  We hiked in the morning or late afternoon and played in the river or pool during midday.  Perfect.  We'll definitely do this again.  OK, now for a few pictures.
Here's the family at the beginning of the trail through Cascade Springs

Over exposed picture of Maddy and Emma at the Balloon launch.  Seriously, I have some many cool pictures of that morning, why am I too lazy to replace this one?

Beautiful Sundance

Matthew walking into the park.  Our hotel was perfectly located and we walked into the park each day.

Provo parade. So fun.

While up at Sundance Mark and I snuck away for a peaceful hot cocoa and to watch the rain (which only lasted an hour).

Playing in the Virgin River.

Are you wondering why my pictures are all out of order?  So am I. 

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

A Beautiful Tuesday

It is easy to see the beauty all around you when you start off your day on the right foot. This morning, after dropping Matthew off at preschool, I was headed to the grocery store. I was over in Encinitas near the local Sprout's--I was also fairly close to the ocean. Well, not really, I couldn't see it from where I was, but it called to me. It said something like, "you can grocery shop later...come, walk along the 101...I promise you'll be glad you did...the dolphins are out playing, maybe you'll see one (I did)...It's beautiful out today..." CRAZY. The next thing I knew, I had passed the store parking lot and was pulling into the lot at Swami's. What a perfect way to begin my day. I promise to always listen when the ocean speaks to me.

Later, at home after my lovely three mile walk along the coast, I noticed many other beautiful things. Like this little guy. He's almost four months old now and is the sweetest baby we could have hoped for.

And..I can't decide whether I like the pink bougainvillea that are finally growning on our hill more, or if I like the sight of a chocolate covered cinamon bear with his head bitten off better . They are both beautiful, if you ask me.

I love seeing this guy eat a good lunch, even if he had a few gummy worms on his plate next to his sandwich. He usually eats like a bird.

And finally for this Ode to Tuesday post, I love the color of this freshly squeezed, and already completely consumed, orange juice. Just beautiful, don't you think? Happy Tuesday.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Blessing Day

Today was a beautiful day for Luke's Blessing. We were so happy to have some of our family drive down to join us. Mark gave Luke a beautiful blessing with Don, Dave, and the bishopric standing in the circle.
I couldn't help but think of all of our children today and their journeys to our family. I remembered that there were many times that we wondered if we would be blessed with more than one child. And thought of the years that we tried to be content with just two. After our third child was born, I finally felt at peace and the constant longing for a larger family had ended, though in my heart I still wanted more. What a welcome surprise Luke was!! What a joy Luke is!! We feel so blessed today for our beautiful family, for the abundance of love and happiness our children bring to our lives and the feeling of completeness that came with our Little Luke.

Look at our little man. So cute!

Tough guy.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

That's All She Wrote

My blogging spree has ended for this evening. Currently my blogging pattern seems to be silence for several weeks, followed by brief catch up posts, and then more silence. Tonight I just intended to post a Happy New Year shout out, but kind of got on a roll. Unfortunately my enthusiasm fizzled out before I had a chance to blog about Christmas. I'll just say that it was wonderful and that we'll be playing hooky from school and work on Tuesday to renew our Disneyland passes. Thanks Santa. And speaking of Santa, we caught him in the act of filling our stockings. We tried to pry Emma and Matthew out of bed to sneak a peak, but they were sooo sleepy that they couldn't really wake up and don't remember a thing. At least we have it on video!

But mostly this Christmas season I have enjoyed spending time with this guy. Mark got to take time off this past week and we have spent time just being together--and not being rushed. I've loved sleeping in, doing puzzles, being the self proclaimed "dancing queen" of Just Dance II, shopping and watching the Food Network. Nothing special, we didn't really go anywhere or do anything. But we have been together, and together has been a great place to be.

Christmas Festivites

Christmas Eve. It's got to be the best night of the year, wouldn't you agree? This year Dave and Jess hosted the family for our annual get together. We had terrific food, a fun gift exchange, and of course, the Nativity. Monica was in charge which meant out-of-this-world costumes and sets. SO fun. Three of my kids can be seen in this picture. Matthew as a shepherd, Abbie as a wiseman and Emma as Mary. Danny and Emma as Mary and Joseph.

Abbie and the three amigos as the four "wise guys".

One of the adult tables. Ever since my mission we have celebrated with English Christmas Crackers. You've gotta love the paper crowns and corney jokes.

Mark and some of the cousins enjoying some appetizers.

Mark gave Luke a taste of his candy cane. Guess who is on my naughty list


Mark had to travel to Tucson over the Christmas break, so since we didn't want him to be away during all of the fun we had planned, we decided to cancel our plans at home and go along with him instead. The JW Starr Pass Resort had a lot of fun activities going on during the weekend we were there. Everything from sledding to a "santa's workshop", to horse riding, an elf "tuck in bed" service, and much more. Mix that with a little hot tubbing and the kid's favorite breakfast buffet, it was a great, quick trip.
We did, however, have a frightening car accident while in Tucson. On our way back to the hotel after church we hydroplaned while driving on the freeway. It had been raining quite a bit that morning and the roads were slick. We were in the fast lane when we lost control and started spinning across the lanes of traffic. At least one time we got within inches to hitting another vehicle, but luckily we just continued to spin until we slammed into the guard rail on the other side of the road, stopping on the shoulder. The moment we started to lose control, I felt so shocked. I couldn't believe this was happening to my family and as we spun, I felt like we were on a roulette table and I wondered which of my family was going to get hurt. I felt so grateful when we finally stopped. Though stunned, everyone was OK. The car was even drivable. We were hauling a steel cargo carrier on our hitch which took most of the impact of the crash. It was smashed, but had protected the body of our SUV very well. The baby slept through the accident, Matthew wanted to do it again. The girls were shocked and grateful and both felt protected by our Heavenly Father. Mark and I were shaky, and couldn't stop reliving the situation over and over again. When we finally got back to our hotel room, we knelt in prayer to thank Heavenly Father for watching over our family that afternoon. I felt so much gratitude for His protection and also so much love for my family, knowing that in a matter of seconds life could have dramatically changed for us.

Happy New Year

Happy New Year everyone! To celebrate the end of another great year we headed to the beach for a quick bocci ball tournament before getting dinner and going home for an early night. Yessss, we are party animals! Does this little green man even need an explanation?? Luke's first trip to the beach. Burrr.

Friday, December 23, 2011

More Photos

Bath time. Like alot of babies, Luke loves the warm water at bath time. He is so content to sit in his tub and feel the water. Really, who doesn't love a good bath? A friend gave Luke this adorable sock monkey hat. He wears it all the time when/if we go out in the cold. Can you read Luke's mind here? I can. He is thinking that he's pretty lucky to have such great siblings. This picture is just too sweet not to include.

These are for you, Grandma and Grandpa. Looking at the photos, I realize how much he has already changed in these first short weeks. His bum, legs and cheeks are so much more squeezy, he his strong and now able to stand with help. He is alert, melting the heart of anyone who catches his gaze and earns a smile. Luke equals pure joy in our home. We are all in love and can't imagine our family without him.

Friday, November 11, 2011

It's a BOY!!

Introducing Luke Kingsley Rowen

Born 28 October at 2:24 am

21 inches, 7 lbs, 12 oz

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Our Favorite Boy Turns Four...

...and it's time for a party! A PIRATE party, that is. Matthew was joined by Pirate Captain Daddy-O and a few of his matties for a backyard pirate adventure. They played "captain says", found hidden treasure, played on our "pirate ship" and said, "argh!!!" more often than most would think necessary. Very fun day!!

Matthew couldn't wait to get his "hook" into this treasure cake.

Walking the plank in search of treasure.

Matthew and the rest of the pirate crew. Yo Ho!!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Baptism Day

We shared such a nice day with Emma last weekend. Her baptism was last Saturday. I loved to see how excited she was to be baptized, and how well she understood the whole experience. The service was very nice. She was baptized with three other girls from the stake and all of our families were able to participate in the program. Aunts Monica and Debbie said prayers, cousin Rebecca led the music and uncles Don and Allen, and Mark and Steve (cousin in laws) stood in during the confimation along with our home teacher, Randy Lang, our Bishop Brian Rhodes and a few friends. Emma was eager to get baptized and felt lucky to be first. When I took her to the font to meet Mark she was so happy. After her baptism she beamed and said that she wished she could be baptized over and over again. She felt the Holy Ghost tell her that her choice was correct and that made her very happy. All evening she smiled. After the meeting was over our family who attended the baptism came over for a BBQ. Emma felt so much support--imagine being surrounded by thirty family members on such an important day! It was great to be able to relax and enjoy the family after such a busy day. After everyone left, Emma wanted to get down to business and record her feelings in her journal. It was a sweet experience to hear all that she remembered and felt. What a wonderful day!